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Reactions, Details on WSOP Final Table Date Change

A Conference Call Took Place Today Outlining Changes

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Today, Harrah’s announced it will delay the final table of the World Series of Poker main event until November so that it can be broadcast on ESPN with only a two-hour delay.

Managers from the WSOP, ESPN, and Miller Brewing held a conference call today with members of the press to explain the reasoning behind this decision, and also to outline several changes that should improve the overall experience for this year’s players.

The change was given the blessings of the WSOP Player Advisory Council (PAC), which counts as members Daniel Negreanu, Tom Schneider, Robert Williamson III, and Jennifer Harman.

Pollack said the 16-week gap between the “end” of this summer’s WSOP and the main event’s conclusion in November will give the players an “unprecedented opportunity to capture the world’s attention” with the help of ESPN and the world’s media outlets. He believes it will help create buzz by giving poker fans the opportunity to speculate on who will win the main event while it’s being broadcast, instead of talking about who already won.

It will also give the players more time to secure endorsements for the final table, as well as line up poker coaches and study their opponents, not to mention rest up from the intense marathon of play that the WSOP main event is known for.

The main event starts in the Amazon Room at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas July 3. Players will play until July 14, the day the nine finalists will be determined. ESPN begins broadcasting its WSOP package July 22, which also marks the start of a large promotional campaign.

The players will then be flown back to the Rio by Harrah’s, and the final table will reconvene Monday, Nov. 9, when they will play down to two. The heads-up match will begin late on Nov. 10 (Pollack expects the champion to emerge in the wee hours of Tuesday, Nov. 11). The final-table play will be opened to the public. It’s not yet known where in the Rio it will take place.

Meanwhile, ESPN producers will be busy putting together the final-table broadcast, which will be aired in a three-hour special, starting at 9 p.m. ET on Nov. 11.

The final nine won’t be leaving Las Vegas without at least a portion of their paydays. All nine will receive ninth-place prize money on July 14. The rest of the final table payouts will be put in an interest-bearing account. The interest earned will be added to the final-table prize pool as a bonus.

A representative of WSOP partner Miller Brewing Co. said the company is cooking up a marketing plan centered around WSOP sponsor Milwaukee’s Best, the final nine players, and the WSOP, but no details were released. The ESPN representative said that not much will change with the look and feel of its broadcasts compared to recent years, but those final nine players will be heavily featured throughout. In what way they will be featured is still being determined.

Reactions from Players

Most of the players that spoke about the change today were cautiously optimistic that it will increase poker’s popularity, but some also expressed some major concerns about how the time off will change the WSOP forever.

Chad Brown believes the delay will help the amateurs the most. After all, they now have 16 weeks to beef up their game, maybe even hire poker coaches, before the prize money escalates into the stratosphere.

Former WSOP champion (2004) Greg Raymer agreed with Brown and had this to say about the change, through the PokerStars public relations agency:

“I am very torn over this proposal. It might be huge for the continued growth of poker, however, the downside is that this long gap allows the players to become completely different people between the time they make the final table and when they play it. You know that all nine will get coaching, and especially they will get coaching tailored to each of their eight opponents. If the chip leader is somebody you play against regularly, either online or at your local casino, of course I am going to come to you for advice.”

Daniel Negreanu, who sits on the WSOP Advisory Council and gave the WSOP his blessing, dedicated his newest CardPlayer.com blog entirely to the change. It can be found here.

Jamie Gold, the WSOP champ from 2006, who rode maybe one of the hottest heaters (both with his solid play and run of cards) when he won the WSOP, said he could see how it will be positive for poker, but also is bothered by how the change may effect the integrity of the tournament.

“It is supposed to be a mental marathon, and you aren’t supposed to get a break of several months in between. It changes the momentum. It gives people such a new perspective and time to regroup and strategize and plan,” Gold said. “It’s making it two separate events instead of one poker tournament, which I thought was part of the allure and the great competitive nature of the event.”

Tom Schneider, who also sits on the WSOP PAC and won the WSOP Player of the Year title last year, was all for the change.

“I think it is fantastic idea, and I can’t wait to make a final table like this. Two years ago, who came in fourth? You probably don’t remember. In this format, everyone who makes the final table will be remembered. They will get promoted properly and everyone will get the attention that they deserve for such an accomplishment,” he said. “I think that they are finally making a big enough deal out of this event. There will be a proper build-up to the most exciting poker tournament in the world. It is really going to put anyone who makes the final table on the poker map and in history.”

Bill Edler also thinks it’s a good idea.

“The main event is definitely the Super Bowl of our sport. It has been a little unfortunate before when people already knew who won, so it will be more exciting for average fans who are watching,” Edler said. “When I finished 23rd in the main event last year, I was exhausted. This will give players a chance to rest before play in the most import tournament of their life.”

On the other side of the coin, Max Pescatori thought the idea was so bad that he joked that he thought it was April 1, and not May 1 (today), that was supposed to be April Fool’s Day.

Other WSOP Changes

Pollack and WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel also went over several changes that players will see this year. They include:

  • The elimination of the poker tents. Rooms near the Amazon Room will be utilized instead, giving the WSOP the ability to seat 2,740 players at once.
  • There will be no more alternates.
  • Next week, a new code of conduct will be released. Among the issues that will be addressed is colluding.
  • Cell phones may only be used by players if they’re standing a full table-length from their table.
  • The cage is being moved out of the Amazon Room.
  • There will be no Internet broadcast of selected final tables, so all final tables will be opened to the public.

The WSOP starts May 30. On-site preregistration starts May 28.

 
 
 
 

Comments

PokerJoeK
13 years ago

This is COMPLETE BS!!! A few days break, MAYBE, several weeks and/or months is STUPID!!!

 
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OldBookGuy
13 years ago

It's all about the promotion and $$$$!

obg

 
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mikebcurve
13 years ago

At first I thought they were out of their minds.......but I can see the good and bad........I'll wait until I see how it turns out before I jump on the hate wagon. Maybe they should have tried it out as a special tourney before they used the Main Event as the test run but what do I know,lol

 
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pappyjackTX
13 years ago

i totally disagree with this change.i think it's being made for all the wrong reasons.what next? the $50,000. horse final table on new years eve?please someone come to your senses.why change a great poker event?

 
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pappyjackTX
13 years ago

the powers that be should be having a conference call about the terrible player behavior at the tables.enough of this "look at me" stuff and showing up other players.poker could use more class at the table's to encourage new comers to start playing and not be afriad of being exposed to all the abuse from some players.

 
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westcoastCJ
13 years ago

Mr.Cunningham is simply one of the most terrifying poker players of all-time. Every time I watch him, I marvel at his poise, patience and uncanny ability to read opponents. If I am making an all-time final NLH table, Mr.Cunningham is right in the middle of it all. If he can keep his motivation up, and at such a relatively young age still, there is no telling what this phenom will do over the course of an entire career. Congratulations Allen, you deserve it!

PS: I'd be curious to know who you subscribers would put at your all-time final table, please share and I will do the same next message.

 
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SevenKidsPoppy
13 years ago

Damn, son! After 16 WEEKS, it should be renamed "The Weird Series of Poker." There's nothing like messing up what has become an American institution. If they follow through with this, I don't want to hear any criticism of anything that comes out of Washington, D.C., because this out-stupids anything they've concocted of late. If the people who decide such things are convinced that extra promotional time would drum up more interest and therefore more players for the next Series, then 16 DAYS or three weeks tops would provide enough time to fly the players out, allow them to make personal appearances and research the other players' tendencies, and fly them back in. Consider the Super Bowl. By the middle of the second week of hype, football fans get antsy, start to complain about the extra week (singular), and are dying for the big game to get underway. After 16 weeks, it'll be an anticlimactic, "Dude, who gives a *** anymore?" yawn that will reduce interest both THROUGHOUT the main event ("Why keep up with this now when the final table won't be until after Hallowe'en?") and during the FINAL TABLE itself, which would take place out of the context of and several months past the World Series of which it is the theoretical climax. All the excitement and flow will be shot to hell. You know, it was UIGEA -- not the absence of a Rube Goldberg-like, freakazoid mockery of a hypefest period like this -- that caused last year's decline in Main Event players. Now that UIGEA is stale, moot, and pretty much demonstrated to be unenforceable, the number of Main Event entrants should increase again. Also, there are other tournaments going on during that period. Why conflict the players? A 16-week interruption would HURT POKER worse than UIGEA by extending to almost half a year the WSOP's shadow over the sport, thereby reducing interest in any other tournament that takes place in the interim while people are waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's a selfish, shortsighted move on the part of Harrah's; hurting other casinos and chains of casinos could only disrupt poker's flow and derail its growing popularity.

 
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SevenKidsPoppy
13 years ago

Grotesque detail: The original Main Event championship was to have been determined on July 17. It will now be determined on November 11. That is a gap of 117 days, two days short of 17 weeks, which is not the same as three months as Daniel says in his blog.

 
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GUMMO
13 years ago

What if someone dies between finale tables? This whole thing is a joke. Much like the coverage of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, poker these days is catering to the novice fans. Does Jennifer Tilly have to be on "Main Table" every year during the NHUC? NO! Does the WPT have to use the 'Turbo" blind structure only for their finale six? NO! I believe new rules like this will bring the end to T.V. poker tournaments and is going to fuel "true" poker fans to only watch cash game events.

Would anyone really want hear for three months on the background of Jerry Yangs EXCITING life leading up to the finale table!!

Give me a break

 
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ncantoral
13 years ago

I hope everyone realizes that by entering the MAIN EVENT of this years WSOP, you will be signing a CONTRACT that gives HARRA's and Miller Brewing the right to hold the final 9 player's WINNINGS until November. I just hope this gets into everyone's head. not only is there time for anyone of the nine players to DIE, go to JAIL, get PREGNANT, have a BABY, get SIOK, be DEPORTED, end up homeless, etc... etc...etc... but now you have the possibility that the winnings might not be there also. 4 months to hold what might be the worlds highest paying tournament of all time??? what guarentee is there that the money will still be there? will you sign an insurance contract also??? are you going to be able to use it as collatoral in the mean time? there are so many legal issues here. Also, this has the potential to be the highest paying tourny in history. 4 months is enough time for that money to be comprimised. I just hope this is sinking in to the heads of the lawyers... what if there is a DEAL reached by the players in the 4 months?? this is plenty of time for any of the 9 players to talk and talk about STRATEGY amongst themselves, and not just about how to beat someone else, but about how two or three of them can play together to maximize winnings... COLLUSION !!! I am talking about forming ALLIANCES... can we say REALITY show. I just hope the lawyers are ready and waiting. read the fine print please and don't forget to update your life insurance. not many millionaire virgins are treated like this publicly.

 
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KABA
13 years ago

The people who came up with this idea are totally retarded..

The only thing they care about is to make money out of poker tournaments and poker players.. We poker players deserve more respect.

 
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ncantoral
13 years ago

I agree with KABA... I want all the professional poker players to ask themselves a question.
why do you want to win the WSOP? the answer any of them will give you..."I will be remembered forever for winning it". this years WSOP winner will be the first to have 8 other names associated with it. the winner won't be the only name you remember in 2008 wsop. There is no prestige in that. I hate to break it to you, ESPN, WSOP and Miller Brewing... there is only ONE WINNER... NOT NINE !!

 
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elnino
13 years ago

One Word: DUMB

 
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redfan73
13 years ago

I couldn't get past this paragraph.........

'It will also give the players more time to secure endorsements for the final table, as well as line up poker coaches and study their opponents, not to mention rest up from the intense marathon of play that the WSOP main event is known for. '

That is the very reason the final table SHOULD NOT BE DELAYED!!!!!

The players didn't have the coaches nor did they have the opportunity to rest for more than one day between hitting the final table and starting final table play.

This is and will continue to be ridiculous and will never get my endorsement.

Oh and KABA..you are dead on!

 
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rfx55
13 years ago

I WILL NOT PLAY THE EVENT IF THEY KEEP THIS IDEA!!
hope no players show up.

 
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blackthirteen
13 years ago

Who's up for a 10 way chop? We get the cash and the 10 reconvene at any room in town or Maybe Reno and play it out at a 2-4 table in the back of the room. GET REAL WITH THIS CRAP.

 
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sdave001
13 years ago

Of course all the top poker pros are endorsing this idea - they stand to make hundreds of thousands of dollars coaching the final table players. People like Negreanu and any of the past winners know that many of the finalists will come to them and pay them top dollar to give them advice. So of course they are going to love this idea. Now even if THEY don't make the final table themselves they are guaranteed to make a ton of dough. This is a crock.

 
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pokerpro1078
13 years ago

i think this is crazy!amatuers that get there should have to play it out not go on a poker crash course and turn into totelly diff players .why change something so dramatically this tournement has been the same since the 70s .evryone pretty much covered all the possible peoblems ,its just bull in my opinoin why fix it if it isnt broken .its all about the way the almost mystical aura that goes with the w.s.o.p main event that will be changed and a whole diff fealing ,with so many possible integrity problems dont like it at all .you guys pretty much touched bass on evrything already just think this tarnishes the legandary tournament ,im actually very disapointed with this as most others i talk to are .

 
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cspnboy14
13 years ago

I find this change to be very disappointing. There are just way too many holes in this. Many of them have already been mentioned. Death, health issues, collusion, coaching, etc. and none of it is any good for the game, in my opinion. This removes the mental and physical stamina element from the tournament and that has always been a part of "glory" of winning or making the Final Table. I participated in a WSOP event last year and even after several hours of day one it was tough to stay focused.

At the end of the day, commercialism wins out. I agree that this nearly turns the Final Table into a reality show.

When I first saw the story I was hoping it was a joke. Sadly it isn't...

 
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coolpillow1959
13 years ago

pokerpro1078, go lay down somewhere, your like a pesty fly.

 
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calluch
13 years ago

What a fycking joke !!!! I will never play the WSOP main event again !!!

 
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southsideguy_
13 years ago

Let me get this straight. Harrahs and its partners get to make an extra buck, while the top 9 players who actually paid for this tournament out of their own pocket keep the same prize pool. Only they have to wait an extra 4 months to get what is already theirs. And this is what gets the blessing of the WSOP Player Advisory Council? Thanks, you guys are a big help.

 
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yru50
13 years ago

Come on guys. What the heck are you thinking? What other Major Championship is decided 16 WEEKS AFTER the event takes takes place? I would hope Harrahs, Mill Corp, and the "Pros" re-think this and DO THE RIGHT THING. Keep it the way Doyle and the boys expect it to be played out.

 
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Damaru
13 years ago

Ridiculous! The intention is to "capture the worlds attention" and to create a buzz. The "buzz" must come from their apparent use of substances because how else can you reconcile their coming to this conclusion? What a gimmick!!! I am actually embarrassed for them and for Card Player for obviously skewing their article in favor of this fiasco. I would bet more players are of Max Pescatori's opinion than not. This is not going to give poker the attention it deserves. On the brighter side maybe ESPN will be nominated for an Emmy for this along side Survivor and The Amazing Race! I think I am going to be sick!!!

 
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gwmurphy
13 years ago

It is all about promotion and $$$ obviously not the integrity of the game. Poker would still be more popular if it wasn’t so hard to play online and all the negative press that had been getting. It’s sad that “We the People” can’t even get this issue resolved!! It sounds like the big corporations are trying to get around that fact by trying to create there own mini support by parading around the people of the final table? When if they really wanted the support of the whole world, they should work on the issues at hand.

 
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kevinjack888
13 years ago

Don't really agree with the long wait time, but if it was something like one week later maybe that would be a little more reasonable. If poker was bigger, then ESPN would have slotted the tourni a lot earlier. Unfortunately, the committee is really at the mercy of the broadcaster and they probably didn't have much negotiation power to push it earllier. Nice try Negronu, great idea in general, but the wait time is just too long and all the exciting and life of the tourni will have already died. Next tourni please...

 
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vinhdog
13 years ago

If I pay 10K into an event and make it to the final table, I want to get paid my winnings right away, not 4 months later. Who knows, what if something happens to a person who is in the final table during that 4 month wait. If he/she passes away, then what?

 
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ALLin2k5
13 years ago

HORRIBLE! I'm a professional player who recently made a Final Table in the EPT San Remo, Italy tournament. From this I can tell you that playing several days in succession gets you into a "zone." It's a feeling you only get by doing it, by being there. I could not imagine if I were to have to fly back to Italy to play. I would lose all focus, I would likely forget the little things, the motivation, my heart, and I just wouldn't be in the zone. The flow of the game is destroyed by this gap.
I think it's cool that they have good intentions here, but this just came out of nowhere. First they take Binion's completely out of it, now this? They are ruinning the game and making a joke out of it. I'm still going to play for the love of the game, but I believe this move will do more harm then good overall.

I firmly believe if it came down to a vote of all registered players on day 1's, it would be a land-slide decision to play it out. This game is about the players, not Daniel Neganeau's or anyone else's elitist attitude about how they believe things should change. When you change things that are classic, they are ruined.. and this could ruin the best tournament in the world.

 
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BLAngel
13 years ago

This is a great idea, I think they should do the same thing for the Boston Marathon, they could run the last mile 4 months later to give the runner a chance to rest up. The Indy 500 could run the last lap on Christmas day when everyone is home and can watch.
The point of having a Marathon is to see who can stay focused all the way to the end.

 
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CheScuba
13 years ago

16 Weeks??? The horse racing triple crown is decided in 5 weeks. The idea of a break is not without merit and a live broadcast of the final table is an excellent idea. But 16 weeks? Way too long. How about 1 week? If ESPN is the problem, shop it around. VS, Discovery, Fox Sports, Travel come to mind.

 
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ACE2GRIND
13 years ago

DONT WORRY. NONE OF YOU BITCHES WILL BE THERE ANYWAY. WHY HAS POKER TURNED INTO A CRY BABY GAME. THERE ARE BOTH PROS AND CONS OF THIS IDEA. IF YOU ALL WANT TO POST COMMENTS THEN GO ON TO YOUR LOCAL STATE GOV. PAGE AND COMMENT ON HOW THIS COUNTRY IS GOING TO S*&T. FUEL COST, FOOD PRICES, UNEMPLOYMENT, PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES. GET A LIFE. JUST PLAY CARDS AND SHUT THE FU&K UP!!!!!!!!!!

 
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seanhooks
13 years ago

This is, in just about every conceivable way, completely against the spirit of competition that poker is supposed to foster. It makes a joke of the game. If they don't rescind this I hope they get burned every way possible. What if Matusow makes the final table but gets thrown back in jail during the interim? What if Doyle makes the final table only to die during the 16 weeks? This is a disgrace of sickening proportions. How about the Celtics and Lakers make the NBA finals but then we delay the series until Labor Day weekend to get everybody rested up and to promote the event? Think about all the things competition is supposed to be about. Momentum is right at the top of the list. The biggest reason for this whole poker boom right now is Chris Moneymaker. He caught fire and played his butt off for a short period of time. You think he would have won if they had this long a lay-off to start the final table? The ridiculous justification and self-seeking of Harrah's and a handful of 'superstar' pros will ruin this great game if this is allowed to occur.

 
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white_rogue
13 years ago

Actually everyone missed the most powerful thing the players can do to stop this from happening.....DON'T PLAY!!! Already the $50k buy in HORSE tourny is viewed to be the pro's main event. There are 53 other events besides those 2 to play in. I would encourage anyone that was going to play the 10k main event to take that money and play any of the other events. Let's show Harrah's and the rest of the world that Poker players are not only passionate about their game but resilient enough to make a stand against wanton marketing that in many players eyes will damage the integrity of the game. Wouldn't it be great to have record fields in every event but the $10k main event.

If they want to make a change try this. The main event is scheduled for 13 days. How about ESPN cuts the coverage of it down to 3 shows. first one is broadcast after all the day "1s" are done showing all the big names that won't win again this year. second one shows the memorable hands as we get down to last 2 tables. Final show is a quickly edited version of how 18 drops to 9 then have a live broadcast of the entire final table. I know I would take the entire day off to watch it live on tv. Bill it as the richest sporting event broadcast on LIVE tv ever and see what happens.

 
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galloderey
13 years ago

I have another great idea to kill the best poker tournament in the world. Let’s add 9 more seats to the final table for each of the player coaches. Lets add 3 more seats for the anti collusion sheriffs. Add 18 more seats for the cosponsors (a limit of two per player). Add 2 special seats equipped with medical equipment for those unfortunates who had one of those mishaps. Add 4 to 5 seats or couches for the players needing psychological help due to stress, and the anxiety waiting to mess up after fighting their way through thousands of entrants 117 days ago. Plus 9 more seats for each player’s attorneys to help keep order and make sure the all mighty commissioner doesn’t create more new rules as the tournament continues to digress. It’s a good thing these experts aren’t running the country. Prior to the start of the main event we could watch some wrestling with bears, and a few clips from past main events when the game was pure and great. What a screw up.
Russ Gallo Valencia, CA

 
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King8
13 years ago

The WSOP Player Advisory Council (PAC) members Daniel Negreanu, Tom Schneider, Robert Williamson III, and Jennifer Harman really got it wrong. Why weren't there any actual winners of the "main event" on this committee? The winners could of given their input on how it felt to win the event, what it took to win the event and what changes they would recommend. Instead we have players who have never won the event, making recommendations that ruin the premise of the WSOP and what everyone has come to know and love. What's next? The main event heads-up match plays the best 4 out of 7?

 
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TheTank
13 years ago

Collusion is the biggest problem of all. With this much money up for grabs temptation to collude and form alliances will be enormous. Usually final table players do not know each other or have enough time and opportunity to make such arrangements. This format will change all of that. Players will meet and spend time together at all of the PR outings that are sure to ensue and the integrity of the sport will be put into question as the temptation for alliances grows. Did the powers that be even think about safeguards against collusion with this new format?? John "The Tank" Zentner Moorpark, CA

 
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money4pocket
13 years ago

What if I make the final table? I am just a regular joe who took time from his 9 to 5, 40 hour a week, $50,000 a year job. I am shy, getting sponsorship, "for what?"(did I tell you I was shy)don't like cameras, don't want to be in a magazine or commercial, I am boring, unattractive and could care less about being on TV. Will I be sued by Harrahs for not wanting to be in the limelight? Will I have to sign a contract to these rules to participate? If so that is bullshit. Maybe I could get a body double to stand in for the promos. I only get so many days for vacation. I will be fired in an instant for not being at work. Unfortunately that is just how it is at my job. 9th place money will not make me a multimillionaire enough to quit after the govt gets their cut.

 
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King8
13 years ago

Did Harrahs and ESPN look at the big picture regarding security? Jamie Gold received death threats even before the final table was assembled and had to hire body gaurds. Is Harrah's and ESPN going to offer the final 9 players individual security for 3 months to protect them?

 
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voor0721
13 years ago

I bet anyone $10 that the person who came up with this idea was the same guy who decided to change the cards last year. They were so bad they had to be replaced within 24 hours. I think this will blow up in there face. What if someone dies?? That's going to be riviting to see a stack being blinded off as he moves up the money.

 
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MagicMark
almost 13 years ago

Aw geez. Can they pick any other date beside Nov. 9 to have the final table? That's my birthday, and I already have other plans and would hate to be a "no-show".

 
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indy2rn
almost 13 years ago

I didn't notice if anyone mentioned that the reason ESPN wants it to run live in November is because it's ratings month. They'll get a lot higher ratings for a sort of live event than a four month old recording. The rest of the stuff about resting and getting sponsors etc. is just a smoke screen to justify getting it into November

 
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