What if the World Series of Poker took place in the fall every year? Would it be a positive or negative for the poker community as a whole? The only way to answer those questions is to speak with poker players and to weigh the pros and cons of a fall series, which is exactly what we did.
This year’s WSOP will take place in late September until mid-November, the first time in nearly 20 years it won’t be held in the summer. Olivier Busquet, a regular at the series, called for a permanent change to the fall.
Ok guys this is it. Our one chance, one opportunity to turn this awful situation into positive change. Lets not let it slip. Let’s reclaim our summers and make this the new permanent @wsop schedule. Please. Whatever it takes. https://t.co/uiaQ4yMZHM
— Olivier Busquet (@olivierbusquet) April 1, 2021
“Ok guys this is it. Our one chance, one opportunity to turn this awful situation into positive change. Lets not let it slip. Let’s reclaim our summers and make this the new permanent @wsop schedule. Please. Whatever it takes,” Busquet tweeted.
He wasn’t the only one on poker Twitter who wants to see the series moved to its 2021 timeframe. Jason Koon and some other top pros agreed with Busquet’s stance. Todd Brunson, a Poker Hall of Famer, however, argues that a fall WSOP is a bad idea for the poker community as a whole, although it could be beneficial to him.
“Kids are back in school and people can’t get away,” Brunson told CardsChat News. “It would be fine with me though. I like to get away from Las Vegas in the summer.”
Brunson, who owns the Roma Deli Italian restaurant near the Rio, resides in Las Vegas and is accustomed to the summer weather in the desert. And that is the perfect segue to the first pro to a fall World Series of Poker.
Everyone’s Used to Scorching Hot World Series of Poker Temps
The average daily high temperature in Las Vegas exceeds 100 degrees in June and July, the typical World Series of Poker months. In October and November, when the 2021 WSOP will be hosted, average highs range from 66-82. The weather cools down considerably beginning in late October, and even further in November.
For most, 100+ degree temps aren’t appealing, even in the dry heat of Las Vegas. But the gorgeous fall weather in the desert is tough to beat. So, there is certainly at least one advantage to hosting poker’s biggest annual event that time of year.
Travel Issues Parents Face
In the summer, most kids are out of school. That’s the time of year most families go on vacation. For some parents, such as Chris Moneymaker, however, getting away in the fall is actually easier. He’d rather spend time with his kids when they’re available than to leave town to play cards.
“It’s easier to travel for poker when kids are in school,” the 2003 world champ who recently joined Americas Cardroom said. “They’re busy all day with schoolwork and other things so I’m not missing much. It sucks being gone when they’re out of school.”
The World Series of Poker has grown drastically since Moneymaker won the Main Event in 2003. That year, the $10,000 world championship event had 839 entries, a record at the time. In 2019, the prestigious poker tournament 8,569 players, second most in history.
The biggest reason for poker’s growth in popularity is due to a significant increase in recreational players over the past 18 years, and Moneymaker’s win was a contributing factor. Many recreational players have jobs outside of poker and kids, and don’t live in Las Vegas. Getting time off work in the fall can be an issue for some, whereas others find it easier to travel that time of year compared to the summer. So, each individual’s situation is different in terms of when the best time of year is to travel to play poker.
The summer is the perfect time for the World Series of Poker for the cost-conscious traveler. Room rates are down compared to most of the rest of the year, and it’s easier to find deals on temporary housing for those who stay in town for the entire series.
Allen Kessler, who competes in numerous WSOP events each year, sees the pros and cons of a fall series.
“It’s a good idea but bad for the WSOP,” Kessler argues. “Rooms and convention space are more expensive in the fall, but it would allow players to avoid excessive heat. We’ll probably see more in tournament fees to cover the added expense running it those months.”
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau, average daily room rates in 2019 were $120-$126 in June and July, whereas the average rates were around $135 in October and November.
Greg Raymer, the 2004 Main Event champion, a regular in Las Vegas each summer, is a bit indifferent on when to host the World Series of Poker.
“Obviously, the weather is more comfortable in the fall, so that’s a big plus,” Raymer told CardsChat News. “For me, the timing isn’t very important. I’d pick whichever time is best for amateur players, the time that will get the highest attendance numbers. However, I have no idea which is better for that.”
Two World Series at One Time?
One additional benefit to hosting the World Series of Poker in the fall is the abundance of sports bettors who are already in town that time of year. Thousands of gamblers come to Las Vegas each fall to wager on football games and baseball’s World Series, dubbed the “Fall Classic.”
Many of those sports bettors just might head over to the Rio to test their luck in a few poker tournaments while they’re in town. During the summer months, the US sports betting industry revenue drops significantly compared to the fall. Only Major League Baseball regular season games run during the summer (after the NBA and NHL playoffs conclude in mid-June) among the four major US sports.
The hardcore sports bettors, and just gamblers in general, who don’t play poker for a living are the type of amateurs Raymer is referring to that he’d like to see at the poker tables. So, perhaps, he’d benefit from a fall World Series of Poker, and so would other pros.
So, which time of year is better for the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas? The short answer, as we’ve discovered from speaking with the pros, is that it all depends on personal preference. There are pros and cons to the summer and the fall.
“I’m indifferent on this issue,” Las Vegas low-stakes local grinder Ben Abrahams said. “People will come whenever it is.”