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It’s official: Black Friday (April 15) has ended poker and has made the WSOP a laughing stock. Or has it? Interestingly enough, the WSOP is doing just fine! In fact, the Main Event has had the third most participants ever. What a huge statement made.

A cool $8,711,956 is awaiting the winner of this large tournament which is great to hear if you are a poker player. One would think that with U.S. Full Tilt Poker players still not being able to get their money off the site that it would mean a great portion of online players wouldn’t be able to play. Turns out to be false.

It makes sense that the largest crowd at the Main Event came in 2006 which was the last year before the UIGEA was passed. Since then, only last year’s tournament was larger than this one.

A reason for the consistent stability of participants could be for a number of reasons. Each year, especially because of online poker, new players catch the bug. They start playing in live events or even daily in the comfort at their homes realizing that there is more skill involved than once thought and that practicing is key. Once summer hits, a good portion of these players save and pony up for at least the Main Event tournament.

What some people overlook in the United States is that these new players aren’t just from the country. International players are increasing yearly, especially given that most don’t have the restraints the U.S. has. These players are more willing nowadays to fly over to the States for the WSOP knowing the series’ prestige.

For the WSOP, all of this is huge. The poker scene has gone through a lot in the past 10 years. We have seen the WSOP triple in size in one year and we have seen new laws set in place to restrict poker playing. Whatever the case, the WSOP looks strong and is here to stay. No one knows what the future will bring, but I’m betting the WSOP will be just fine.