Despite the indictments of the three largest online poker websites and Phil Ivey’s lawsuit for $150 million against Full Tilt Poker and boycott of World Series of Poker, the WSOP is seeing record numbers of participants this year.
Seth Palansky, communications director for WSOP, said participation is up 11% from this period last year, with 20,443 people registered for only 20 events out of the total 58 that are scheduled to take place. The total money given out so far this year is $37 million.
“If this continues it will be the biggest attendance numbers in World Series history,” he said.
Moreover, instead of leading other plays to boycott, Phil Ivey’s absence from this year’s WSOP has led some players and poker executives to criticize him.
“Contrary to his sanctimonious public statements, Phil Ivey’s meritless lawsuit is about helping just one player – himself,” Full Tilt said in a statement.
“In an effort to further enrich himself at the expense of others, Mr. Ivey appears to have timed his lawsuit to thwart pending deals with several parties that would put money back in players’ pockets.”
Andrew Robl, a high-stakes poker player, wrote in a blog post that Ivey’s suit was “self-serving.”
Some, however, are supporting Ivey.
“I admire that he’s willing to give up something like the WSOP, that I know is so important to him, for what he thinks is principally right,” Daniel Negreanu, who holds four WSOP bracelets, said.