In less than a month, the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys will kick off the 2012-2013 National Football League regular season. Why is that relevant? Well, over the next three weeks, countless poker players will be preparing for and attending their fantasy football drafts.
There’s no question that sports betting — especially fantasy sports betting — is prevalent in the poker world. Not all leagues are as baller as Daniel Negreanu’s $25,000 fantasy poker league during the World Series of Poker, but there are several four- and five-figure leagues that run. In fact, the poker community learned about Erick Lindgren’s debts because he hadn’t paid his entry for a high-stakes fantasy football league.
Former professional poker player Taylor Caby is perhaps the ultimate example that shows fantasy sports matter in our industry. He is founder and CEO of DraftDay.com, a real-money daily fantasy-sports website. He joined us on the PokerNews Podcast to talk about the site, the link between daily fantasy sports and poker, and the future of fantasy sports.
Still don’t believe me? Just troll Twitter on a Sunday afternoon during the NFL season.
Every Friday during football season, we’ll be bringing you the Pigskin Diaries right here in The Muck. Every week, I’ll make my selections against the spread and give a little fantasy advice. Last year, we finished 129-115-12 ATS in the regular season, and 6-5 in the playoffs.
During September, however, the focus is solely on fantasy football. This week, we’ll take a look at the quarterback position and examine who is undervalued (+EV) and who is overvalued (-EV).
Philip Rivers (Average Draft Position — Yahoo!: 69.8, ESPN: 60, NFL.com: 54.6)
Clearly, the three best quarterbacks in fantasy are Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees. Among that group, Rodgers is number one, thanks to his mobility (he averaged 284 yards rushing and four touchdowns over the last four years), but if either Brady or Brees score more points than Rodgers this season, no one should be surprised.
With that said, if you don’t draft one of these three quarterbacks, I suggest you wait. Matthew Stafford (ADP — 17.9, 13.1, 11.9) isn’t a terrible selection if he falls to you at the end of the second round, and Michael Vick (ADP — 43.9, 31.6, 36.5) is interesting if he slips to you in the fourth, but more than likely, those players will be drafted earlier than they should be. Rather than waste a second-round pick on Stafford, I’d much rather have either Rob Gronkowski (far and away the best tight end in fantasy football) or a solid starting running back such as Matt Forte or Darren McFadden. Instead of taking Vick in the third, I’m jumping all over absolute workhorses Michael Turner or Steven Jackson.
The reason I use Stafford and Vick as exceptions is because they both have very high ceilings. If you choose to gamble and reach for them, then go ahead, but do so knowing that you’re taking a risk. You can make the same argument for Peyton Manning (ADP — 50.7, 42.8, 49.4), who really looked like Peyton Manning in limited action against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, but his injury risk is exponentially higher than Stafford’s or Vick’s.
Ultimately, what’s the big difference between Philip Rivers and Stafford? Rivers and Vick? Rivers and either Manning? Using ESPN standard scoring, we can see that Stafford outscored Rivers by nearly 100 points last year, but Rivers scored 24 more points than Vick last season while Eli Manning outscored him by just 27 points. Coincidentally, the 2011-2012 season was one of Rivers’ worst to date. He threw a career-high 20 interceptions, threw fewer than 28 touchdowns for the first time in four years, and lost a career-high eight games.
This year, Antonio Gates is fully healthy, and Rivers has a few new weapons including Marques Colston, Eddie Royal, Michael Spurlock, and Roscoe Parrish. If last season was Rivers at his worst, then he’ll be a great value in the late fifth or sixth round.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (ADP — 124.5, 140.1, 146.4)
Unless you’re playing in an insanely deep league, you’re not drafting Ryan Fitzpatrick to be your starting quarterback. However, if you take anyone outside the big three, you’ll need a backup. If you take Vick, Stafford, Peyton Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger, you’ll definitely need a backup. Fitzpatrick flew out of the gates in fall 2011, throwing for 841 yards and nine touchdowns in the first three games. His production leveled out as the season progressed; however, he failed to crack 200 passing yards in six of his last 13 games.
In February, Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson told CBS that Fitzpatrick “actually cracked a couple of ribs” during their Week 8 game against the Washington Redskins. In the three games after suffering this injury, Fitzpatrick completed just over half of his passes, throwing only two touchdowns and seven interceptions. Even with this terrible stretch, Fitzpatrick finished 12th in scoring at quarterback, besting Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, and Josh Freeman – all of whom are being drafted ahead of Fitzpatrick.
The list of quarterbacks being taken in front of Fitzpatrick also includes Tim Tebow (a backup), and Andrew Luck (a rookie on a terrible team). Please, unless you’re playing in a dynasty/keeper league, I beg you not to take either of these players before the Amish Rifle. He’s accurate, he’s consistent when healthy, and you can snag him very late in your draft.
Cam Newton (ADP — 12.8, 17.1, 11.1)
Oh, boy. While we love Killa Cam here at the Pigskin Diaries, drafting him in the first two rounds is a bit crazy. Sure, Newton wowed us as a rookie, throwing for over 400 yards in his first two games and finishing the season with 4,051 passing yards, 706 rushing yards, and 36 touchdowns. Over a third of Newton’s touchdowns came on the ground, however, and that’s what’s concerning.
Newton isn’t injury-prone (he’s an ox, and the injury card is played far too often for mobile quarterbacks), but rushing quarterbacks tend to have less success in back-to-back seasons. Vick (2002, ’05, ’10) has rushed for over 500 yards and five touchdowns three times, Daunte Culpepper (’02), Kordell Stewart (’01), Donovan McNabb (’00), Steve McNair (’97), Vince Young (’06), and Randall Cunningham (’92) have all done it once. All seven quarterbacks failed to do it again the next season, and in six of the nine seasons, the quarterback failed to reach both marks.
In Newton’s last four games last season, he ran for 188 yards, but only scored one touchdown.
It appears as if Newton will need his legs to be productive, as well. After Week 4, he never crossed the 300-yard passing mark, and in his last three games, he failed to throw for more than 171 yards in a single game. In fact, in the second half of the season, Newton threw for 1,658 yards, 10 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. That’s very pedestrian.
Additionally, defensive coordinators have a season’s worth of footage on Newton, and the rest of the NFC South has an entire training camp to prepare for the six games they play against the Carolina Panthers.
Killa Cam is extremely talented, but there is a ton of risk in taking him in the first three rounds, let alone in the first or second. I’ll pass.
Eli Manning (ADP — 50.8, 31, 60.7)
The number that pops out here is the average draft position in ESPN leagues. In what universe is Eli Manning worth a 31st overall pick? If Manning goes before the fifth round, there’s no chance I’ll draft him in any league this season.
I think it’s easier to discuss Manning’s value in an auction-style draft. Let’s say you’re budgeted $200 for 16 roster spots. If you spend a quarter of your budget for Rodgers, Brady, or Brees, that’s fine. They’re clearly the best, and you’re employing a sound strategy of “Stars and Scrubs.” Conversely, Manning is in no-man’s-land. He’s not great, he’s not terrible, he’s just a bit above average. When you’re in your auctions however, Manning might go for around $20, or 10 percent of your budget. Rivers, who we discussed early as being comparable to Manning, may go for half of that, giving you room to get stars at running back and wide receiver.
We talk about being results-oriented all the time in poker, and it applies in fantasy football, as well. Just because Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, that doesn’t mean he’s an elite fantasy scorer. In terms of passing yards, Manning had by far the best season of his career last year, throwing for 4,933 yards. Before that season, his season average was 3,600 yards. He also threw for 29 touchdowns, compared to his previous average of 25 touchdowns, and threw a career-high 589 passes.
All of this being said, Manning still scored 112 points less than Rodgers, 107 points less than Brees, 79 points less than Brady, and, again, only 27 points more than Rivers. Not too impressive for an outlier season.
If Manning drops to you in the sixth or seventh round, grab him. But it’s not going to happen, and you shouldn’t reach for him.
Next week, we’ll be discussing running backs. See you then!
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Look who's back! Daniel Negreanu finally found some time to let us know what's going on in his head. He recently posted his first
Weekly Rant since, well, we can't remember and we're too lazy to look.
In his post-WSOP rant, Negreanu discusses PokerStars' acquisition of Full Tilt Poker, how his WSOP went, and more. It's a loaded video blog, so you're going to have to click play below to hear what he has to say.
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The poker industry is always looking for (positive) ways to get into the mainstream media. When Black Friday rolled around, poker was in the mainstream media, but there was nothing positive about that. On Tuesday, poker was in the mainstream media again, this time however, there was definitely a positive to it. You already know about PokerStars acquiring the assets of Full Tilt Poker, so we're not telling you about that. Here's a look at the coverage that got.
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The “High Stakes PL/NL” forum on TwoPlusTwo hosts a running thread titled "hsnl xfer thread: for active/reputable hsnl community members only" where posters can solicit and search for various online poker transfers. Most transfers are from site to site, such as from PartyPoker to PokerStars, but posters also set up transactions using cash, physical chips, bank wires and other forms of currency.
Before Black Friday, one of the more popular trades was Full Tilt Poker to PokerStars, and visa versa. In fact, Andrew “BalugaWhale” Seidman requested $4,000 on Full Tilt for $4,000 on PokerStars on April 11, 2011, just days before the poker world was rocked by the United States Department of Justice. The deal was made by a poster named “KJM” later the same day, and Seidman’s funds were frozen less than a week later.
“A large part of my roll was on Full Tilt,” Seidman told PokerNews. “Probably half. I was swapping for the FTOPS [Full Tilt Online Poker Series].”
Once Black Friday struck, the marketplace changed because no one knew the true value of money on either Full Tilt, PokerStars or Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet. Transfers weren’t working either, yet people were openly trying to swap between the sites or were trying to unload their balances for currency on other sites or cash/chips. A week after Black Friday, PokerStars began returning funds to U.S. players, but Full Tilt and AP/UB were still up in the air.
The value of money on AP/UB plummeted, and less than two weeks after Black Friday, players began selling funds at 50 cents on the dollar. For example, if a player had $100 on AP/UB, he was able to sell it for $50 in PokerStars money, cash, or other considerations.
On May 3, 2011, Isaac Haxton posted the following:
The Full Tilt market was initially more stable, but it too began to decline rapidly. By July, the price dropped down to around 70 cents on the dollar. By September, the price ranged from anything as high as 12 cents on the dollar to as low as 1 cent on the dollar. The price then shot back up to 60 to 80 cents on the dollar in early October, when Group Bernard Tapie “acquired” Full Tilt.
The market continued to fluctuate over the next nine months, and on Tuesday, when PokerStars actually acquired Full Tilt’s assets, the posters were still uncertain of the true value of Full Tilt money. Some players were asking for as much as 90 cents on the dollar, while others thought that was way too high:
On Tuesday, I asked my Twitter followers if any of them had bought Full Tilt funds for less than face value, and I received very few responses. Aaron Steury informed me that he bought an entire account on Tuesday for 85 cents on the dollar, but didn’t disclose the amount of the account. I contacted Octo-Niner Greg Merson, who allegedly sold his Full Tilt account after Black Friday, and he said the following:
“I’m super happy for everyone in the community. The poker world has been through so much the last 15 months and deserves this type of news.”
Again, nothing concrete about the sale of his account.
Later that day, Dan Fleyshman joined Kristy Arnett and myself on a mega edition of the PokerNews Podcast, and he said that he recommended players to sell their accounts for as low as 50 cents on the dollar during the Tapie fiasco. Fleyshman also told us that “household name” players bought funds from other “household name” players, and there were some “seven-figure deals that went down at 70 cents on the dollar,” but he gave no names.
According to TwoPlusTwo poster Daniel “d2themfi” Isaacson, one of these seven-figure deals may have gone down in April of 2011. Isaacson was at dinner with Daniel “Jungleman” Cates, and Cates told him that he sold his Full Tilt account balance for, “I believe 85 percent but I can’t remember.” Cates’ friends asked him if he sold it to Tom “Durrrr” Dwan, and he responded, “Something like that.”
Neither Dwan nor Cates have confirmed this. Cates’ Full Tilt balance is estimated to be worth $6 million.
The most interesting response I received on Tuesday was from Mike Sowers, but it didn’t name any names. It was a warning:
@RichTRyan be careful...u are going to get lots of these people who have a whole new ftp sweat on their hands. #bouttofindoutwhoucantrustJuly 31 2012Follow
Sowers’ warning is not unwarranted either — we’ve seen plenty of deals go wrong in the poker world. Seidman informed me that he has screenshots and saved messages from transactions he made, and some posters discussed contracts in the “hsnl xfer thread,” but with so much swapping and re-swapping going on, there could be a lot of information and money lost in translation.
It will be less of a hassle for people who swapped with “rest of world” players, because their funds will be untouched by the DOJ, whereas U.S. players don’t even know how to apply for their money yet. Additionally, there is wide speculation within the poker community that U.S. players will have to pay taxes on their account balances. This is obviously detrimental to players who sold funds, because unless they discussed taxes as part of the deal, they will lose a substantial amount of money.
It will only be a matter of time until the “(Insert name) is a scammer” threads start popping up on News, Views and Gossip.
For now, all we can do is wait. Seidman is confident that everything will be “relatively doable,” but Sowers’ warning keeps echoing in the back of my head. Millions of dollars have been transferred during the last 15 months, and the only thing that buyers have received is promises, documents, emails, and screen shots. The younger generation of players have always referred to themselves as “more trustworthy” than the old-school “live pros.” Well, this is their first big test.
Let’s hope that they pass with flying colors.
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We know how a lot of poker pros reacted to the news that PokerStars had acquired the assets of Full Tilt Poker, but what about Chase, Tommy, and Balls?
In the latest web comic from The Micros, John Wray and Jay Rosenkrantz give us a look at the day Tommy found out Full Tilt Poker was sold, and the bet he made with Balls when he didn't believe it. (It involves a sexy car wash.)
Visit The Micros' Facebook fan page for more photos, including some teaser posters for the web comic.
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Preface: I had the opportunity to film for an episode of the History Channel's Pawn Stars over the summer. Although I can't reveal too much of the experience because of a nondisclosure agreement, here's everything I can tell you.
I’ve always been a fan of history and poker. I majored in the former while in college and almost went on to teach high school history, but my passion and career lies with poker. With that said, I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to combine the two. This past summer, I found the perfect opportunity — taking vintage poker memorabilia to the hit History Channel program, Pawn Stars.
Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to piece together an extensive collection of old poker memorabilia, most notably some one-of-a-kind photos from old Las Vegas and past World Series of Pokers. I’ve managed to do so through different outlets including online auctions, antique stores, and by contacting a few individuals who were looking to part with their collections.
In 2011, I applied to be on Pawn Stars through its website and was fortunate enough to get a call from one of the producers. I then had to submit more information on my items including what they were, how I obtained them, and how much I was asking. In this case, I had three unique photos from the 1972 WSOP featuring “Amarillo Slim” Preston, Puggy Pearson and Doyle Brunson. Upon showing the photos to WSOP Media Director and noted poker historian Nolan Dalla, he informed be that he had never seen the photos; in fact, he couldn’t recall seeing a single photo from that particular final table.
Unfortunately, production fell behind in the summer of 2011 and my filming appointment got pushed back further and further until I had to leave Las Vegas. It was a missed opportunity, though not to any fault of my own. Not to be deterred, I decided to reapply this past summer before heading to Sin City for the 2012 WSOP. Much to my delight, the producer remembered me and made another appointment for me to go in and film.
Here’s a part of the e-mail I got from the producer:
Just a reminder — You are on the schedule to film with Pawn Stars Friday June 1st from 7-9am. Filming runs according to schedule, so do not arrive any earlier - it will last approximately 1 to 3 hours. Sometimes the crew may run late, so let us know if there is a time you definitely need to leave the shop by.
The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is located at 713 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89101. When you arrive at the shop bypass the line if there is one, and let security know you are there for filming - they'll let you know where to go.
The director prefers that you bring sunglasses with you as some shots are taken outdoors. Please do not wear anything white as it does come across well on camera; dark solid color shirts are preferred. Hats and shirts with large patterns, prints, stripes graphics or labels of any kind are also not permitted.
You are required to be consistent with the item's asking price as per what we discussed. Unrealistic asking prices and/or raising the price immediately prior to filming for purposes of being on TV will result in cancellation of the scene and will never be aired on Pawn Stars. If you have previously posted an online auction listing for your item please remove it immediately. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that your item will be sold to the shop.
You will be required to fill out some paperwork prior to filming that will include an appearance release and a nondisclosure agreement.
Please note that you will be the only person to appear on camera. If you do not wish to be the seller, let us know the name of the person that will be appearing on camera. You are welcome to bring a friend or family member into the shop with you during the filming, but they will not appear on camera. They can stand off camera, near the production crew, only you will appear on camera during the taping.
The main focus of this is the hopeful sale of your item. We ask that you treat the guys as normal employees and hold off on any requests until after the scene has been completely filmed (e.g., photographs).
Lastly, but most importantly, be sure to bring your A+ personality — don't be shy or afraid to crack a few jokes in the scene, we want you to be comfortable and have fun with it!
By this time I had added some more great photos to my collection, including those from the estate of Frank Cutrona, the former tournament director of the Golden Nugget. Back in the 1980s, the Golden Nugget was a hotbed for poker, and Cutrona had dozens of photos from celebrity poker events that featured poker pros alongside stars like Dionne Warwick, Mr. T., and Willie Nelson, just to name a few.
On the day of filming, which was postponed just once this year, I arrived and made my way to the door. The shop was busy that day, but an intern found me with ease and escorted me to the back. While the storefront is fairly small, at least compared to how they make it look on TV, the back area is huge. There are offices, storage shelves, garages and closets abound. Surprisingly, I was taken to a small area with no windows that was more akin to the set of a snuff film than anything else.
I may have been unenthusiastic with the holding area, but I was quite excited to film for the show, especially when one of the producers came in and informed me that I’d be filming with Rick Harrison and Chumlee, perhaps the two most well-known stars on the show. Eventually the store was cleared out, with the exception of a couple of dozen customers who were allowed to stay and serve as extras, which basically meant they browsed in silence and didn't look at the camera.
Sadly, I can’t tell you too much more about my experience because, as the e-mail indicates, I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Rest assured that when the episode does air, which will likely be during the upcoming new season this fall (they don’t give you an exact date), I will write a more intimate recap of my experience and break down just how the negotiations went.
*Lead photo courtesy of Pawn Stars.
Ever since Groupe Bernard Tapie’s bid to acquire Full Tilt Poker (FTP) fell through last April and PokerStars surfaced as a potential buyer, poker players have waited for news on their funds, which have been tied up for 15 months. On Tuesday, players rejoiced when they received great news: after months of negotiations with the United States Department of Justice, PokerStars had completed the purchase of FTP and players around the world would have their balances refunded.
The great news answered a lot of longstanding questions, but it also inspired many new questions. When would players receive their funds? What did the settlement mean for the future of online poker in the U.S.? How would the settlement affect other defendants like Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Rafe Furst and Ray Bitar?
There was a lot of information to absorb, and a day later, questions remained. As such, we’ve decided to sift through all yesterday’s developments and offer them to you in one simple place, what we’re calling the Lazy Person’s Guide to PokerStars’ Acquisition of Full Tilt Poker.
What does the settlement entail?
This is how it will work. First, FTP will forfeit all its assets to PokerStars, which will then forfeit $547 million to the U.S. government over the next three years. Once the transfer of assets is complete, PokerStars will repay non-U.S. customers FTP players a total of $184 million within 90 days, while U.S. players, who are owed approximately $150 million, will be paid by the U.S. Department of Justice.
I’m from the United States. How will I get my money back?
According to the PokerStars Corporate Blog: “The money paid to the U.S. Government will in part be used to reimburse former Full Tilt Poker customers in the United States, through a remission process to be administered by the Department of Justice.”
Details on the remission process are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Will Full Tilt Poker be back?
According to a press release issued by PokerStars, the company plans to relaunch Full Tilt Poker in most markets as a separate brand, after appointing a "new, independent management team." Full Tilt Poker’s headquarters will remain in Dublin, but regulatory oversight will be transferred to the Isle of Man.
Will FTP be available to all players outside the U.S.?
According to Lee Jones, Head of Home Games at PokerStars, the company is not planning to seek a license to operate FTP in France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Belgium and Estonia. "Full Tilt players in these countries will be able to play on PokerStars," Jones said in a thread at TwoPlusTwo.com.
Will we see either PokerStars or FTP back in the United States?
PokerStars added in Monday's announcement that the agreement allows the company to operate real-money online poker in the U.S. under both PokerStars and FTP brands once the activity is legalized at a state or federal level and PokerStars receives the proper licenses; however, such legalization could take a long time. PokerNews’ Matthew Kredell provided an in-depth look at the issue in PokerStars Settlement: What Does It Mean for Online Poker Legislation in the United States?
What sort of ramifications will this deal have on defendants like Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst?
The short answer is that there shouldn’t be any ramifications on the cases involving the aforementioned defendants. As FTP attorney Jeff Ifrah told PokerNews yesterday: “On the civil side, this deal doesn’t affect the individual defendants obviously, but in terms of what impact it will have, from a technical legal standpoint it really shouldn’t have any impact. The charges against the individuals on the civil case are different than what was just resolved today. What was resolved today was the civil forfeiture charges against the corporate defendants, and what remains open are fraud charges against individuals. So there really are different charges.”
How have Lederer, Furst, Ferguson and Bitar responded to the developments?
The former two have remained silent, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering each still have charges pending. Meanwhile, Ferguson’s lawyer, Ian Imrich, told PokerNews: “This settlement is great news for poker players worldwide, and particularly in the US. But Chris Ferguson is not in a position to comment at this time as he has not yet resolved his individual civil case with SDNY and the settlement discussions — while extremely positive and productive — must remain private and confidential at this time.”
Bitar released a statement of his own, which in part read: “Over the past few days, I signed the papers necessary to complete Full Tilt’s deal with the US Government. The company’s assets will now be transferred to PokerStars and Full Tilt employees will have a new employer as well. I believe that this deal will result in Full Tilt’s customers being repaid. I am extremely pleased and excited by this prospect. For the past 15 months, I have worked hard on possible solutions to get players repaid. It has been a very long road, with lots of bumps along the way, but I am glad we have gotten to the end. I only wish that we could have resolved the situation much sooner.”
What ever happened with Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet?
On Tuesday, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York submitted a declaration in support of the government's motion for the entry of proposed stipulated order of settlement between the Government and Absolute Poker and its parties, including Ultimate Bet.
Are all of the online sites guilty of a crime?
As the DOJ said in a press release: “The settlements entered today with regard to Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, and the proposed settlement with regard to Absolute Poker, do not constitute admissions of any wrong doing, culpability, liability, or guilt by any parties.”
TwoPlusTwo can be scary. If you’re a first-time visitor, it’s hard to process all of the threads, and if you post you could be flamed. Badly. Posters have no mercy. So, if you’re afraid to lurk, or you’re just looking for the best threads at the moment, we thought we would lend a helping hand — and add our input.
Let the trolling begin.
It all started when Jeanine Deeb, the daughter of professional poker player Freddy Deeb, tweeted the following: “Look who has joined the @WorldPokerTour teaaam!!!! @joesebok WOOHOO!! ❤”
The tweet also included a picture of Joe Sebok, but it has since been deleted.
*According to source close to the World Poker Tour, Sebok wasn't signing a sponsorship deal, rather he was going to run the live updates and the live stream. Not long after the thread was started, Kevmath announced that Sebok will not be joining the WPT, and perhaps it’s because the majority of the TwoPlusTwo posters protested the alleged hiring. And, while News, Views, and Gossip can be flooded with white noise, numerous influential pros spoke up in the thread, including Isaac Haxton, who said the following:
It's not like he was an investigative journalist who tried his best to dig up a story and failed. He was a paid representative of UB, spun that role as some sort of "I'm gonna get to the bottom of this!" bull****, learned nothing, and then turned around and assured people that it was safe to play on UB.
The people who believed him lost every dime they had on the site when the **** hit the fan. He continues to tweet about his awesome life and his sweet house on Hermosa Beach that he pays for with money UB stole and gave to him to tell people they weren't crooks. He's never even made a proper public apology or admitted his role in helping UB rob more people.
If anything, he doesn't get enough hate. The fact that poker-related businesses continue to pay him money to use his name in association with their products is mind-blowing.
Haxton’s view has received so much support that it’s been included in the original post.
Since signing with Ultimate Bet in September 2009, Sebok’s image in the poker industry has taken a significant hit because he was unable to uncover any evidence from the infamous UB/Absolute Poker scandal. In an interview with PokerNews, Sebok said: “I hope that fans and players rest easier knowing that I am a UB pro now. I will absolutely be keeping both eyes open and will be the first to call out any wrongdoing if any were to happen there.”
In the year and a half before Black Friday, little significant information was released. When Black Friday hit, UB’s funds were frozen, and the company has shown no interest in refunding the players.
Singling out Sebok for all of UB’s wrongdoings is unfair, and I’m certain that he regrets some of his decisions while working with Paul Leggett and the gang, but unlike other members of Team UB, Sebok was “an intermediary between Ultimate Bet staffers and the site’s all-star roster of players.” While Eric Baldwin, Maria Ho, Brandon Cantu, Adam Levy and others simply represented the site on the felt, Sebok was speaking publicly on behalf of the entire operation, which carries significantly more weight. So, when the ship went down, the poker world didn’t look to the players for answers, they looked to the two captains, Sebok and Legget. When Sebok couldn’t provide any answers, the poker community vilified him.
Before signing with UB, Sebok was undoubtedly one the “good guys” in poker. PokerRoad, a multimedia poker site, which he created with his father Barry Greenstein, was very influential within the community, and being media friendly, Sebok was always portrayed in a positive light. Sebok also went deep in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing 56th ($108,047). However, once your image is damaged — whether it’s deserved or not — it’s very difficult to rebuild. The WPT put itself in a bad situation by publicly negotiating with Sebok, especially when there are so many entertaining people to choose from in the poker world.
No other news has surfaced regarding the position the WPT was interviewing for, and Sebok declined to comment on the matter.
If they’re not locked and deleted, the majority of “view” threads on NVG are short-lived. However, "camz2895’s" thread about the WSOP Main Event being changed to a reentry event garnered nearly 5,600 views and 94 posts. The original poster gave an example that the WSOP Circuit main events are reentry events, but the majority of the posters disagreed with the idea.
Some of the posters in the thread confused reentry tournaments with rebuy tournaments, and there is a stark difference between the two. In reentry tournaments, the players literally have to reregister for the tournament once they’re eliminated. Thus, they pay the juice again, and they get moved to a different table. In rebuy tournaments, players don’t move from the table they’re at, rather they simply reload their chips when they “add on” or lose all their chips. The WSOP staff questioned the integrity of rebuy tournaments a few years ago however, and eliminated them from the schedule because they didn’t want players to be able to “buy a bracelet.”
In general, I’m in favor of reentry events because they increase prize pools. Larger prize pools attract more players and create more buzz, which is good for the game. Most reentry events are smaller buy-in events however, and none of them generate $62 million prize pools. The Main Event is perfect as it is. The buy-in is perfect, the field size is perfect, and more importantly, the dichotomy of professional players and amateurs is perfect. Unless the value of the dollar plummets or rises exponentially, the format of the Main Event should never change.
If the Main Event became a reentry event, then two distinct things would happen: (1) Day 1a of the Main Event would become the biggest, craziest day of poker each year. Professional players with multiple bullets would emerge from the day with either half a million chips or none. In turn, (2) amateur players would be overwhelmed. The Main Event is great because everybody is on the same playing field, and everybody has an equal shot at winning millions of dollars and becoming the world champion. If professional players are suddenly given extra opportunities, then the tournament would become less special.
As much as we root for professional players to go deep, we love to see Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Dennis Phillips, and Darvin Moon at the final table — it gives us an opportunity to be able to sit on our couches and ask ourselves, “Why not me?”
From a pure money-making standpoint, then, making the Main Event a reentry event is a no-brainer. But it would simply ruin everything. Keep the tradition, protect the amateur players, and don’t mess with a perfect tournament.
*Update: Additional information was discovered and added at 4:50 p.m. PDT
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always, follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.
We saw plenty of card protectors at the 2012 World Series of Poker. We snapped plenty of photos of them and each day we added them to our summer series, All Mucked Up. If your brains are anything like ours, you probably forgot most of the ones you saw. Luckily for you, we've chosen our top 10 card protectors from the summer. Enjoy.
No. 10 of our top ten card protectors count down is this man’s bear figurine, which only makes it in because of how insistent the man was that we took a picture of it. He even held up a sheet of paper behind it so we could get it clearer. The power of persistence -- we award No. 10 to the brown bear.
No. 9 goes to the man in the Main Event who used a tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce as his card protector. No, that’s not a figurine, it’s an actual bottle. Reports that he ate it with a ham and cheese omelet after he busted are still unconfirmed.
Close call, but No. 8 goes to the "Triple Knut." This card protector is slightly more function than fashion -- what it essentially is is the most miscellaneous DIY part ever been employed as a card protector. Props for creativity.
Lucky No. 7 is this talkative grinders "Chiposaurus." This extremely rare pre-historic poker mascot’s status as a card protector is actually flawed; it avoids cards and the felt in general, preferring the relatively high peaks of his owners chip stack to make his nest.
No. 6 is extra special. If you go to the bathroom during play of a round, this Buddah can actually take over for you! There’s a grey area in the WSOP rule book, so this player has been getting away with it so far this series. Expect an amendment in next year’s rules.
Don’t ask us why "The Gnome" is in the No. 5 spot. Perhaps it’s because the grinder he belongs to looks like he might be the type of person to be seriously involved in gardening -- we never thought to ask him though, and now we’ll never know for sure…
Getting close to the grand prize, the top four were all close shouts. No. 4 goes to this man’s creative Coke-Can UFO. It’s mostly impressive that he has discovered how neatly the bottom of a coke can balances on the top of Rio chips. How does someone find out something like that?
No. 3 goes to the signed fossil that Grey "fossilman" Raymer gives out to whoever busts him in an event. We managed to get this close up shot of one he handed out in the middle of the series!
The No. 2 spot goes to this man's genuine family of Smurfs in front of his chips. We'd love to get inside this man's head for a day and just see how happy a place the world is. Thrown in is a Dalmatian for good measure!
Last but certainly not least is the most famous card protector of them all -- Humberto Brenes’ ‘Chark’. Brenes never leaves home without the shark, and has been seen to roll out extra sharks from his backpack if his stack gets big enough to accommodate them! This is the one card protector that we know for sure is going to be back next year.
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Do you have any favorites from our All Mucked Up coverage? Let us know in the comments section below and as always, follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.
All Mucked Up is a live blog of all the stuff you want to know at the 2012 World Series of Poker, besides hand histories and bad beats. Well, we might add a few in here, everyone loves a good bad beat story — unless it happened to you. Check back often for polls, soundbites, celebrity sightings, and who knows what else!
It’s day seven of the 2012 WSOP Main Event. Of the 6,598 entries only 27 remain. Which players will make the Octo-Nine? We’ll find out today. There are plenty of interesting story lines. Will we have a woman make the Main Event final table? Two still remain, Elisabeth Hille (9,7770,000) and Gaelle Baumann (6,295,000). Can Marc Ladoceur (15,875,000) and Daniel Strelitz (12,790,000) ride their big stacks to October glory? Will Greg Mearson capture the top spot in the POY standings? Stay tuned, as PokerNews will be answering all those questions and more. Here are images of the three feature tables before the start of play:
We spotted poker pros Andres Pereyra and Jamie Armstrong on the rail sweating Daniel Strelitz who got off to a rocky start during the first level of play today. An untimely bluff followed by a lost flip knocked him down to 3 million chips at one point, but he’s managed to grind his stack back up to over 9.5 million chips.
We asked Armstrong if he had given any advice to Sterlitz before the start of the day.
“No, not really, I just told him to keep it going,” Armstrong said. “He knows what to.”
Pereyra has a financial interest in Strelitz.
“He’s my horse, I have a piece. I’m excited for the rest of the day.”
Also spotted was 2012 WSOP bracelet winner, Ronnie Bardah, sweating Paul Volpe, with chants of, "Lets go Paul V, lets go Paul V."
As 54 year old Roland Israelashvili was just eliminated from the Main Event, we thought we'd post a quick update of how the high stakes prop bet - whether someone over the age of forty would win the Main Event this year - was doing. Israelavili's exit means that there are only 3 Main Event contenders over the age of 40 left, and they're squaring up against 21 of the best young guns in the game! The 3 over 40s left are Steven Gee, Michael Esposito and the 67 year old Robert Buckenmayer. The players involved in this prop bet, Barry Greenstein, Mike Sexton, Doyle Brunsen and Brian 'stinger' Hastings among others, have been giving 10-1 that a player over 40 will win the bracelet. The youngsters currently outnumber the golden oldies 7-1! The youngest player left is Jacob Balsiger, who is 21 years old.
We spotted Antonio Esfandiari leaving the Amazon room in a rush. We caught up to him to ask who’s his pick to win the Main Event.
“I don’t even know who’s in it,” said a smiling Esfandiari. When you’re the One-Drop champ you can afford to have more pressing worries.
Here’s Daniel Strelitz being interviewed by Kara Scott after being eliminated in 24th place. He’ll be taking home $294,601.
Jason Mercier was just announced the winner of the 25k fantasy draft for the this year World Series Of Poker. It was tight at the end, but Yuval Bronshtein's 23rd-place finish was enough to confirm Jason winning... Or was it?!?! New information tells us that if Paul 'paulgees' Volpe makes a push to finish 1st or 2nd in in chips for the October Nine then Bryn Kenney's team will actually steal the title from under Mercier's nose - it will all be decided today as the October Nine finish is not what matters, but what positions they finish in chips today.
So Bryn Kenney has an outside chance depending on Volpe's performance tonight, otherwise Jason Mercier will be winning $178,750 for his win! We'll keep you posted.
Get the best rates at hotels near the venue.
Phil Ivey and female acquaintance accused of “reading” cards that contained tiny manufacture flaws in huge £7.8 million ($12.1 million) Punto Banco win.
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