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Dec. 15th, 2005 @ 10:10 am schedule reduction
I was in vegas this week and my wife and daughter have been in california all week. It was by far my best opportunity to play focused poker since ivy was born, and I am not likely to see such an opportunity again. Despite that I didn't play in the bellagio WPT event that began monday, the same WPT event I won two years ago. I see that andy bloch is not playing any more WPT events and I feel roughly the same way although our complaints might diverge a bit. I do not expect to have any impact but the players have been reasonable for long enough and eventually something has to give. I'll leave myself an out to play in the $25K final in april, but barring some significant changes that will be my final WPT event.
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From:es0terix
Date:December 15th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC)
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Paul, the WSOP and WPT obviously have their well documented and much discussed problems, so who would you say has it the MOST right at this point as far as running things how they should be run? (not just out of those two, out of all the venues and organizations that run events)
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From:joepro
Date:December 15th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)

Game show network - "High Stakes Poker."

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I was wondering if you had any interest in playing in the new show "High Stakes Poker?" It looks like a refreshing alternative to tournament TV poker. Ironically, you were on WPT once again last night and I was wondering why in the world you just happened to have a copy of an obscure Doyle Brunson book in your possession. Actually, the ironic part is the fact that your "likeness/appearance" is much more likely to be promoted on WPT than Andy Bloch's. I think it's a shame it has come to this.
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From:extempore
Date:December 15th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Game show network - "High Stakes Poker."

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Actually, the ironic part is the fact that your "likeness/appearance" is much more likely to be promoted on WPT than Andy Bloch's.

They've sure gotten some mileage out of that J2 against the unabomber. Not that I begrudge them that, although I very much begrudge them those stupid commercials with the offensive voiceovers. Fortunately I don't think I ever appeared in one of those.

"Your opponent has just bet eighty thousand on the river... WHAT DO YOU DO!?" "Now that I've seen this commercial eighty thousand times, I call."
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From:im_jayistheman
Date:December 15th, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Game show network - "High Stakes Poker."

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I always chuckle at the commercial. I love the fact that the footage of Laak folding is from a different event than the famous J 2 hand. At least this is what the colors of the chips tell me. Paulp bets a bunch of yellow and blue chips. Laak, on the other hand has stacks of Bellagio chips.
From:epsteininspace
Date:December 15th, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC)

Re: Game show network - "High Stakes Poker."

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Not that I begrudge them that, although I very much begrudge them those stupid commercials with the offensive voiceovers.

But those are the best! "You may be the Dragon, but I am going to fake you out like a Matador, for I am Carrrlos Mortenson!" "No Tickee No Washee, Carlos! Confucius say, 'I call!'"

Here is my favorite part on the WPT aggreement: "and of other audio-visual works (including, without limitation, “behind the scenes” productions and public service announcements)"

I'm imagining the Travel Channel running a PSA where it's just the Unabomber doing situps beside the table to the sound of the crowd counting along, then cut to black screen with the words "Don't do drugs."
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From:nathashish
Date:December 15th, 2005 11:02 pm (UTC)

Re: Game show network - "High Stakes Poker."

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I'm imagining the Travel Channel running a PSA where it's just the Unabomber doing situps beside the table to the sound of the crowd counting along, then cut to black screen with the words "Don't do drugs."

Would the message be "Don't do drugs, exercise instead", or "If you do drugs, you could find yourself so mentally addled you start doing sit ups during the final table of a million dollar poker tournament"?
From:epsteininspace
Date:December 15th, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC)

Re: Game show network - "High Stakes Poker."

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Would the message be "Don't do drugs, exercise instead", or "If you do drugs, you could find yourself so mentally addled you start doing sit ups during the final table of a million dollar poker tournament"?

The latter, but they could conceivably have the former to fall back on if Phil Laak started getting all litigaty.

Or maybe he would just launch a counterattack by running an ad that says "If you do drugs, you'll get to see Jennifer Tilly's hoo-hoo."
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From:dmorr
Date:December 15th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
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I certainly wonder every so often what the players get out of all the tv money generated by a successful show. Entry fees haven't gone down, there isn't new significant money added. I guess if being on tv has significant utility to you, then it's worthwhile, but otherwise...

I guess you could argue that exposure pulls in people who do get significant tv utility, and who are probably -EV and thus good for the good player, but that seems pretty minor as an effect. Maybe I'm underestimating it.
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From:1nvrknoz
Date:December 15th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
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Additionally, too many -EV players makes a tournament more like walking through a landmine field even for the best of players.
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From:hgfalling
Date:December 15th, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
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lol. As opposed to the nice, green, meadow it would be if there were fewer.

Anyway, this stuff is the reason I have never played in a WPT event.
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From:abostick59
Date:December 15th, 2005 09:54 pm (UTC)
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LOL, literally.
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From:1nvrknoz
Date:December 15th, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
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I was watching a WPT event last night (not sure which one) and I'm not sure if you heard it on the rail but Doyle Brunson was reffering to you and made a comment about the only one with personality wasn't playing.
From:tipperdog
Date:December 16th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)

Our complaints diverage a bit

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I feel roughly the same way although our complaints might diverge a bit.

Pray tell (just for curiosity's sake), how do your complaints diverge?
From:bigdmcgee
Date:December 16th, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC)

I was wondering..

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What exactly would they have to change for your continued participation in the WPT?

On another note, those David the Dragon and Carlos commercials were absurd. I could not believe what I was seeing, so amazingly bigoted. Pham is an amazing poker player, and all those spots made him seem like a fool. I don't know what WW 2 propagandist the WPT has making their commercials, but they should be ashamed.
From:jedl
Date:December 16th, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC)

Good decision

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I think you guys are making a very good decision and especially if you all stick together the WPT will relent. IIRC, not only is the consent agreement very obviously way too broad, but the WPT encourages/enforces very aggressive blind structures towards the end of tournament and forbids deals at the final table (although how that squares with Habib/Lee is an interesting question). It's sort of like three strikes and you are out.

Unless they add a significant amount of cash to the final table, the WPT is very clearly way out of line.

It seems odd to me that they are being hard core about this. They really ought to relax a little bit. It's sort of like they are taking the lead of the MPAA and asserting what they believe they are their rights despite the obvious negative impact to their business. It is a competitive business (ESPN, Fox, NBC) and you need friends in a competitive business. They don't seem to be earning them.

And I don't really see a problem with the $25k final in April. But here is an idea. When you make the final table with a monster chip lead, agree to do the interviews. But in those interviews don't say anything that isn't about your views of the weaknesses of the WPT and the ways in which they need to change. And if they encourage table talk at the final table, only engage in table talk about WPT policies. You might not tilt the other players, but you'll definitely tilt the WPT!

Anyway, good luck, and I hope you guys prevail, because the WPT broadcasts are usually much better than the ESPN ones (at least they were when they had Shana Hiatt, and not this Stepford Wife).
From:andy_ward_uk
Date:December 16th, 2005 11:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Good decision

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The problem is that the 50 best players (if anyone could agree who those were, but bear with me) could walk out but the poker on display would still be 90% as good to the cognoscenti and absolutely indistinguishable to the majority of viewers.

Get a few of the "new generation" to act like buffoons (shouldn't be hard) and the product would be just as marketable.

Andy.
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From:jill_idle
Date:December 17th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
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There's Poker. There's TV. Poker isn't big enough to dictate anything to TV. There will always be more poker players and characters out there. And the WPT can make it's own new stars at will.

Here's a wacky idea for PaulP. Start your own show. A special invitational series, or open to all, whatever you like. You get to be dictator as executive producer. Make it right. Produce it yourself and sell it to anyone one of the various netoworks and channels just begging for decent poker content.

Oh, and hire me to do the website. ;)
From:more_onions
Date:December 17th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
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Bloch mentions that Chris Ferguson is also abstaining from WPT Events. Did he cite the same reasons? Just curious.
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From:cavmn
Date:December 20th, 2005 04:14 am (UTC)

re: Chris Ferguson

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http://www.cardsquad.com/2005/12/19/pros-unhappy-with-wpt/

"...the player the WPT may miss the most is 2000 World Series of Poker Champion Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. I caught Chris a few minutes before a tournament last Thursday, and he told me, "The release has gotten worse over time, and I simply can't sign it." He explained that the WPT release is so broad, it asks for rights Chris is not legally able to relenquish. "I have business deals that prevent me signing this release," He said."
From:pokulator
Date:December 21st, 2005 11:11 am (UTC)

poker union

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paul, do you think that there is currently a need for a poker players association or union?

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From:davidjacob
Date:December 23rd, 2005 02:26 am (UTC)

Hope this doesn't get buried...

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Did you see Steve Lipscomb's "open letter" response? I received it via email today.
From:pokerbully
Date:December 24th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC)

How many lawyers does it take?

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I think this is a great example of why it's impossible to give an attorney a standard form without them trying to mark it up. Everyone of them thinks they can write it better and find all kinds of wild ass examples of what can go wrong.

If any of these players would show the release to their attorneys or the other companies they have deals with, they would figure out that this uprising is all for nothing.
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From:extempore
Date:December 24th, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC)

Re: How many lawyers does it take?

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Do you seriously believe that chris ferguson (PhD holder, extremely successful tournament player, lover of the game, and generally thoughtful person) is declining to play in most of the largest poker tournaments over a non-issue? You must have quite a high opinion of your situation assessment abilities.
From:pokerbully
Date:December 27th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC)

Re: How many lawyers does it take?

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Let me put it another way. Has Chris Ferguson taken a copy of the agreement to his attorney and shared it with the attorneys of the companies he has agreements with? Or did he just take Andy Bloch's word for it? It seems like Daniel Negreaneau handled the situation the best.

The sponsors of Chris may have a problem with some of the language in the agreement, but they would be crazy to tell him it's in his best interests not to play. The only way their client gets exposure is by making final tables of televised poker events. Now I realize there are a lot more to choose from now than 3 years ago, but the World Poker Tour still makes up a substantial percentage.

Plus the World Poker Tour has yet to seriously abuse their legal rights in any situation I have heard of. Apparently there was a disagreement about a banner ad promoting their online gaming site, but it was taken down right away. Are the poker players unwilling to give the "Golden Goose" the benefit of the doubt that they will be reasonable in their future promotions?
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From:extempore
Date:December 27th, 2005 06:35 pm (UTC)

Re: How many lawyers does it take?

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I guess I'll just reiterate that if you think you can assess the situation better than chris can then you have a very high opinion of yourself. Me, I'll go with the super smart and thoughtful guy who is staking his livelihood on it over the third-party observer who doesn't know any of the details.
From:pokulator
Date:December 28th, 2005 03:40 am (UTC)

Re: How many lawyers does it take?

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do you think a union or players association could solve these problems? i know that change can happen if players stick together and boycott, but there will always be those willing to play against a diluted field for personal gain. i feel that the WPT needs the stars AT LEAST as much as the stars need the WPT and if the players unite they can easily bring about the necessary changes. i won't pretend to know all of the facts about this issue, but i do know that every major sport has a union and if professional poker players want to protect their rights they must stick together in some organized manner.