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2011 WSOP Schedule Q & A: Frank Kassela

Double Bracelet Winner from Last Summer Talks About 2011 Schedule


Frank KasselaThe 2011 World Series of Poker schedule was released this past Monday, providing official details on the 42nd running of poker’s richest annual tournament series.

At the 2010 WSOP, long-time poker player Frank Kassela won two bracelets en route to capturing the summer’s Player of the Year honors. The Chicago native took down the $10,000 seven-card stud eight-or-better championship and the $2,500 razz event, as well as final tabling the $25,000 shorthanded event.

Card Player caught up with the tournament circuit grinder to talk about the recently-released WSOP schedule and his plans for the summer.

Brian Pempus: What were your first reactions when you saw the 2011 WSOP schedule?

Frank Kassela: Same as the last four or five years: ‘Holy cow that’s expensive!’ and I cant wait for the series to start. When the series starts the day you really look forward to is the day you are finally done — its exhausting. Then the day after it’s over you are really looking forward to the day they publish the new schedule. I mean literally the next week or so you are already focused on next year, and then when the schedule is published you start counting the days until it’s time to ‘shuffle up and deal.’ Overall it looks like a really exciting schedule, and I can’t wait!

BP: Is there anything missing that you wish the WSOP would have added for this upcoming summer?

FK: You can always point out something missing if you are a player, like me, who likes to play every variation of poker that’s out there. But the folks running the show over there are doing a super job year after year of incorporating new stuff. I think it looks great.

BP: What are your thoughts on the $25,000 heads-up championship? You final tabled the $25,000 shorthanded event last summer. Are you disappointed to see it done away with?

Frank KasselaFK: The $25,000 heads-up will be fun, but I would have really rather had the $25,000 six-max event again. I guess they are really trying to compete with the NBC National Heads-Up Championship, but I’m not sure it can be done. I loved the six max. It was terrifying, but I loved it.

BP: What are your thoughts on the $50K Players Championship moving to the end of the series? Do you think it is too close to the main event? Did you play in this event last year? Will you play in this event in 2011?

FK: The first few years of the $50,000 event we were playing it on Fathers Day, approximately three weeks in. I did not play last year because I played the $40,000 the year before and the pressure to cash — luckily I did — was so intense. Who wants to open the series with that giant of a negative number? I put myself into events, so it gets expensive. I decided to skip that and ease myself into the series [this past summer]. In retrospect I really wish I had played, but I’m not complaining about how my series turned out.

BP: Which events on the schedule are you excited about? There are 10 $10,000 buy-in events this year. Are you happy about this? Do you prefer the smaller, elite fields?

FK: I always enjoy playing in the large buy-in events the most. We have 10 $10,000 tournaments, a $25,000, and a $50,000. In addition to the big events I always like to play the razz event, and I am really looking forward to the 10-game mix this year. I am one of the regular players in the cash game at Aria, and that is a good chunk of the games we play over there every day. I don’t know if I necessarily prefer the big buy-in events because of the small elite fields as much as I love forms of poker that are not no-limit Texas hold em. If you play even a small part of the tournament circuit you get your fill of no-limit hold’em pretty quick. The series is the one time all the players come together in one spot, and we can actually run a $10,000 buy-in seven-card stud eight-or-better and Omaha eight-or-better event. It’s awesome!

BP: Do you have any thoughts about the “hard stop time” of 3 a.m. and the registration window for all events (except the main event) lasting four levels of play?

Frank KasselaFK: I am a big fan of hard start and stop times. I like tournaments to always start on time. I think four levels is too long to allow late buy-ins. I believe that two levels in is plenty, but it will allow us to play a few extra events this year. However, I hate the feeling that the event isn’t really under way until hour five. I like having hard stops for meals, because if you live in Las Vegas it’s nice to have hard meal times so your family can plan on joining you for dinner.

BP: How many events do you anticipate playing in this upcoming summer’s WSOP? Have you thought about your schedule yet?

FK: I usually try to play as many events as I possibly can. I once made three final tables in 24 hours at a circuit stop in Tunica, so I don’t mind double or triple dipping when necessary. I will definitely play all 12 big buy-in events, plus the 10-game mix and the razz. I am guessing I will end up playing at least 10 additional events.

BP: Will you have any bracelet bets this year?

FK: Well, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, and I have a year-long prop going on all mutually-played events. They play a whole lot more events together than I play, but during the series we will all be grinding all day so the tally could get big fast for anyone running hot. I’m not sure at this point if I will add just pure bracelet bets to the mix, but if the number is right you can’t turn down a good bet.

Poker fans can follow Kassela via his twitter and his blog.