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Federated Sports + Gaming Announce Inaugural Professional Poker League Roster

Phil Ivey Tom Dwan

On Tuesday, May 3, 2011, the Federated Sports + Gaming’s professional poker league announced the lineup for its inaugural season. Two hundred and eighteen players qualified for membership in the 2011-2012 league; however, that number will likely increase as players can continue to qualify through August 1. In addition, nine temporary, single-event exemptions will be awarded through Pro-Am tournaments, increasing the field slightly.

Perhaps most importantly, the FS+G roster announcement assured fans that the league, headed by Jeffrey Pollack and Annie Duke, would not be affected by the events of online poker’s infamous “Black Friday.”

The lineup was based upon an advance formula developed by FS+G. According to its website: “Qualification for the new professional poker league is based on a player’s performance in qualifying tournaments and measured by a combination of adjusted lifetime earnings; number of major poker titles won; adjusted earnings since January 1, 2008; and, the adjusted number of cashes since January 1, 2008. The criteria for each type of card is as follows (note that all monetary amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars):

  • 5-Year Card: At least $4.0 million in adjusted lifetime earnings, with the single largest win capped at $2.0 million; at least three major titles; at least nine cashes since January 1, 2008, for a total of at least $600,000 won
  • 3-Year Card: At least $2.5 million in adjusted lifetime earnings, with the single largest win capped at $1.5 million; at least one major title; at least nine cashes since January 1, 2008, for a total of at least $500,000 won
  • 2-Year Card Category A: At least $2 million in adjusted lifetime earnings, with the single largest win capped at $1 million; at least one major title; at least six cashes since January 1, 2008, for a total of at least $300,000 won
  • 2-Year Card Category B: At least $1.25 million in adjusted lifetime earnings, with the single largest win capped at $750,000; at least nine cashes since January 1, 2008, for a total of $600,000 won

In addition, all qualifying tournaments must have a buy-in of $1,500 or more; are open to the general public; is announced at least 30 days in advance; and attracts at least 21 players. Furthermore, Invitational tournaments count but only if the “public can play their way in through preliminary or satellite events,” meaning “Seniors, Ladies, Employees, CEO and other special-design events are not qualifying tournaments.”

While the inaugural lineup included most of poker’s biggest names, there were some notable players who failed to qualify. Absent from the list are Chris Moneymaker, Dennis Phillips, Tiffany Michelle, Joe Sebok, Jamie Gold, Jerry Yang, Jonathan Duhamel, Joe Cada, Todd Brunson, Liv Boeree, Bill Chen, Phil Galfond, Mike Sexton, Dan Harrington, and T.J. Cloutier.

In an article in USA Today, Duke explained the absence of such big-name stars as the 2006 WSOP Main Event Champion: "If it was based on Q rating (name appeal), Jamie Gold would have made the list.”

On the other hand, poker fans might be surprised at some of the players who did qualify such as Hevad Khan, Jason Lester, Toto Leonidas, Andrew Chen, Jeffery Papola, Blair Rodman, and Mike Wattel. Nonetheless, all these players met the objective criteria and earned their spots in the league.

Duke went on to say: "We put a lot of thought into it just thinking about what it is that would define one of the best live tournament players in the world. We wanted to make sure that we were grabbing the best of the best today."

Here is a look at the FS+G 218-player lineup:

Federated Sports + Gaming Season One Roster

PlayerCardPlayerCardPlayerCardPlayerCard
James Akenhead2Y BDaniel Alaei5 YearPatrik Antonius2Y AJosh Arieh3 Year
David Bach2Y ADavid “Bakes” Baker2Y ADavid Baker2Y BEric Baldwin3 Year
Praz Bansi2Y AJose Ignacio Barbero2Y BAllen Bari2Y BIsaac Baron2Y B
Christopher Bell3 YearDavid Benyamine3 YearSteve Billirakis2Y BMike Binger3 Year
Nick Binger2Y BChris Bjorin3 YearAndy Bloch2Y BSalvatore Bonavena2Y B
Justin Bonomo2Y ADutch Boyd2Y BMatthew Brady2Y BSteve Brecher2Y A
Brenes Humberto2Y AChad Brown2Y BDoyle Brunson2Y AShawn Buchanan3 Year
Eric Buchman3 YearOlivier Busquet2Y AErik Cajelais2Y ABrandon Cantu3 Year
John Cernuto3 YearJohnny Chan3 YearNeil Channing2Y BAndrew Chen2Y B
David Chiu5 YearCornel Cimpan3 YearScott Clements5 YearHoyt Corkins5 Year
Allen Cunningham5 YearDavid Danshgar2Y ARoland De Wolfe5 YearFreddy Deeb5 Year
Ivan Demidov2Y BJason DeWitt2Y BQuinn Do2Y AAnnie Duke2Y A
Tom Dwan2Y BPeter Eastgate3 YearMike Ellis2Y BAntonio Esfandiari3 Year
Chris Ferguson5 YearAmonon Filippi2Y BLayne Flack3 YearRandall Flowers2Y B
Ted Forrest2Y AJimmy Fricke2Y BEric Froehlich2Y BChau Giang3 Year
Matthew Glantz2Y BAlexandre Gomes3 YearMatthew Graham2Y BBarry Greenstein5 Year
Gavin Griffin2Y ADmitry Gromov2Y BBertrand Grospellier3 YearTony “G” Guoga3 Year
Hasan Habib3 YearJoe Hachem3 YearRoger Hairabedian2Y ADean Hamrick2Y B
Gus Hansen2Y AChristian Harder2Y BJennifer Harman2Y AIsaac Haxton2Y B
Dan Heimiller2Y APhil Hellmuth5 YearJuha Helppi2Y BRob Hollink3 Year
Alessio Isaia2Y BPhil Ivey5 YearAlex Jacob2Y AFernando Jacobo2Y B
Martin Per Jacobson2Y BFaraz Jaka2Y BSirous Jamshidi2Y BPeter Jetten2Y B
Marco Johnson2Y BTheo Jorgensen2Y AJohn Juanda5 YearJohn Kabbaj2Y B
Mclean Karr2Y BFrank Kassela2Y AEugene Katchalov3 YearMatt Keikoan2Y B
Bryn Kenney2Y BAllen Kessler2Y BHafiz Khan2Y BHevad Khan2Y A
Davidi Kitai2Y BChris Klodnicki2Y BAlexander Kostritsyn3 YearMoritz Kranich2Y A
Andreas Krause2Y BAlexander Kravchenko3 YearValdemar Kwaysser2Y BLudovic Lacay2Y B
Florian Langmann2Y BTed Lawson2Y AHoward Lederer5 YearAntony Lellouche2Y B
Toto Leonidas3 YearJason Lester2Y AAdam Levy2Y BAndrew Lichtenberger2Y B
Kathy Liebert3 YearErick Lindgren5 YearJeff Lisandro5 YearJonathan Little3 Year
Vitaly Lunkin3 YearJames Mackey2Y BJeff Madsen3 YearAyaz Mahmood2Y B
Amit Makhija2Y BMihai Manole2Y BMatt Marafioti2Y BThomas Marchese2Y A
Lee Markholt2Y AMichael Martin2Y AMatt Matros2Y BArnaud Mattern2Y B
Mike Matusow5 YearMike McDonald3 YearNenad Medic3 YearJason Mercier3 Year
Dario Minieri2Y BMichael Mizrachi5 YearRobert Mizrachi3 YearSorel Mizzi2Y B
Will Molson2Y BScott Montgomery2Y BChris Moore2Y BCarlos Mortensen5 Year
Greg Mueller2Y BDaniel Negreanu5 YearMen Nguyen5 YearScotty Nguyen5 Year
Annette Obrestad3 YearLuca Pagano2Y BJeffrey Papola2Y BJohn Brock Parker2Y B
Jean-Paul Pasqualini2Y BRalph Perry3 YearMax Pescatori2Y ADavid Pham3 Year
Thang Pham2Y AJohn Phan5 YearCarter Phillips2Y BDwyte Pilgrim2Y B
John Racener3 YearVivek Rajkumar3 YearVictor Ramdin3 YearGreg Raymer2Y A
Tobias Reinkemeier2Y BChino Rheem3 YearClaudio Rinaldi2Y BAndrew Robl2Y B
Blair Rodman2Y ARoberto Romanello2Y BFarzad Rouhani2Y BVanessa Rousso2Y B
Sebastian Ruthenberg3 YearNichlas Saarisilta2Y BNick Schulman3 YearNoah Schwartz2Y B
Huck Seed5 YearErik Seidel5 YearScott Seiver2Y AVanessa Selbst5 Year
Daniel Shak2Y BSoheil Shamseddin2Y BShannon Shorr3 YearBarry Shulman3 Year
David Singer3 YearGavin Smith3 YearJordan Smith2Y BJustin Smith2Y B
Marty Smyth2Y AFabrice Soulier2Y BMike Sowers2Y BDavid Steicke2Y B
Samuel Stein2Y BJohn Storakers2Y BSurinder Sunar3 YearSteve Sung2Y B
Joe Tehan3 YearMark Teltscher2Y ATodd Terry2Y BJulian Thew2Y B
Nam Thien Le3 YearWilliam Thorson2Y BYevgeniy Timoshenko3 YearAlec Torelli2Y B
JC Tran5 YearSam Trickett2Y BMichael Tureniec2Y ADave “Devilfish” Ulliott3 Year
James Van Alstyne3 YearTommy Vedes2Y BVille Wahlbeck2Y BLee Watkinson3 Year
Michael Watson3 YearMike Wattel2Y BTimothy West2Y BDavid Williams3 Year
Justin Young2Y BRyan Young2Y B    

2011-12 FS+G Season 1 Tournament Schedule

EventPro-AmCharity TournamentLeague Main Event
#1August 5-8, 2011August 7, 2011August 9-12, 2011
#2September 2-5, 2011September 4, 2011September 6-9, 2011
#3December 9-12, 2011December 11, 2011December 14-18, 2011
#4January 27-30, 2012January 29, 2011February 9-12, 2012
ChampionshipFebruary 13-14, 2012

What do you think of the lineup? Any surprises? Anyone overlooked? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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