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World Series of Poker -- Tournament Director Jack Effel Talks About A Successful Start To The Summer

Effel Discusses Millionaire Maker Event and Dealer Procedure Changes


Jack EffelJack Effel is the Vice President of International Poker Operations for Caesars Interactive Entertainment and has been the Tournament Director for the World Series of Poker since 2007.

In 2013 he was added to the Tournament Directors Association Board of Directors. Effel is widely credited as being one of the key parts of the growth and development of one of poker’s most prestigious events, bringing the WSOP into the modern era.

Card Player will be checking in with Effel throughout the summer to bring you his thoughts on the poker world’s greatest tournament festival.

Beth Davis: So, Jack has anything crazy happened yet in this year’s series or is there anything on your mind?

Jack Effel: It’s been a pretty calm series so far. One of the things I made a pact to myself was that I would try to resolve any outstanding issues that would arise up front. I want to make this the best experience possible for everyone coming to the World Series of Poker. There are a lot of little things that come up, from the lines, to various procedures in the tournaments, regulating the air conditioning and designating a different smoking area.

BD: As far as events go, have there been any issues you’ve come across that needed your assistance?

JE: Something that stood out today, for example, occurred in the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event with the structure. During the first round, the button in all of the stud games must ante 75. Well if you look at the way that the structure is set up if you start at the top of the rotation at hold’em, you play eight hands of hold’em and eight hands of Omaha. So if you manage to get to the stud round within the first hour the person on the button just posted the big blind, the small blind and now he has to post the 75 ante.

We decided that we needed a way to be able to not affect that person three hands in a row, being caught under the gun especially in a game where you get 4,500 in chips. Every chip counts and every level counts. So we realized we needed to reset the button. Well, resetting the button is one thing, but being able to remember where the button should be when you get back to the flop games is something different. So what we decided to do was, when we get to the stud game we would use a different button. We have the all-in buttons on the table so the person to ante will be the person in the eighth seat or the person to the immediate left and that’s where the antes will start. That way when it gets back to the flop games the button stays where it was originally at and then the blinds can continue where they left off. That was something that was correctable for the players and made 800 people very happy.

Something else that some of the players were concerned about in the split games was when the dealer stacked the pot. Dealers have been trained to stack throughout the hand. Well players don’t like that because it distracts them from what’s going on. They’d rather have the pot stacked later. Originally, we had said we’d stack at showdown. That way it doesn’t detract from play and that way it doesn’t cause any confusion in the game. The dealer can pay attention to the winning hand, but that kind of slowed down the game too much. So then we decided that when the last card hits, the dealer can start stacking the pot. By the time the winner is determined the pot is split, they can push the pot and move on to the next hand. Players were very happy that we made that change as well.

BD: What are your thoughts on the Millionaire Maker event earlier this week?

JE: The Millionaire Maker and that day was probably the highlight so far in the first ten days. Just the number of players that were here, over 5,000 unique people participated in that event out of the 6,300. Yes, the lines were long but wow what a big event. It was like starting the main event all in one day. Craziest single day we’ve ever had in the WSOP of all the years I’ve been doing this. The team did a great job working together. I hope the players had a great experience. Of course, Benny Chen is a pretty happy guy with $1.2 million extra dollars in his pocket. It was a great moment.

BD: Any last comments you want to add regarding the series so far?

JE: One of the things I’m most proud of is that we’ve started the series on a very good note and we’re working hard on being responsive to the issues that are coming up from the players. They’re playing events and having a good experience and when players are having a good experience it makes us feel like we’re doing our job.

Obviously, the WSOP is a beast. It requires continuous maintenance and supervision. You have to be able to make judgment calls, think quickly and put out fires. It’s all about the player experience, making this WSOP the best we can. If there are things that we can do then we’re going to do that. Things that we cannot control we’re going to try to avoid, but when they happen we’re going to be right there to try and resolve them as soon as possible. All in all it’s been a great series, great numbers, a lot of buzz in the air, a lot of crazy live action and open face Chinese everywhere. Just a really cool vibe. It’s that time of year that you can walk around the halls of the Rio or you can walk through the tournament room and you feel the excitement and what the WSOP is all about. I’m very proud of what everyone has done here and very appreciative of all the support from the players.

For complete coverage of the summer poker festival, check out our WSOP landing page.



over 8 years ago

If he is so smart, why doesn't he hire floormen that can make a correct decision?