World Series of Poker expects record numbers with move to Strip, international demand

International visitors and gamblers are going all in on this year's World Series of Poker event.
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 10:57 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The World Series of Poker is all in this summer. After 17 years at the Rio, the world’s largest poker tournament moved to the Las Vegas Strip. The poker rooms are split between Bally’s and Paris.

“It is close proximity to everything. People are staying all over the Strip,” Vice President of the World Series of Poker Jack Effel said. “You have a lot of folks coming in seeing the WSOP for the first time, and maybe they want to play a daily tournament.”

Effel said the Paris Ballroom is the largest poker room ever. In total there are 583 poker tables between the two resorts.

That’s just part of the reason for expected record numbers. Effel said many are returning for the first time since 2019. The 2021 event last fall brought together much of the poker world, but travel restrictions stopped a large part of the international crowd. There was also a vaccine requirement to attend the 2021 event.

“I think there’s still a lot of pent up demand,” Effel said.

Players from over 100 countries typically attend the WSOP.

“The fields are way bigger. You have people from everywhere. It’s a big party,” French professional poker player Pierre Calamusa said.

Calamusa played in multiple events the first week of the 2022 WSOP. He lives in Portugal, and like many professional players still attended the 2021 tournament. However, he said he’s already noticed the difference this summer, and said it is good for the game.

“It’s even more enjoyable to play, because you can meet people from India, Africa, South America and talk about different cultures,” Calamusa said.

The World Series of Poker will continue until July 19. The main event, that Effel predicts will set the record for most players ever, begins in early July.