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2007 WSOP A Mere Shadow Of 2006
by Karl Yu

Jerry Yang was crowned champion at the 2007 World Series of Poker and while his journey to the top captured the attention of the public, the number of headlines and news bits devoted to this year’s WSOP haven't been as numerous as in years past.

Not coincidentally, this year’s version of the WSOP pales in comparison to last year’s on a couple of counts:

- In 2006, a record number 8,773 players competed in the World Series’ championship NL Hold’em event and while this year’s 6,358 players were still impressive, they were significantly lower than the year before.

- In a related note, Jamie Gold took home $12 million last year—although the number decreased because of a lawsuit—while Jerry Yang took home $8.25 million this year and while Yang’s account got a big injection, his winnings were close to $4 million below Gold’s.

Even though poker is as popular as ever, you needn’t look any further than the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act attachment to the Safe Port Act to see why there was a dip in attendance and prize money.

Intended to all but stamp out America’s love of online gambling—including online poker—the UIGEA called for a number of measures that would block avenues for internet gaming, which started a vicious circle that would hinder the World Series of Poker.

Trying to stop individuals from gambling over the World Wide Web would be akin to picking out white grains of sand from a beach so politicians, such as Jon Kyl, sought to cut off online gambling at the source.

The UIGEA made paying for transactions for online poker, casino games and sports betting via credit cards and third payment processors illegal and put much of the onus on the banks to make sure it was enforced—which is a story for another day.

In the past, online poker satellite tournaments were one of the routes entrants took to get to the World Series of Poker, especially since the buy-in was a hefty $10,000 and with the number of people playing online hindered, so were the number of participants.

With a major WSOP filler blocked, the field was smaller and with less people footing the buy-in, top prize suffered as well.

While the World Series of Poker has seemingly taken a shot from the Religious Right and the politicians representing them, Jerry Yang—an American citizen—probably isn’t lamenting the fact that he took home less than Jamie Gold.

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