Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Harrah's PR Asks Poker Writers for Input on the WSOP

There are mailing lists, and then there are mailing lists. Quite a few (if not all) of the folks who hung around the media room at the WSOP last summer --- preventing Dr. Pauly from having to eat too many stale sandwiches, among other deeds --- have now received a request for input on their media experiences at last year's WSOP.

It was basically top-level stuff, an exercise in politeness if nothing else, or perhaps an effort to see if the items that a few writers made loud noise about are indeed of universal concern to those who attended.

I mean, writers don't always tell you about the good stuff, like how easy the access was most of the time (more on this in a bit), and how open and helpful the Rio's support staff was, from the tournament directiors right down to the security guards. It was my first big poker event, but I've done plenty of other shindigs, and while there were a few big problems, as always, most of the stuff was done well. The wireless access worked as promised. The main media room was secure. The basic needs were close by, and there was always, at the very least, coffee, soda and water available. Good enough. I can work with this.

Yes, the access for red-badged types sucked when the field narrowed, something that Harrah's is well aware of. Earl Burton commented that it was like being allowed to cover the first three quarters of a football game, but not being able to stay for the end... an apt metaphor, at that. Harrah's will always have to do a juggling act as long as they ink 'priority' coverage deals with preferred media such as ESPN and Card Player. But that's nothing I can change. It remains a privately-owned event and it is sold as one, and questionable media tactics or not, it is what it is. I don't expect anything but a corporate shuck from Harrah's in a situation like that, so I wasn't disappointed.

Little stuff. The media room was well-stocked and functional, but way, way too small. It was a third too cramped a week before the WSOP even started, and while Harrah's did open an auxiliary media room, the wireless 'Net access was spotty there. It was also mukluk country, often somewhere below 60 degrees, and worst of all, it was in the main corridor with a security guard only rarely on duty outside, and few or no writers within. At least one camera was stolen during the WSOP, and I had no desire to add my newly-purchased laptop to the list: On several occasions during the main event, I lugged the new laptop down to the main media room, leaving it somewhere behind C.C.'s set-up as I went out on the floor to hunt for stories. I'd find something, go back to media central to fetch my laptop, then lug it back to the other room a couple of hundred yards away to do my work.

It was necessary. After the main event started, if one didn't show up at 7 a.m. to grab one of the few "floater" spots in the main media room, then the only options were the auxiliary room or a seat in the main hallway, resorted to by dozens of writers. That wasn't so great, even for newbies such as me.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Razz Variances, Ecch

Once or week or so I'm overcome by the poker version of full-moon fever, and as if by wishes of the puppetmaster above, I find myself again sitting down to a few hands of razz. Now, I'm no great shakes at the game, but I grew up playing stud games and I'm a helluva better at razz than at Omaha, a game at which I well and truly suck.

Anyhow, playing razz, especially down at the $2/4 level where you'll see stuff as what's to follow, involves huge, huge swings for a limit game. The first couple of nights I played after the influx of players post-UIGEA signing, I could not lose; the last few weeks I haven't been able to win, bricking out time and again in situations where I've had way the best of it before 6th and 7th street decided my fate.

But that's poker, of course.

Still, it's tough not to shake one's head when confronted with players such as what you'll see in this screen grab:

I'm at the bottom, having just served up another mandatory opening bet, then bowing out of the way. I'd already identified the three players to my right as people I wanted to play razz against, including one ultra calling station and two over-loose types who wanted to mix it up with door cards up to and including kings.

Take a close look at the holdings of the player at upper right, in this hand-history capture. Even assuming that he had the best possible of the two of his three hole cards --- Full Tilt randomizes these before exposing them at hand's end --- it means that after four cards the player held A-3-6-6, and after five cards the butt-ugly A-3-6-6-6. Two other players were in the hand, at least one bet was made at every stop, and he kept calling bets with trips on the board. And, oh, yes, he went runner-runner suckout to overtake both opponents and win the hand.

Ecch, indeed. I tried hard, I really did, but finally shook my head and moved on after dropping about five big bets in an hour and a half. Off to, where I sat down in a cheesy 2/4 short-handed game (actually the second-highest limit game running at the time on the site). That excursion was just as funny --- the player to my left would cold-call --- even for three bets --- with any two from the button or cutoff. He nailed me for a big pot early on, but I'll take that sort of player at the table any time, on my left, across the way, hanging from the chandelier or whatever. I clipped him back a few times and by the time he left, I was up about 15 big bets, most at his expense.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Jesus Kee-rist, He's Rising Again

Well, the news is out now. Hooray.

I think it's safe to say that a lot of people will be working on their links and blogrolls in the very near future. Someone once asked me exactly what it was that Iggy did well, why people valued him so highly, and through a weisse beer-induced thick tongue and my shitty cel phone connection, I came up with words something like, "the poker world's best shit sensor, that thing which points north." Cosmic, that last.

"You mean 'bullshit detector'?"

Uhhh, yes. Thanks, beer.

That's what it is, you know, why the l'il guy is so cherished. There are writers out here in the poker blogosphere who are arguably more talented. Pauly's skills are widely praised, and there are few who can paint a rich tapestry in the way that he can. Otis and Joe Speaker, by comparison, are at their best when they snag a piece of the human condition. And while Pauly shamed most everyone at the WSOP with his prodigious output under some trying conditions, the very best vignettes I saw from that venue came from Pauly's erstwhile, occasional companion, Change100. Nor was it unusual for her, as we all know.

The-artist-formerly-known-as-Bobby-Bracelet has that rare ability to both irritate me to hell and make me howl with glee (often in the same paragraph), and one of the new voices on the block, Iakaris, offers up stunningly silken passages that speak of the man's intelligence and thoughtful concern. And don't think that others don't shine, too. Slimeface over at Poker4Peace is an underappreciated read, and that man who first befriended me within the poker-writing scene, Lou Krieger, far more careful in his choice of words than I, is one whose writing talents go underappreciated. Lou doesn't go for fancy, part of why he's overlooked, but what he does he does very well.

Lots of others, too. Forgive me for not mentioning them all here.

And then there's Ignatious. Best writer in the poker world? No. But he writes quite passably well. Nor does he serve up pretentious self-indulgences, the way so many of the rest of us do. Iggy's real value to us is his ability to take everything in, process it, and spew it back to us with so much of the garbage stripped away, and his ability to do so within a conversationally neutral framework is what makes his stuff such an easy an entertaining read.

Were that I could be Iggy. My own bullshit detector is highly tuned as well, but I lack a complete grasp of the neutrality, the impartiality, though dammit, I really do try. Unfortunately for me, when I go off on someone or something I tend to do a mighty fine job of it. My bullshit detector works a bit differently --- when something nags at me, when something refuses to make sense, I'm like a cat picking at that loose bit of carpet fiber almost hidden in the corner, or the curious mechanic staring at the grandfather clock, itching to find out how the thing manages to work.

But anyhow, Iggy's announcement is good news for all of us, most especially Iggy himself. Now he gets to do what he's good at without the demands inherent within a solo site, and we're all the richer for his decision.

Salud, short one.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Igg on My Face

Oh, not like that. Pervs.

It's always a rare pleasure to get a e-mail from the Iggster, who may, truth be known, might share one belief with both me and Mr. Ed: He doesn't speak unless he has something to say.

Of course I've been reading the same things as everyone else, and it brings a personal reflection. While I take things such as this blog quite seriously as I write, it's still a bit of a stunner to realize just how profundly someone else's blog --- meaning Iggy's --- has affected a large number of people. Al's tribute was phenomenal, Otis's thoughts deep and articulate, Pokerati Dan's tribute uber really well done, April's thoughts sweet, and for God's sake, that video (go to Otis's or Dan's site for the link)... who'da thunk that someone would immortalize a poker blogger in song?

Geez. I mean really... geez.

But I did receive a note recently from the famed one, who, truth be told, I've never met. He wanted to check on something I'd written and verify that I'd said it. Yes, I did. Wish I hadn't, or rather, I wish I'd articulated my thoughts in a slightly different way. I don't know what it is that Iggy's writing, or if he's writing anything at all, and besides, it's his stuff --- I won't share specifics. He says there's just a little bit more coming up over at G&P. Whatever it is, it's good to see that there's still a bit of twitch in the corpse. We can all hope, for there are few blogs I'd miss as much as Guinness and Poker.

And thanks, Iggy, for the encouragement, then and now.

> < > < > < > < > < > < > < > < > <

What else? Rumors that I'm working on a major piece are quite true, but the story grows bigger and bigger, and as a result, it keeps getting pushed back and back and back. It's days away from being ready for public view, and God forbid, maybe even weeks. I've shown snippets to a couple of trustworthy people, but additional research has shown to me that a lot of what I originally thought in this matter was wrong. And I can't, in this one, engage in any sort of internecine pissiness; I need to get it right, or at least as much of it as right as I can.

Changing gears. Since there's a lot of video links floating around lately, I thought I'd share this one. Not only is it among the most cogent worldviews I've ever seen, but the true acolyte can sing along, too! Click away, kiddies, and enjoy:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chugging Away on the Blogroll...

Time for one of those periodic updates. Phase I (the stripping out of all the old, dead links) is now complete; it takes the list of older blogs that are still active down to about 300. Phase 2 (adding in the newer ones) will go on on an as-I-get-around-to-it basis. If you think you should be in there, drop a comment or send an e-mail.

From the Mailbox --- The WSOP and Richard Lee's SeKrit Accidental Bonus?!??

Psss-s-s-s-t... this is not the big story I'm working on, but rather, a little bon mot to let you know that my keyboard is indeed in working order.

I'm not going to name the reporter, but I was contacted on behalf of a San Antonio newspaper a week or so ago. The nature of the reporter's question was this:

"I read with interest your blog regading the chip scandal. I was wondering... have you heard any theories about the discrepancy that might involve Mr. (Richard) Lee? He earned $2,803,851 - close to the value of the extra chips, it seems."

So, anyhow, I explained to the nice man that there was no immediate connection between the two, despite the similarity --- one of the numbers had to do with tournament chips, while the other concerned prize-pool winnings. I'm quite sure he was disappointed that he had not uncovered a new scandal angle to report, but them's the breaks.

What I did point out, in a longer part of my response, was that Lee could have received a small portion of the $2+ million overage, but due to the way the color-up process works, it's unlikely that he was affected directly. That said, there's absolutely no doubt that the entire finish of the tourney was irreparable skewed by the presence of those chips, in a "butterfly effect" type of way, and I know that I, myself, have been waiting and waiting and waiting for Harrah's to issue their own report on who were the likeliest recipients of the extra chips. If nothing else, it's so we don't have to deal with questions from mainstream reporters as with the above.

There's a truism of human behavior at work here: The longer that incomplete explanations and unanswered questions are left to hang, the wilder the suppositions that will be created to fill that void. I tried to demonstrate this some months back myself... with admittedly mixed success.

In the midst of a live tournament, it's an uncorrectable error; what was done was done. But we still need to know, else the rumors will grow, warp and spread. I'm neither encouraging this or stamping it out; I merely note that, as human creatures, it's simply the way we are.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Matusow D'Flambe

Last night's big online tourneys were so distinctive that they were worth not one extra post, but two. Over at the KAP Blog I mentioned that Mike Matusow pulled off one of his classic blow-ups at the final table of the Full Tilt $350,000 Guarantee, and I detailed a little technical oversight that put a crimp into what could have been a riotous finish to the Stars Sunday Million. Since I have lots of stuff to share this week, I thought I'd bring the approximate details of Matusow's flameout over here.

Judge for yourself. Here's how one goes from nearly a 2:1 chip margin over second place to the rail, in the space of three hands.

Hand 1: Eight players remain, Matusow's leading with a little over $1.4 million, and a player named '1stueyungar1' takes a pre-flop stab at the pot with pocket fours; 1stueyungar1 started the hand with just over $700,000 and bet about a quarter of that at the pot. It's folded all the way around to Matusow, who I believe was the big blind (I can't say it with 100% certainty because I was sweating multiple tables and a punk named Cory Carroll ['UGOTPZD'] was being a jackass at the final table at the Stars Sunday Million --- it took a bit of my attention).

Anyhow, Matusow makes this all-in re-steal push, which meant that 1stueyungar1 was getting only something like 1.6:1 on the call. That's not bad in a limit game, but at the final table, with 1stueyungar1 still with about $500,000 if he tosses the hand? With pocket fours, the best 1stueyungar1 can hope for is a toss-up, but he makes the call. Matusow turns out to have been on a steal with 9-7, but it turns out he still has two live overs! The overs don't connect, though --- 1stueyungar1's fours hold up, he's the one up over $1.4 million, and Matusow's down to just over $700,000.

The chat's going just berserk about 1stueyungar1's call, and I think I saw the steam coming out of the ears of Matusow's avatar. Because....

Hand 2: Matusow's in the small blind, and 'MrTimCaum,' who's been on a tournament heater in recent weeks, is in the big. Matusow has a little over $700,000, MrTimCaum a little over $550,000. It's folded all the way around to Matusow, who pauses a moment before completing (I believe to $40,000). MrTimCaun pops it to $120,000 or $160,000, I disremember. Matusow pauses again, then pushes. MrTimCaum calls and turns up K-Q, and Matusow? He's got 8-7. The flop comes A-K-J and this hand is over. Matusow's down to chump change.

I mean seriously, a limp/re-raise from the small blind means only of two things: you have a monster, or you're trying to represent one. So would you bet on Matusow having a monster there? I wouldn't either, and nor did MrTimCaum. Aye, yes, some chat nuggets:

Mike Matusow (Observer): hey u deserve it u put
your tour onlin ewith k high

Mike Matusow (Observer): so deserve it

Mike Matusow (Observer): u prayed i wad zero

Mike Matusow (Observer): and yoru prayer was answered

MrTimCaum: i'll give you a hug next time i see you in town (this was in response to Matusow)

Hand 3: Matusow's on the button, and one of the middle-position players slowplays pocket aces, guessing that Matusow's likely to push just about anything. Indeed he does, showing Q-J, which goes nowhere against the other player's aces. Bye-bye, Mikey. Hold on, let me grab the fire extinguisher.

As for 1stueyungar1, he made three big calls at this table which were (at best) debatable, and all three worked out. Needless to say, he ended up taking the thing down a half hour or so later.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Wicked Chops Poker Forgets to Mention Something Newsworthy...

Let it be known, one and all, that the "entities that comprise Wicked Chops Poker" are among my favorite reads in all of Pokerdom. They're irreverent, they're damned funny, and they'll do the digging into stories that most other poker sites and writers just aren't good enough to uncover. That said, Wicked Chops Poker has one consistent, glaring flaw --- they tend to forget to mention when they're a compromised party.

Case in point, and I mean Big Fucking Case In Point... Bodog. Now, WCP has been all assy-kissy towards Bodog for some time, which is fine in and of itself --- Bodog throws a lot of money around, and there's absolutely no reason why a saucy, attitude-heavy site like WCP wouldn't be a logical fit to Bodog's needs. I figured out many months back, well before last year's WSOP, that there was at least an informal relationship between WCP and Bodog, and it became way obvious during the WSOP when WCP's Bodog pimpage climbed to new heights. No biggee; despite my own run-ins with Bodog, what's cool is cool.

However, it was only today that I stumbled across a rather more structured tidbit that appeared on the All In Magazine site... and pretty much nowhere else except a few of those obscure Net-spidering pages that pirate other people's content. Dating from October 26, the piece is so brief that I'll repost it here in its entirety:

Bodog Names Wicked As Publicity Partner
Author: Lena Katz

Bodog named Atlanta-based Wicked PR as their full-time poker PR partner, following on the success of Wicked's non-stop Team Bodog promotion at the World Series of Poker. The poker-loving publicists were an ubiquitous presence at the WSOP, where they gave just as much love to their unknown online qualifiers as to the Bodog pros (David Williams, Josh Arieh, Evelyn Ng and a meek up-and-comer by the name of Jamie Gold).

Wicked [PR] kicked off its campaign with a press release on October 24th, where they announced the 11 players that are repping Team Bodog at the North American Poker Championship, held in Niagara this week.

For more information, visit:

So I visited, and I checked into the press archives --- and there was no mention whatsoever of Wicked PR's now-formal involvement, which was intriguing; usually, the signing on of a new firm dealing with press and media relations itself means the issuance of a press release. The October 24th press release mentioned above was there, of course, lending proof to what I already knew was true. Nor was there any mention of the formalizing of the Bodog/Wicked Chops agreement anywhere on the WCP site, which is even more intriguing, given that WCP has never had a problem with blatant self-promotion, something we've shared a chuckle or two about on previous occasions.

I hate having to call out good peoples, but I must do so here. Even good peoples need to know where the line is drawn between huckstering and journalism, and in this instance WCP is willfully blurring the line. If you need proof, check out this recent post, pimping one of the latest Bodog girls:

Nowhere is there a mention that the "entities that comprise Wicked Chops Poker" now have a vested interest in seeing that Bodog gets plenty of pimpage. Given that there's a financial relationship between the two, posts such as the above need a disclaimer to the effect that Wicked Chops' irreverent butt currently receives a Calvin-funded financial lubing. It's called journalistic ethics, and the fact that it's a website and not in print changes this not one iota.

I’m not going to bother posting the internet information that confirms that Wicked PR, Wicked Group, and Wicked Chops Poker are all one and the same. Brian registered the site, should you really need to know. (Brian, Colin and Steve are the three who write as “Chops,” “Snake” and “Addict,” specifically not in that exact order, because I choose to respect at least a little bit of their nom de plumage.)

One of the three WCP guys --- I won’t tell you which one --- and I have had an e-mail discussion where we talked to the exact same point that this point addresses. The response from that person was that “we don’t take ourselves that seriously”... and by extension, neither should I.

Sadly, it’s time to call “bullshit” on Wicked Chops Poker. If one is writing for one’s self, writing for free, then their argument applies. But when one mixes news with blatant, paid-for pimpage and one can’t be bothered to distinguish between the two, it’s time to take some names. Giving them a free ride on this would cheapen what I do when I write about poker, as it cheapens the efforts of every writer who still believes in that journalistic-integrity thing I mentioned above.

I highly respect the talent of the Wicked Chops guys. But on this stuff, they need to grow the fuck up.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Live Tourney for a Change of Pace

Wednesday I decided to take a crack at the $150 buy-in no-limit freezeout tourney at Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Illinois. Call it a whim. There aren't a lot of live rooms near me, and this is the only one within a couple of hours that spreads small tourneys on a regular basis. It was fun, too, though not something I plan on doing on a regular basis.

Well, I get an "E" for effort if nothing else.The reason? Too extreme of a structure, not enough play. Despite the fact that the blinds started at 25/50 and each player received 2,500 in chips at the start, each level was only 20 minutes long, and the levels doubled for the first several stages, like so:

Level 1: 25 / 50
Level 2: 50 / 100
Level 3: 100 / 200
Level 4: 200 / 400
Level 5: 400 / 800
Level 6: 500 / 1,000
Level 7: 600 / 1,200

The rapidly increasing structure promotes increased seat shuffling, too; I'd guess we played maybe 13 or 14 hands per level, when all was said and done. Oh, and there's one other negative factor: This is limited to 80 players only, and you have to show up to register by 10:30 a.m. to have a chance just to be drawn for a seat, and if you are fortunate enough to be drawn, then you get to sit around for another two and a half hours, or play one of the games available in the smaller cash-game room --- limit Hold'em at 5/10 or 10/20.

So, yeah. It was nice to do once, but I can live quite well without making that an every Wednesday thing. And as for how I fared, I hung around for a while but didn't cash, going out in 22nd or 23rd when the top ten paid.

Now for the anecdotes and insights.

The first table I sat at featured a middle-aged man on my immediate left who was clearly a tight, steady player; he confided that he'd won this thing four times prior. He also shared with me his insights on the online game: he had proof that it was totally rigged, that action flops were intentionally programmed into every site to generate more rake.

Like I haven't heard that one before. So I gave him a polite smile and nodded and agreed; there are arguments just not worth the bother to start. Then again, said solid-'n'-steady player then pretty much pigeonholed his game for me when he commented a few hands about what a terrible play another player, a more aggressive type, had made, when this other player sucked out a flush to overtake a pocket overpair. On that hand, the aggressive player made a call with K-6 of hearts, and I believe the other player had made an undersized raise from UTG with pocket tens.

The flop on that one came 4h-6d-7h, and the aggressive player bet 300 at the pot, leaving him with something like 700 chips behind. The player with the overpair pushed all in, and the aggressive player with middle pair and the second-nut flush draw made the call.

When the flush hit on the river, the guy to my left derided the play, citing the "the flush hits one time in three" mantra. Yeah, but the guy had a pair as well, he'd already made a play at the pot, and he was staring at the same silly blinds structure. I'd say the aggressive player's all-in call was at worst a breakeven play, all things considered. Not, of course, that I necessarily would have made it myself. But it wasn't as dog-assed stupid as the steady sort would have had me believe.

As for me, I soon discovered that my raises had auto-respect; I took down two early pots pre-flop with no action, despite having not much to start with... the old "women don't bluff" thing, reinforced by the fact that I was one of only two among the 80 in the event. Cool. I can make that work later, I thought.

Our table was the first to be busted, though, and I took what was essentially my starting stack over to a table at the front of the action. No cards and no action at the new table, either, although I did have to give up one pot I made a play at tin the face of an all-in re-raise. Finally, almost an hour into it, with the blinds at 100/200 and the first break looming, I looked down at A-6 of hearts in the big blind. I was at 2,800 or thereabouts. It was folded around to the small blind, who completed, so I popped it to 600. He called again, and the flop came 5-6-7 with two more hearts. The guy, one of the more aggressive players at this new table, it seemed leads out for 1,000 at me, making the pot 2,200. He has another 700 or so. I have 2,150 left, so I have him covered slightly, and I have the nut-flush draw and middle pair.

I push, he calls, and he shows K-2 of hearts. The jack heart turns and I'm gold. I'm up to about 5,000, and make it 5,500 at the first break.

I sneak it up over 6,000, but I take a bit when I toss pocket tens to an all-in push, when I believe he has A-K and paired a king on the flop. (It might have been a bad read on my part, and was the one play I question myself on.) After that I'm around 4,000, and as Level 4 becomes Level 5 the table degenerates into an obscene push-fest, just as I expected it would. A young kid to my left lays a mild beat on me to send me down to 2,000, and I return the favor only a couple of hands later when my all-in Q-J reels in his A-K, funny only because our back-to-back pushes got this weak/tight player across the way to toss pocket queens, a move this third player would repeat less than a lap later when he failed to call a heads-up pot that gave him 3:1 odds, holding pocket fours.

And that's what was funny about this. Despite the $150 buy-in, which is high for my bankroll, there was a whole lot of really stupid play going on. Most of it was of the weak/tight variety, and one middle-aged guy across from me was sitting on a big stack that I eyed as a target, after the third straight time he limped in from early position with what turned out to be marginal holdings. This player absolutely refused to raise pre-flop, though he always called any moderate raise that followed, and if he hadn't been the veritable card rack on Wednesday he would've been toast.

As for me, I was down to 2,900 or so in the small blind when it was folded all the way around me. I looked at the kid to my left, said "I ought to take a look at these before I push at you," and peeked under to find 4-2. "These'll do," I said, and pushed.

He hemmed and hawed, and finally folded. And yes, I showed the cards for the chuckle. But even though I pulled off as many steals as I could, I just couldn't catch the big hand to threaten the money. I was still at 3,900 as the blinds swung around, and under the gun I found A-K, the second best hand I saw all day. I pushed, the kid to my left moved over the top, and a third player chewed on it before folding. My A-K was all but dead to the kid's aces, and I was out. But out in a respectable way, and uncowed by the competition. And when my personal finances grow, I'll be back, there or somewhere else.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Some Recent Attendance Numbers at the Top Online Tourneys

Bill Rini has a post up about the decline of paticipation numbers at some of the biggest online sites, along with a link-up to Lou Krieger, who quickly noticed that about 3,000 online players (as measured by Poker Site Scout) seemed to disappear overnight, after the UIGEA was signed into law.

Bill brought up the topic of how big the online tourneys have been in the weeks subsequent to the UIGEA's signing, and since I have some of that data, well, here 'tis. I'v been doing the weekly writeups on the Sunday tourneys for for several weeks now, minus some weeks when I was covering the WCOOP at Poker Stars, where I needed to focus on just that, and didn't track the other tourneys.

Well, anyhow, I've got the attendance number for the big sites excepting the one from a week back on Party, when they dropped the guarantee from $1 milion to $200,000 immediately after the UIGEA was signed. So, without further ado:

Poker Stars:

8/27: 2,425 --- this one had a $530 buy-in, up from the standard $215
9/03: 5,699
9/10: 5,375
9/17: WCOOP hiatus
9/24: WCOOP hiatus
10/01: WCOOP hiatus
10/08: 5,501
10/15: 6,157 (new weekly-event record prize pool)
10/22: 6,413 (new weekly-event record prize pool)
10/29: 2,785 (new weekly-event record prize pool) --- this one had a $530 buy-in, up from the standard $215

Full Tilt:

8/27: 1,387
9/03: 1,191
9/10: 1,217
10/08: 1,336
10/15: 1,127 --- this was a $530 buy-in monthly event; the others are $215 entries
10/22: 1,726
10/29: 1,780

Ultimate Bet:

8/27: 1,047
9/03: 937
9/10: 893
10/08: 876
10/15: 896
10/22: 863
10/29: 966

Party Poker:

8/27: 5,523
9/03: 5,084
9/10: 4,885
10/08: 4,591
10/15: $1 Million Guarantee event cancelled
10/22: approx. 900
10/29: 935

Alright, some addtional comments. UB hasn't made its guarantee since 8/27, minus the three weeks when I was off WCOOP-ing and don't have data for; I suspect they didn't make it in those weeks either. Stars and Full Tilt both change things up once a month, so those numbers are more applicable when one computes the total prize pool, and not the number of entrants. And finally, while Full Tilt's and Stars' jumps do correlate nicely with the cash-game increase as seen on Poker Site Scout, note that there is one other factor --- a lot of the big-time online players play x-number of online events on a given Sunday; for tose that play two, they've now largely moved to Full Tilt as their second event. That's related to the other, but is still an independent factor.