It’s still relatively early, but this year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) doesn’t seem to be suffering much from the “black cloud” of “Black Friday”, as many analysts had predicted might happen.

So far, just over two weeks into the event, 20,443 people have registered for WSOP events — that’s a participation increase of 11 percent over the same time last year. So far this year, total money paid out has been to the tune of $37 million.

“If this continues it will be the biggest attendance numbers in World Series history,” Seth Palansky, communications director for WSOP, told ABC News.

The Ivey factor
The angle to the ABC News report was Phil Ivey’s boycott of this year’s WSOP. Ivey’s one of the world’s best and most popular poker players, so many are disappointed that he’s sitting this one out.

And he’s doing so to protest the fact that his former business partner, Full Tilt Poker (technically Tiltware LLC), has yet to pay out millions owed to players as a result of the U.S. government’s “Black Friday” crackdown.

Using “fraudulent methods” to avoid U.S. banking laws, Full Tilt’s actions have also “irreparably” damaged the poker pro’s reputation, Phil Ivey’s suit explains. He’s demanding $150 million in damages.

Ivey is the fifth all-time WSOP bracelet winner (Phil Hellmuth tops the list). Ivey has scored about $5.3 million from prior WSOP wins — so it’s clear that he’s laying more than his reputation on the line be refusing to play this year.

WSOP Europe details announced
And as this year’s World Series of Poker hits its stride, players on the other side of the Atlantic are gearing up for their own WSOP.

The WSOP Europe (WSOPE) operates on a much smaller scale than the main U.S.-based WSOP. Still, organizers have high hopes that the growing popularity of poker and gaming in Europe will help the event eventually rival the American tournament in popularity and profit margins.

This year’s WSOPE will be held at the Casino Barrière de Cannes Croisette in Southern France and sponsored by Barriè Held in October, the event will offer seven bracelet events. Here’s how it’ll run down, per

Event #1: Friday, Oct 7: six-handed no-limit hold’em (€2,680 buy-in)
Event #2: Saturday Oct 8: no-limit hold’em (€1,090 buy-in)
Event #3: Monday Oct 10: pot-limit Omaha (€5,300 buy-in)
Event #4: Tuesday Oct 11: no-limit hold’em shootout (€3,200 buy-in)
Event #5: Wednesday Oct 12: no-limit hold’em split format (€10,400 buy-in)
Event #6: Thursday Oct 13: six-handed pot-limit Omaha (€1,620 buy-in)
Event #7: Saturday Oct 15: WSOPE main event championship (€10,400 buy-in)
Special Event: Saturday Oct 15th: no-limit hold’em ladies event (€550 buy-in)

“Our new venue in Cannes along with our new partnership with Barrière Poker will offer the best player experience we have ever had for WSOP Europe,” WSOP vice-president Ty Stewart said. “Players will find non-stop action throughout the two-week event, plus plenty of fun distractions in Cannes to make this the perfect poker vacation.”

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