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Who Missed Out on the FS+G Preliminary Qualification Round?

Phil Laak

On Tuesday, May 3, 2011, the Federated Sports + Gaming professional poker league released details regarding its qualification process, as well as its initial lineup for Season One. A tentative roster of 218 players was released; however, another qualification round is set for August 1, meaning even more players can earn a spot if they’re able to meet the eligibility criteria.

What are the criteria? According to the FS+G website:

  • 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

As it stands, a number of poker’s biggest names failed to make the cut, much to the dismay of fans. The good news is that those players still have a chance to qualify if they're able to satisfy the required criteria over the next three months. Here is a look at some players who were left off the list and what exactly they must accomplish in order to qualify for the FS+G.

Liv Boeree

As it stands, Boeree has a better chance at a “2-Year Category B” card rather than a “2-Year Category A” card, because one way or another, her biggest cash of $1,698,300 (first place at 2010 European Poker Tour San Remo Main Event) is going to get capped. With $1,917,799 in qualifying cashes, the cap is going to be a factor no matter which way you cut it. With plenty of cashes and a major title under her belt, the only issue surrounds her lifetime earnings.

Boeree is closest to “2-Year Category B” card, which would be capped at $750,000, putting her lifetime earnings at $969,499, which is $280,501 short of the $1.25 million required for that card; in comparison, capping her big win at $1 million, Boeree’s lifetime earnings would sit at $1,219,499, well short ($780,501) of the required $2 million for a “2-Year Category A” card. If Boeree hopes to qualify for Season One of the FS+G, she’ll certainly face an uphill battle.

Phil "Unabomber" Laak

The “Unabomber” was one of the most popular names missing from the FS+G roster, but fear not, he is more than capable of qualifying by August 1. With ten eligible cashes since 2008, totaling $538,616, Laak needs just $61,384 in cashes at this year’s WSOP to earn a “2-Year Category B” card. While he is listed as having more than $2 million in lifetime earnings, not all of those satisfy the FS+G criteria; as such, Laak has a better shot at the “B” card rather than the “A.”

The good news for poker fans is that Laak seems intent on winning his way into the FS+G league, expressing his plans to his friend, Andy Frankenberger, on Twitter: “I never played more than 10 WSOP summer events (during the series), but this year it seems the cash games will have to wait!”

Andy Frankenberger

Speaking of Frankenberger, he currently sits atop the World Poker Tour Season IX Player-of-the-Year Leaderboard with 2,100 points; however, he was unable to secure a spot in the FS+G’s inaugural qualification round. That is not to say he didn’t come close. In fact, he barely missed out on a “2-Year Category B” card.

According to his stats, Frankenberger has nine eligible cashes since January 23, 2010, totaling $1,220,685. If you do the math, you’ll discover that Frankenberger is just $29,315 from earning a spot in the FS+G league. Given the roll he has been on in the past year, there is little doubt that he’ll be able to lock up a spot come August.

Frankenberger is clearly aware of his situation, having tweeted: “Am I the Federated bubble boy? I've got 9 qualifying cashes. 1.22m earnings (all since 2010), cutoff is 1.25m with 9 cashes since '08.” He went on to say: “We have some work to do this summer to qualify.”

Prahlad Friedman

Friedman is close to a “2-Year Category A” card, easily meeting the $2 million in lifetime earnings, but he is lacking when it comes to the required number of cashes. Since 2008, Friedman has had only four cashes totaling $1,176,809. The largest of those was a first-place victory in the 2009 WPT Legends of Poker for $1,034,000, which is capped at an even $1 million for FS+G purposes. That brings his post-2008 total down to $1,142,809.

Clearly he has won more than the $300,000 required for a “2-Year Category A” card; however, he did not compile them in at least six cashes, instead doing it in four. That means all he needs to do is cash two more times in eligible tournaments, regardless of amount, between now and August 1 in order to qualify for the FS+G. Such a feat seems possible given Friedman's abilities and the full slate of tournaments available at this year’s WSOP.

Billy Baxter

With seven WSOP bracelets, tied for seventh all-time with Men “The Master” Nguyen, Baxter is largely regarded as the best lowball player in the world. While he is a legend in the game, his lifetime earnings of around $2.3 million do not make him eligible for the prestigious five and three-year cards; instead, his best bet is at a “2-Year Category A” card.

He already meets the lifetime earnings criteria and has numerous “major titles” to his credit, but he his lacking when it comes to the number of required post-2008 cashes. He currently has five eligible cashes totaling $458,249, meaning he'll need just one cash in the next 90 days to earn a “2-Year Category A” card.

Who else would you like to see qualify for the Federated Sports + Gaming professional poker league? Use the comments section below to let us know. In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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