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Guest Blog: TV Or The Game?

by Matt Glantz |  Published: Jan 24, '12


David BachThis will be the first in a series of guest blogs on by valued members of the poker community who possess information or insight they desire to share for the benefit of the collective audience. Any poker player who wants their voice to be heard, feel free to email me at So long as your writing is in good taste and serves a purpose to the community, I will gladly post it on my website. It is my hope this site can be an outlet for those of you who find the forums a bit unfocused and occasionally frustrating. I feel this will be an extremely positive endeavor and thank you in advance for your submissions.

This blog entry was written by my friend and constant competitor in the high stakes mixed games, David Bach. David is the 2009 WSOP $50k H.O.R.S.E. Champion and the 2010 Aussie Millions H.O.R.S.E. Champion. Not only has David been absolutely crushing high stakes mixed games as of late, but he is one of the nicest guys in the games at all times. You can usually find David playing at the Aria in Las Vegas wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses. He never goes unnoticed.

TV or the Game? ­­­

My name is David Bach, and I have been a professional poker player for 15 years. I started as a poker pro in 1996 after graduating with a degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia. I did not really play tournaments regularly until 2005, but did go to the WSOP a few different years. I come from a home game background in Georgia. As I have had success in the past few years, I have run into a number of situations where the integrity of the tournament has been compromised by a conflict with the interests of television. This has really been bothering me for the past few years, and I want to be the person to stand up and say something.

Incident #1: At this years WSOP main event I made a very deep run, resulting in 45th place. This year ESPN decided to film all the outer tables once we got to like the middle of Day 4. They used portable film crews and pocket cameras to capture the hole cards. This may be good for TV, but caused massive delays in the play of the tournament.

Every time a big pot developed, the dealer was instructed to halt the action, and wait for the film crews to come over. Even worse, the turn and river were slowrolled for maximum drama. Some players were guilty of hamming it up for the cameras, and this made play even slower. At one point we played 4 hands in one dealer change. Thats right, 4 hands in 30 minutes!! The result of all this was losing precious hands in the most important tournament of the year. We are only playing for 8.5 Million to the winner, and last time I checked all of that prize money is 100% funded by the players.

Incident #2: This is from the Pokerstars PCA Main Event in the Bahamas. The 2nd biggest 10k event of the year, and a must attend for tournament players.

In the middle of Day 1 our table was broken. I went to table 39, and then found out that was the TV table. I rushed over to my table. When I got to the stage I prepared to take my seat, only to be told by the floorman that I had to exit the stage and come in the way the TV production people wanted. This is clearly wrong, and I said so politely but emphatically. It is very clear in the rules that you are supposed to report to your new seat as soon as your table breaks. The floorman insisted, and not wanting a big fight or a penalty I complied. I wound up missing 1-2 free hands that I was entitled to by tournament rules. I have since told this story to 4-5 fellow professional players and they were shocked.

Incident #3: In 2008 I made the final table of a WSOP 1k NLH event with a then record of 3929 players. Due to the size of the field, it was going to be tough to complete the event in the scheduled 3 days. This event was scheduled to have the final table on ESPN. I was one of the first players to notice the potential problem. At around 10 pm of day 2, I questioned the floor staff as to what they were going to do. They replied ”play until the final 9 like the structure sheet says”. The final table was scheduled for 3 pm the next day, and could not be moved. Uh Oh. So around 3 am, we reached the 13 hour mark, and the scheduled stop of play. One problem, there were still 4 tables left. So we kept playing, as many players complained very loudly. Finally after 6 am we reached 2 tables and the tournament staff decided to halt the day. Here is the real injustice, they made us come back at 2 pm the next day.

An example of why this was so wrong. At the final table, an 50 year old Amateur, in what I am sure was the biggest poker moment of his life, misread his hand and went all-in with what he thought was a flush draw. I cannot be sure this was due to being tired, but it sure seems likely.

I do commend the WSOP and Jack Effel for recognizing this problem and now employing hard stop times of 3 am.

Ok. I do not want to seem bitter. I am very lucky to be a professional poker player. I love my job and my life. I also understand that television and media provide great exposure that leads to a lot of new money entering the poker economy. I also want to praise great people in the industry like Jack Effel, Matt Savage, and all the people at Epic Poker (who are running an almost perfect first class operation). I also want to thank all the floorpeople and dealers who do such a great job during the year. Almost every time when these problems occur, you are just following your job description.

However, I have noticed a trend in the past 4-5 years where the game of poker itself is placed second in priority behind TV production, and this is just plain wrong. I think now is the time to speak up and speak out for myself and my fellow poker players.

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Poker pro Matt Glantz has demonstrated high-stakes versatility by becoming the World Series’ most consistent performer in big money mixed-game tournaments. Since 2008, he has made four WSOP final tables in mixed-game events with buy-ins of $10,000 to $50,000. He has also earned a reputation as one of the top mixed-game cash game players.

Glantz is answering Card Player reader questions about mixed-game poker strategy. Readers can email Matt questions direct to and also should check out his website for more strategy and updates from the tournament trail.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


over 10 years ago

Great information. It sounds as if things are trying to move in the right direction. How do you stop action?? What if someone calls the clock? Do they get a 10 minute clock due to the TV crew being tied up at another table? Even with a decent blind structure you dont want to be playing at a 8 hand per hour pace ... unreal. But poker players have a saying about 'not tapping the glass' and golfers sure aren't complaining about having $1 million up for grabs almost 45 weeks a year now ... TV drives the money, but they should be well aware of damaging the product along the way for sure!!


over 10 years ago

What does the amount of money available to golf players have to do with poker.There isn't any money being added to prize funds by corporations in the poker world.

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