Entries, prize money down at WSOP, but organizers aren't concerned

The first 29 events of the 2012 World Series of Poker have drawn slightly fewer entries compared to the same number of events from a year ago.

So far, the 43rd tournament at the Rio has attracted 28,394 entries. In 2011, the tournament had 29,421 entries through 29 events.

The prize money is also down somewhat; $44.9 million so far this year compared with $52.5 million at the same time last year.

However, World Series of Poker officials point out the events are lining up differently. The tournament reduced the number of $10,000 and $5,000 buy-in events and added several “short-handed’ events, which feature six-handed, four-handed and heads-up action with lower entry costs.

Last year the World Series of Poker had an early $25,000 buy-in event. There isn’t a $25,000 event this year and none of the major $10,000 buy-in events have taken place.

Meanwhile, the $1 million buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event, where a portion of the proceeds benefits the One Drop water charity, is scheduled for July 1-3 and is nearing its cap of 48 players. The prize money from that event easily offsets a reduction in $10,000 and $5,000 buy-in events.

World Series of Poker officials are confident the 2012 tournament is tracking close to 2011, which drew a record 75,672 entries and $192 million in total prize money.