There were a few more than 8500 participants in this year’s WSOP main event. Unless the US government actually succeeds in stopping online poker, and as a result the way the majority of the field found $10,000 to spare for a poker tournament, the size of the field is going to become unmanageable in the next few years. Already its broken down into four heats of 2125 players who play down to about 800, before combining into two more heats before playing down to 800 again. Soon you are going to be waiting a week in between your day one and two sessions.
I know this isn’t going to be a real popular option, but I think automating the process via online play for the first day would make everything easier. You could even use those electronic tables. Everyone would still show up to the tournament, the cards and chips would just be virtual for a while. This eliminates the shuffling dealing and chip counting/stacking from the process and I imagine it would greatly speed up the whole tournament. You wouldn’t have to play for 20 hours straight on day one just to get 2500 players down to 800. You could probably take your field of 10,000+, play for 10-12 hours and be down to 1600, or maybe even 800 by the end of the day. From there you would still have a weeklong tournament before crowning a champion. And yes I pulled those numbers out of my ass. Where did you think I got them from?
True, the event changes drastically when you do this, but I think it would be worth it. Plus, it’s more indicative of today’s game. Poker is played more often than not on the internet, so wouldn’t it make sense to have the championship event also take place, at least somewhat online? After day one, you should have a reasonable enough field to go back to the old fashioned dealer method.
The question now becomes, is it easier to manage multiple days worth of qualifiers with live dealers and everything that goes with it, or to set up a bajillion poker terminals in one place and have to deal with make sure every single one of them is functional. Now that I think about it, setting up a network of at least 10000 poker terminals in a few days without running into any issues is probably impossible. And somehow I don’t think players that put down $10,000 for a tournament would be overly forgiving of technical malfunctions. Maybe the live method would be easier after all. Just be prepared to take a month or two off of work if you plan on advancing very far. That’s about how long it will take to make it to day three.