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2009 WSOP Media Conference Call Live Blogging

2009_wsop Last year we vowed to never do this "live blogging" thing again, but if there's one thing we learned from the Celebrity Apprentice, it's this: always give something a second chance.

The 2009 WSOP media conference call takes place today at 1pm EST (10am PST). We'll be on it, live blogging away.

Stay tuned...

7:50am PST: Finishing up post about live blogging today's conference call.

7:51am PST: Flushing toilet...

9:39am PST: All right, gearing up for the call. Any questions you might want to hear asked, please leave in the comments section. Here are some questions though we are definitely NOT asking: 1) Will the prize money given be soaked in blood? 2) Will Russ Hamilton's invitation to the Tournament of Champions be "lost in the mail"? (actually, may ask that one), 3) Do you anticipate Phill Hellmuth or Brad Garrett even being able to play a full event given the new Code of Conduct rules? 4) Will strippers be allowed back at the Pokerpalooza convention?

9:54am PST: Just remembered that last year forgot to write-down what we needed to do to ask a question. Mental note: write down instructions for submitting a question this year.

9:56am PST: Be sure to hit pokerati.com after the call for a full audio download.

9:58am PST: Dialed in. This hold music feels like we're all attending a funeral. Ok, now it's a muzaky/Scott MacIntyre sounding version of "One More Night" from...Phil Collins, right? Cause Iiiiiiiii can't wait forevvverrr!

10:02am PST: The call is running a few minutes late. Actually, we're off. And wrote down how to submit a question!

10:07am PST: Pollack says the headline for today's call is that this is the best ever year to play in the WSOP. He's reviewing the $40k NLH event, the Champions Invitational (the winner will receive the newly created Binion Cup, no word yet if Russ Hamilton got his invite for this one), and the Pokerpoolaza event. There will also be a new Hall of Fame process to make it more legit, plus the public will be involved in the voting process. Hopefully basketball follows suit so we don't get more obscure foreign players or mediocre college coaches inducted into that one.

10:14am PST: This new addition is cool: every day at 2pm there will be a formal "bracelet ceremony" for whoever won the previous day (or morning's) tournament. So just in case you wanted to honor this year's Gerry Drehobl, well, now you'll get your chance daily at 2pm.

10:16am PST: Jack Effel is now talking. You'll get triple the starting chips (vs. double like last year) for each tournament. This was done to benefit better players and ensure more stacked final tables/less random winners (see: Drehobl, Gerry).

10:18am PST: Last year's call was at 11am. So a quick thanks to Pollack and crew for moving it an hour earlier so those of us on the West Coast won't have to miss Maurey Povich, especially because today is a paternity test/DNA episode. Andrew, you are NOT the father!

10:19am PST: Effel just said something about "role playing" in some seminar. Since he didn't follow that with the names "Lacey Jones" or "Liv Boeree," not sure if that is something we want to be involved with.

10:22am PST: ESPN will be airing fewer event, but the same amount of hours, plus about 2 1/2 hours of the final table.

10:24am PST: Sweet, more Taylor Makakoa pics.

10:30am PST: Open to Q&A...first question is regarding getting more women, a women, involved in tournament play. Really? What's the point? Seriously? Why even bother? A dude asked the question too. Maybe he's just looking for more dead money. Pollack gets in a good closing shot saying, "We want more women playing...unless it's Joan Rivers."

10:35am PST: Pre-registrations are up this year, surprisingly. Not "drastically" up but up. Given The EconomyTM, that's a good sign. Although this AP guy wants the number. Don't give him the damn number, Seth! Why are you buzzkilling the good news, Oscar from the AP? Why?

10:38am PST: Oscar from the AP is just hogging the phone. One question and move on, man! Come on! Oscar is four questions deep now. Leave some for the rest of us...

10:39am PST: Oscar now on question 5...if Oscar and Phil Hellmuth ever had to compete with each other for camera time, someone may die.

10:44am PST: Rates as low as $69 mid-week for the WSOP. Hey, book your hotel rooms here.

10:47am PST: Another question bogarter. This guy is three deep. Somewhere Gary Wise is like, "Wtf! I have 47 questions ready to go and you a-holes are taking all of them!"

10:51am PST: Celebrity Apprentice keeps coming up in questions and answers. Pollack says what a great group poker players are in general. Agreed, save for maybe this guy and this guy.

10:53am PST: So for those playing the "Guess Who Annie Duke Was Yelling At..." game, it was not Brian Balsbaugh (go three tweets down) or Jeffrey Pollack (confirmed via our question on the call).

11:03am PST: Interesting and haven't really heard this brought up much, but someone asked whether or not the rebuy event was KO'd do to the collusion that was taking place. It was? Effel didn't really deny it, but did say that it was done more to create a level playing field.

11:05am PST: Has a woman, a woman, asked a question on this call yet? Don't think so. Amy Calistri, you out there? Haley?

11:08am PST: Got Kev Math's question in re: live streaming, the answer is "yes, but hasn't been finalized yet."

11:18am PST: Concluding...only 29 days away from the start...follow the WSOP has twitter @WSOPliveupdates and via @JeffreyPollack. Be sure you know the tweeting rules at the table, definitely when hands are in play.

And there you have it. Go to pokerati.com for the audio. Should be posted shortly.

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Kevin Mathers


I probably was going off last year's figures to come up with the 295 figure, so am glad they're planning for more tables this year. I don't know why they're making this log private, I'd have thought they'd want the poker community to see that they really are trying to crack down on bad behavior.

Since players are supposed to need a Total Rewards card, and show ID, it shouldn't be that hard to identify someone, it's not like John Smith is going to work.

The bracelet ceremony is a good idea, although maybe Jeffrey doesn't want to stay up that late to give someone a bracelet and would rather wait until a decent hour to do the proceedings.

Re: The Champions Invitational, how many of those 25 (Brunson and Chan get counted twice to make it 27) are balancing appearing on TV vs. winning a 1970 Corvette and a trophy? Anyways, this response belongs over on Pokerati, bring on the hot chicks!


I was there, listening to someone named "Chops" going double-dippy on the questions himself and not mentioning it! And BJ, too. We had a long and detailed interview with Jack a few weeks ago and what they talked about today didn't open up much truly new ground (though there were interesting details here and there), so I sat here and enjoyed the largely mainstream questions. Sometimes it's instructive to see what others with different viewpoints target as the areas of greatest interest.

I do admit to chuckling at the thought of trying to track minor penalties for many dozens of unknown players, many of whom are likely to be uncooperative. Made me go look up this as a possible solution:



One possible correction to what Kev posted -- I think Jack said 306 total tables in there, but I have to go replay the file to be sure. I think that's also still tentative based on installing some of the peripheral structures.


***I'm surprised at the lack of questions from the poker media this year***

LOL, maybe that's why it was actually good this year.

I usually don't join in the press conference fray, but kinda wished I had this year, when I realized it was being more informative than promotional. (still promotional, of course, but not as much as usual.)

P.S. I'm not used to having semi-intelligent convo in this space. Couldn't this live-blogging have been brought to us by someone hot and semi-naked?

Kevin Mathers

Did last year's Gaming and Life Expo have strippers, I thought they were gone after 2007?

Since Russ is a Main Event Champion, he surely will get an invitation. Will he show up and the reception he gets depends upon Dave Farra tagging along to interview him as he ambles into the Rio.

Harrah's allegedly has hired a former Party Gaming executive to handle the WSOP.com site among other duties, they seem to be optimistic that Barney Frank's bill (to come out next week) means that the UIGEA may magically disappear in the somewhat near future.



It seemed like we could have asked as many questions as we wanted, but I didn't think the answers were forthright so I didn't see a point (and I was trying to be quiet because my sister just put her baby down for a nap in the next room). Next year I think we should get NVG in on the call.

Some others that didn't get asked:

Will the pokerpalooza accept strip club exhibitors again this year?

When does the WSOP anticipate entering the online poker market in the US?

Was Russ Hamilton invited to the tournament of champions and if by some remote chance he accepted, would he be welcome by the WSOP?

Kevin Mathers


"May" sounds like "will" in the situation given. And how can the poker media get two questions a person, when some guy from AP gets to rattle them off at will?

Kevin Mathers

Thx for using my question, although I've got a feeling that "finalized" = coming up with the money to pay for it.

BJ Nemeth

I'm surprised at the lack of questions from the poker media this year. I think Amy Calistri was at her day job, but where was Gary Wise and the rest?

I put in my question late, and my question was second in line. (Did I get bumped for some reason?) I clearly wasn't prepared, because I had just been chasing our two barking dogs around the house trying to get them to shut up.

Both Chops and I got in two questions each. I'm beginning to wonder if anybody else will be covering the WSOP this year ...


I thought that Jack basically dodged my “collusion in the rebuy events” question by saying that they were removed to level the playing field and that they had no place in the WSOP as opposed to talking about what has really been going on in years past.

Then when I asked if it was fair to impose penalties differently for different players he contradicted himself by saying that all rules would be enforced the same for all players. But, earlier in the press conference when talking about enforcing penalties he said he may hand out different penalties depending on the experience of the players involved. He gave an example that he would give someone with little WSOP experience a warning for acting out of turn on a hand and a WSOP veteran would get a one hand penalty for the same infraction because he knows that the veterans are aware of the rules. This subjectivity may cause a repeat of some of the inconsistencies in past WSOP rule enforcement.


Wow ... that very last bit where ESPN pimped their own online poker site ... kinda shot all the air out of what was otherwise a good teleconference, no?

Kevin Mathers

Are they going to "plump up" the prize pool for the November Nine again?

Kevin Mathers

I don't think Pollack and company can answer this question from Gary: "What do you think of Tom Dwan and Phil Galfond's chances of winning a bracelet this year?"

Kevin Mathers

I assume Jack mentioned in during the call, but again, no alternates this year (unless they've changed their minds).

The Entities

Kev, thanks for filling in some of the blanks here. Appreciate it.

Kevin Mathers

I believe they've mentioned 295 tables, so max is 2950 per day or 5900.


Has the AP guy now asked 6 different questions? Way to let the poker media get their Q&A time in.


What is the cap going to be on the Stimulus event? Do you expect people to be able to buy in on Saturday for Day 1b?

Kevin Mathers

The role playing is probably Hellmuth and/or Scotty Nguyen at the "Handling Challenging Situations" with Training seminar on May 24th .

Kevin Mathers

They have mentioned earlier this year that there would be a log book of penalties given to players during the entire WSOP.

A more random bracelet winner from 2008: Jimmy "James" Shultz


"dealer role play"? i think i just threw up in my mouth...


Kev -- that's actually a great point. Most of the names will probably be those that people see from TV and that's it...Come on Alex Outhred!


I hope they bring red cards into the mix with all this enforcement talk from Effel.

Kevin Mathers

Did they also mention the winner's supposed to get a car? The public does get a say in the process, but can the poker community come up with 10 names that are worthy of HOF status?

Kevin Mathers

Question for them:

Will there be Internet streaming of other tournaments this year besides the two bracelet events and two special events airing on ESPN?

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