We (USA) knew this was coming. Harrah's/WSOP will lose at least half its players.
What this means for the WSOP is that more than half of its registrants who come from tournaments won throughout the year at online poker rooms will not be accepted into the 2007 WSOP. The $10,000 buy-in is simply too much money for the regular poker player to be able to afford on their own.
**sigh** Now we're back to the 'good ol' days' where only the pros and well-heeled (movie actors, sports stars, etc.) amatuers will play in the WSOP. Maybe Helmuth will even be able to win another bracelet and we won't have to hear him whine for awhile.
In the days following the legislation, much hype speculated on Harrah's and MGM Mirage backing the prohibition - but now that things have calmed a bit, people are beginning to see that MGM Mirage, and especially Harrah's, stand to lose out - Harrah's because it was online poker that rejuvenated poker, and MGM because it is clear that in the years since online casino gambling started to take hold, Vegas revenues actually increased at a *faster* pace than in the 90s.
Nevertheless, if Harrah's has indeed announced that they will not accept third party registrations, it will only be because they cannot be seen to support something that the government has wrongly labeled "illegal". It sure as heck won't be because they think they're going to be able to enter the online gambling space themselves.
I have a hard time to see who will benefit from this?
And it scatters my highest dream in poker. And seeing Helmuth beaten by amateurs is also ekstremely fun and I will miss this too. I have no respect of Helmuth, a pro that can not control his temper. On the other hand - watching Barry Greenstein taking a bad beat is always impressive. That is a poker player I respect.
I don't see that anyone will benefit. We may possibly see more 'known' pros finish in the money. But I expect there's going to be much less money than in the last couple of years. The overall payouts will be smaller at the WSOP as there will be fewer players. Harrah's (and other casino hotels) won't be earning big bucks from poker players filling up their hotels for the WSOP. The event itself will be smaller ... It was a major event this year, for -- what? 4 or more weeks? Next year it may become a non-event, except among diehard poker players and fans.