On Tuesday, the 2011 ESPN Fantasy Poker League conducted its annual draft with a mixture of pros and prominent media members participating. The invitation-only league featured eleven participants including (in order of draft pick): Dwyte Pilgrim, PokerNews’ Chad Holloway, Lance Bradley, Dennis Phillips, Daniel Negreanu, Chops from Wicked Chops Poker, Andrew Feldman, Gary Wise, Eric Baldwin, Bernard Lee, and Mark Seif. The annual league is built around the World Series of Poker and awards some major bragging rights.
So how does it work? It's simple. Each participant drafts a team of eight players whom they think will find success at the WSOP. Based upon their selection’s performance, each team earns points based upon the following criteria.
- 1 point for making the money
- 2 points for the top 50
- 5 points for top 20
- 10 points for the final table (defined as top 9 in hold 'em, 8 in mixed and other games, 6 during shorthanded events, 8 in heads-up (5-8th will be awarded 5th, etc).
- 1 additional point for ninth
- 2 additional points for eighth
- 4 additional points for seventh
- 6 additional points for sixth
- 10 additional points for fifth
- 15 additional points for fourth
- 20 additional points for third
- 30 additional points for second
- 40 additional points for first
- Double points will be awarded for all $10,000 events, $25K heads-up and the $50,000 Player's Championship event.
- Players will earn one extra point by cashing per every 100 players in the field. For example, if you cash in a 2000-player event, you will earn an additional 20 points.
- Every team can drop one player and replace him or her with another player. Stats will only count once on your roster.
Last year, Holloway managed to rack up 596 points and claim the 2010 title, due in no small part to Michael Mizrachi’s deep Main Event run. This year, participants brought their own strategies and sleeper picks to the draft. Surprisingly, the league proved extraordinarily popular with the poker community in the Twitterverse. Poker fans and pros alike were anxious for the draft results, which resulted in a plethora of tweets analyzing the various teams.
For example, David “ODB” Baker took to Twitter to express his surprise that one of poker’s top players wasn’t drafted: “Just 1 year removed from 2 bracelets @GregFBT [Greg Mueller] goes undrafted???? Little motivation my friend????”
While some expressed their surprise, others used Twitter to declare their allegiances. For instance, Jason Mercier tweeted: “Feldman has the best team by far. Not even a question. @basebaldy should be ashamed for his #1 pick. Chui? Rly??”
World Poker Tour Player-of-the-Year Andy Frankenberger seemed to think there was a good chance of a back-to-back title run: “@ChadAHolloway u landed Ivey without the #1 pick overall? Galen in the 5th round? A hungry Phil Laak late? Huge value picks. Well drafted!”
Another pro who was happy to be drafted, as the last pick of the draft as it were, was Josh Brikis: “I love Dwytes team in WSOP fantasy! I'm gonna do my best to help him ship it too! #pilgrimsposse.” Coincidentally, Mericer, Frankenberger, and Brikis were all fans of the teams that drafted them.
Below is a round-by-round look at the 2011 ESPN Fantasy Poker League Draft.
*Seif was late to the draft so he was allowed to make up the first two rounds at the end of Round 2.
|Bradley||42||David “Bakes” Baker|
|Baldwin||58||Daivd “ODB” Baker|
|Wise||81||Roland De Wolfe|
|Chops||83||David “Doc” Sands|
*Negreanu had a secret pick he wished to keep confidential until after his other fantasy poker drafts had concluded.
Speaking of Negreanu, who is a fantasy poker aficionado, he was more than willing to offer his opinion on the draft. “Best 4 Teams in the ESPN Fantasy Draft are clear. Mine for sure is the best for this format, then @basebaldy then @GaryWise1 then Bradley.” Will Negreanu’s assessment prove true? PokerNews will be sure to bring you updates on the 2011 ESPN Fantasy Poker League throughout the WSOP, but you can also find out more from Feldman on ESPN.
Whom do you think has the best team? Any players you were surprised to discover did not get drafted? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.