With the 2012 World Series of Poker right around the corner, it was time for the seventh annual ESPN Fantasy Poker League, and I couldn't have been more excited. This marked my third year as a participant, and I was seeking to win my second title in three years after winning the competition in 2010.
This year’s draft saw an eclectic mix of pros and prominent media members participate, though last year’s champion and former November Niner, Dennis Phillips, and two-time bracelet winner Mark Seif both had to miss the contest. With the addition of Josh Brikis, who has more than $1.4 million in career earnings, the total number of teams for this year’s draft stood at 10.
Here are the 10 teams/participants in the draft order: Lance Bradley, Brikis, myself, Eric Baldwin, Gary Wise, Daniel Negreanu, Dwyte Pilgrim, Chops of WickedChopsPoker, ESPN’s and the league’s commissioner Andrew Feldman, and Bernard Lee.
The invite-only league, which is built around the World Series of Poker, doesn’t feature a buy-in, but there are some major bragging rights on the line. Each participant utilizes their expertise to draft a team of eight players whom they think will find success at the WSOP. That team is then awarded 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 nine in hold 'em, eight in mixed and other games, six during shorthanded events, eight 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 events with a $10,000 buy-in or more.
- 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.
The draft proved to be a quick affair, and some interesting facts emerged:
- Last year’s number one pick, Eric Baldwin, dropped to the 70th overall pick this year. As Pilgrim explained, “He’s learned a thing or two” since making his pick last year.
- Phil Ivey was drafted second overall the past two years. Let’s hope it works out better for Brikis than it did for me last year when Ivey didn’t play!
- Seven of the first-round picks were also first-round picks last year. Eric Baldwin, Erick Lindgren and David Chiu were the players who fell out of the first round, while Steve Billirakis, Eugene Katchalov and Shawn Buchanan were the ones who jumped in.
- Last year Erick Lindgren was the fifth overall pick, but dropped to 68th this year; meanwhile, last year’s second-round picks Shannon Shorr, Men Nguyen, Scotty Nguyen, Mark Seif and Gavin Smith weren’t even selected this year.
- Other players not drafted this year included Huck Seed, Chau Giang, Andy Frankenberger, Ted Forrest, Andy Bloch, Galen Hall, Chad Brown and Jennifer Harman, just to name a few. Oh, and Chris Ferguson, he wasn’t selected either.
What’s even more interesting is that once the draft was completed (you can view the team rosters below), the Twitterverse chimed in:
Below is a round-by-round look at the 2012 ESPN Fantasy Poker League Draft:
Team Lance Bradley
|3||21||Justin “Boosted J” Smith|
|4||40||David “Bakes” Baker|
Team Josh Brikis
Team Chad Holloway
Team Eric Baldwin
Team Gary Wise
Team Daniel Negreanu
Team Dwyte Pilgrim
|2||14||Bertrand “ElkY” Grosspellier|
|4||33||David “Doc” Sands|
Team Andrew Feldman
|5||49||David “ODB” Baker|
|6||52||Viktor “Isildur1” Blom|
Team Bernard Lee
Who do you think has the best team? Were there 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.