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June 7, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Andrew Feldman

Andrew Feldman
  (4:03 PM)

Hey everyone! Welcome to Tuesday's WSOP chat. Send in those questions, we'll get started in a second.

Jobin (Quincy)

Andrew, every year, someone asks you when the "big names" are going to start winning, and you invariably say "Huh? Random Grinder X just won, Nobody Y took a bracelet down, and Generic Dude Z is in the hunt!" I think you're consistently missing the point. Even though I've heard of Jake Cody and Allen Bari, their wins don't help grow the game, and not everybody has the pokerbot mind of a Kevmath. The best thing that could happen to the WSOP is if every event was won by the BIG NAMES, like Negreanu, Dwan, Seidel, and anyone else who's been on TV consistently in the past few years. That would pique the interest of the casual fans. What is #goodforthegame (copyright AF) is for the big names to continue to be successful, so casual fans who have only heard of maybe 30 players will be tuning in to the ESPN broadcasts in the summer and fall. To me, it's simple: big names pay the bills. If you poll 100 casual poker fans, I bet 85-90 of them would rather watch Phil Hellmuth at a final table than Jerry Yang or the random Everyman of the 2011 series. That's my two cents; look forward to your dime.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:06 PM)

Just posting this since it deserves to be posted. You're right, but the truth is that the big names from 2004 are still the "big names" you reference today. No new stars have truly emerged and even Tom Dwan might not fall into that category. I'll even point out an example from here at ESPN. If Ivey/Negreanu/Seidel/Hellmuth, etc win a bracelet, the story will be on the frontpage of ESPN.com. It's name recognition even within the company that's important sometimes and yes, I agree with you, the way to get back casual fans is to have Negreanu run away with the WSOP...

Mike (Boston)

I've never played 2-7 lowball either. Maybe I should start!How many multiple bracelet winners are you predicting this year?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:07 PM)

Must be nice, right? I'm sure he played well, but you really need to get pretty lucky to win that bracelet in your first shot. He basically said he relied on his no-limit hold 'em-style aggression and we saw that time and time again during the final table.

Jay (Albany, NY)

Any word on the side games going on at the WSOP (players, stakes, games, etc.)? Phil Galfond said on his Twitter he's been playing 15 hour sessions and Justin Smith (BoostedJ) recently said he was in a $1k/$2k/$4k PLO game! Wins/losses at those stakes dwarf most of the tourneys going on, no?Thanks for the great coverage, keep it up!

Andrew Feldman
  (4:08 PM)

Remember that the appeal of the WSOP used to be the side games. For many players, that still holds true. Johnny Chan told me last week that he would be dumb to miss the cash games right now.

Josh (Philly)

I saw a tweet from you.. to @OwnIvey who is that?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:09 PM)

Someone who is tracking the fantasy leagues for some reason. I've gotta double check his math though...

Ben (NJ)

It's amazing how poker players can just go from one event to another to another. After finishing 2nd, 3rd or 4th in one event, I would be devastated. Yet these guys just go right along to the next thing, it's pretty impressive. I think that's the most underrated thing about these players and events is the mental fatigue the WSOP can play. I'm assuming you spoke to Bernard Lee who just finished 4th, how was he feeling?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:11 PM)

The idea of the mental let down of a final table to move onto the next tournament amazes me as well. Bernard isn't a happy camper, but he'll get over it. He's heading back home for a couple of days and we'll talk to him about it on Inside Deal on Thursday.

Mark Gahagan (San Diego, CA)

Andrew, what are your feelings on the attendance at the WSOP at this point? Might be a little early to start overanalyzing the impact of Black Friday but so far the numbers are better than projected, or at least holding steady from last year.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:14 PM)

Hey Mark. I'm mixed right now. I just wrote in my latest blog that the key metric I was looking at was the 1K and low buy-in events. I feel that if the casual players aren't making the trek to the WSOP, it's not a good sign. Keep in mind those were the people who played online in a part-time nature and wanted to give Vegas a shot. I think its still too early to really get a good gauge on the Black Friday effect.

Jamie (Maryland)

I'd assume most people in this chat are attentive enough that Jake Cody and Allen Bari ring their bells. Crazy how many recognizable names are in the last 59 of the donkament. Even ones you didn't mention in the blog: Ana Marquez, Gelencser. You think someone like Duhamel, E. Mizrachi or any of these "not nig name grinders" wins this huge field tourney?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:16 PM)

How crazy would it be if Duhamel even made the final table of this event? It's a really tough field left and its impressive he made it this far. The kid's good. I would say that with the number of recognizable (in my mind) players left, there's good odds one of them will take it down.

Mitch (Buffalo, NY)

If/when online poker "becomes legal", do you see Zynga becoming any sort of real-money player?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:17 PM)

Honestly, they'd be making a mistake if they didn't try to transition in that sense. That said, they really aren't prepared at the moment to take that step.

robert (california)

what's the deal with phil ivey owing a lot of money with his employer full tilt?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:18 PM)

Still trying to get the facts on that one. Nothing new has come from either side for nearly a week now.

Brian (Tempe)

Hi Andrew, can you teach me the secret to winning coinflips? Thanks

Andrew Feldman
  (4:18 PM)

Nestle Crunch. You're welcome.

Bernard Lee (The 2-7 Final Table)

Don't deprive your fans by cutting chats short so you can sweat me Andrew... give them the hour already!

Andrew Feldman
  (4:18 PM)

Hahah, ok. I'll do that.

Pete (Rochester, NY)

How does the media presence compare with previous years in the prelim events?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:21 PM)

It was a pretty empty to be honest. It was the usual suspects from Bluff, Pokerati, Poker Pages, CP, etc. Then again, much of the international media doesn't show up until the WSOP.

Jake (Raleigh)

Are there limits on how high blinds can get in a tourney? It seemed the blinds got awfully big in the 25K Heads up. Timoshenko knows what I'm talking about.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:23 PM)

There's a set blind schedule, but for that event it seemed like the blinds were going up incredibly fast. All event structures an be found on WSOP.com and usually, there is a max that the blinds can reach and then it is up to the tournament director's discretion.

Alex (Quincy, MA)

What do you make of Tony G's post Black Friday comments and updates, culminating most recently in saying that PokerNews would disassociate itself with Full Tilt entirely. Does he have an ax to grind, or might he actually be looking out for players?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:25 PM)

He doesn't have an axe to grind besides the fact that it makes him look bad. He ran a company that consistently recommended players play a FTP and so he feels he has a personal issue where its his fault for doing so. Him saying that does not surprise me in the least.

Mark Gahagan (San Diego, CA)

I can agree with you on that, I think we won't know the final impact on attendance until the mid-late stages of the series, when people that are taking shots with the rolls they have run dry. If its late June and the numbers stay the same, we might have something to talk about. Though, in fairness, the same is true if all of the sudden the field sizes hit the floor.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:26 PM)

Lots of good points.

Matthew (New York)

You answered my question regarding satellites for the $1,500NL events yesterday stating that "there are satellites for just about everything". do you have a link or quick info on actual daily satellites running for these events? SNGS? multi table sats? etc. thanks again, andrew

Andrew Feldman
  (4:26 PM)

This should help you: http://www.wsop.com/2011/satellites/

Seth (Tempe, AZ)

What's your take on Doyle formally severing ties with Doyle's Room right before that site was shut down by the DOJ? The timing seemed a bit too perfect.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:27 PM)

Timing was perfect, but at the same time, he's smart enough to realize when it was time for him to leave.

Aaron (Texas)

Would a rake-free poker client be legal in the US?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:28 PM)

No. If there is still $$ changing hands, the site is essentially facilitating that (which is what the DOJ does not like, along with getting the $$ online), regardless of rake.

Ted (Concord, NH)

Do you think we'll see fewer celebrities/athletes at the main event this year? Didn't a lot of them get their entry fees paid by PS or FTP?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:30 PM)

I would venture to say that 99% of them had their buy-ins paid for. I doubt we'll see many celebs at all this summer...which is sad since I'll miss my yearly interview with Jason Alexander.

Derek (Miami)

Given the black friday money tie up situation, what would be your guess as to what percentage of players in $10,000+ events (aside from the ME) have been or will be at least partially backed? I'd have to think well over 50%, no?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:32 PM)

It depends on the sites they played on. Some pros had no money on tilt but a lot of money on stars. Some had a lot of money on stars and none on tilt. Some even had money on UB...for some reason. I'd say % of players backed in the 10Ks is probably like 65%. Maybe more.

Jobin (Quincy)

I understand that journalism should be objective, but do you ever feel the need to be a bit subjective in your line of work? It's in your best interest for the best storylines to happen, since your employer publicizes and broadcasts these events. So even though you're an objective journalist, shouldn't part of you be rooting for the best possible outcome (Ivey winning in '09)?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:34 PM)

You can be a fan, but you can't let it dominate what you're writing/talking about. Clearly with Ivey in the N9 a couple years ago it was a big deal and as a fan, it was pretty incredible. As an employee, it's an incredible opportunity for the company as well. All that said, I'm not going to be disappointed with the knockout of any player at any time if I'm covering it for a story. If someone loses, they lose. If I lose a story, there will always be another one.

Stu (Rhode Island)

Any thoughts on Allen Bari's quote after winning the bracelet? Having only seen it in print, I'm not sure how to take it: Tongue in cheek or is he just that arrogant. And have you talked to Maria Ho about it and gotten any response?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:35 PM)

He wasn't being sarcastic. I haven't spoken to Maria yet, but she did one heck of a job in that event.

Josh (Philly)

So you say that Bernard Lee is heading back for a while. Is he intending on playing in more tournaments.. I would imagine that since he has two cashes, one being a FT, that if he could keep plugging get another final table.. maybe a bracelet he could be in the running for POY.. yes/no?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:35 PM)

I thought he would stay out there for a bit to be honest, but his family is at home and as you've seen, he's a family man. He'll probably head back out next week for a few weeks, then come home before the main. We'll get his schedule on ID this week.

Inge Christoffersen (Århus/Skejby, Denmark)

HiId like to hear your oppinion about this Ivey case.Whos the bad one him or FTP?kindest regardsInge

Andrew Feldman
  (4:37 PM)

I have to reserve judgement at this point until we know a few more details. Ivey's PR move was a great one, but the lawsuit didn't follow through. It's easy to see FTP in a negative light right now, but if what they're saying is true (Ivey is preventing the successful return of $$), then I don't know what to think. Wait and see...sorry for the vague answer.

Event #17 $1500 HORSE (Las Vegas)

Hey Andrew. Just a reminder that I start on Friday. Now that Bernard finished 4th, you need to get a stake and enter, so this can be the Year of the ESPN.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:37 PM)

No dice. I'm upset. Wish I could play it.

Mitch (Detroit)

Speaking of Bernard, have his two cashes already given him enough to qualify for the FS+G league?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:38 PM)

Noooo, he's down about 71K or so. Here's the link: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/poker/fsglist?page=fsgBubbleWatch

Pete (Seattle)

I'm all for the idea of a 1 million dollar event next year, with a nice chunk of money going to charity, but given the number of "dead money" charitable amateurs like Ruffin, Laliberte and others, won't there be a huge risk of collusion, soft play, or buying pieces of each other among blocks of pros?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:39 PM)

Find me a player who won't be backed in that event. There will be many "corporations" set up among players to buy people in. Gary and I have a hot button topic debate about this coming out either tonight or tomorrow morning.

Geoff (Elmira, CA)

What sub-$10000 buy in event do you predict will have the fewest players this year?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:43 PM)

$2,500 10-game mix. Although people might play in that event even if they don't know exactly what they need to do in a few of the games.

Ron (Pittsburgh)

Let's assume that most of the under 25 online players who made a lot of money either will get their money or already have. Do you see a real risk of these guys trying to transition to live, only to go broke due to the different environment. Or do you think most/many will do the smart thing and make the money last and get out of poker, at least for the time being until it is formally legalized?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:44 PM)

I think a lot of the 25-and-under guys aren't going to take the money and move on. They're going to try and cut it live and they'll know quick enough if they can succeed.

Aaron (Texas)

Can you see the live circuit events have a mini-boom due to black friday and if so will ESPN expand coverage?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:45 PM)

It should and I think there should be more local, smaller events because of that reason. I wish I could say we would expand coverage, but I don't see that happening.

Robert (Rochester, NY)

Do you think there will be a "tipping point" where if by a certain time US players are not paid and/or other shady information comes to light that enough of the remaining Full Tilt player pool will leave such that the site will have no choice but to fold?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:47 PM)

I'm not sure the site will fold, but I do expect FTP to continue to be under massive pressure from players around the world until they pay out. If they ever come forward with a statement saying they won't pay (or can't), I think that'll be the day everyone else goes to find someone else to play.

Austen (Maryland)

Did they ever come out with a database of lifetime WSOP stats? I know they were discussing it last year but I never heard anything further about it...I think some of those numbers would be incredibly interesting

Andrew Feldman
  (4:48 PM)

A lot of the pre-boom data was never tracked...which is unfortunate. It could be incredible to see lifetime ROI for all these players. How many events they played, what their best WSOP game is, etc. Hopefully they'll be able to reconcile the data and eventually make it available for all.

Steve (PA)

Will Phil Gordon be returning to the Poker Edge after the WSOP? I know he can't comment on BF and FT, but I would imagine he could still do interviews with other players.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:49 PM)

Spoke to him about it yesterday. He's hoping for next week. Obviously he's in a tough spot.

Ryan (Kennewick)

Do you know when POY standings for the series will start? Or if they have can you share a link to them?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:51 PM)

Nothing out yet on the WSOP site, but Bluff, who is responsible for the new POY formula, has it available here: http://www.bluffmagazine.com/wsop-poy/

Mike (FL)

Is there a media event this year at the WSOP? Are you playing?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:51 PM)

Yup. Media event is after the two Day 2s and before Day 3. I think it's July 13th.

Kevin (Buffalo)

In ten years who do you think will have the most bracelets. Think Phil will be able to hold off Chan/Ivey/Seidl and company?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:52 PM)

No. I would say Ivey will have the lead in 10 years.

Rick W (Barstow CA (down the road from Vegas))

I will be playing in one of the $1K events this year, the Seniors event (Event 30). Its my first try at the WSOP, maybe I should get some NASCAR rookie stripes. What should I be looking for to make my trip there smoother, other than cashing?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:55 PM)

First off, good luck. Second, register early. Make sure all of that sort of stuff is in order well before it's time for you to play. Third, go and check out the venue early (if you haven't before). The size and atmosphere of the room can really get to you. So relax, enjoy where you are and play your best.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:56 PM)

Ok everyone, I'm out of here. Speak to you all tomorrow!