The Epic Poker League was born out of the notion that the best professional players in the world would be able to compete on a semi-regular basis for large amounts of tournament prize money. The pros felt that the member-only league, would eliminate so many amateurs snatching up prize money at tournaments around the world.
The first event was a success, with 127 players entering. The second event, however, started this past week and the numbers were way down. Less than 100 players signed up to participate in event number two. Several reasons have been mentioned, but one stands out for many poker analysts. The prize money is simply not large enough.
Players travel around the globe these days searching for tournaments and cash games where there is a big risk-reward factor. The reward in the second event of the Epic Poker League is over $700,000, but that is not enough to draw a crowd. Despite the low participant figures, some of the games biggest names did show up and compete. Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, David Williams, Tom Dwan, Erik Seidel, and Huck Seed.
Matusow appears to be the player that is moving forward with the biggest desire to win. The Mouth, as he is affectionately known, did not find a backer for the first Epic event, so he sat out the tournament. He is making his presence known in event two, with frequent tweets and even more verbal assaults at the tables.
Poker was on the upswing in the US until the Department of Justice threw a wrench in the plans of millions of Americans. The top online poker sites in the world were indicted on Black Friday several months ago, and they soon after left the US market. That left millions of poker playing US citizens without a reliable place to play online.
Thousands of poker enthusiasts had made online poker their occupation during the 2008 economic recession. With online gambling prohibition as strong as ever in the US, many of these poker players took to other countries to enjoy the game they had grown to rely on for income.
Lawmakers in the US are slowly working towards a resolution to prohibition. Bills are on the table that would regulate online poker, and possibly allow the biggest poker sites in the world back into the US market. It is likely that US-based gaming companies would get the first crack at any licenses that come available for online gambling.