Thursday, May 10, 2012 The Good, Bad, Ugly and Skinny of WSOP Conference Call
Kudos to Jack Effel. Photo: WSOP
On Tuesday, WSOP officials held their annual media conference call hyping the 2012 World Series of Poker.
Several big changes were announced, including the rewriting of the Hevad Khan rule regarding excessive celebration.
Poker Junkie blogger Compncards was in on the call and breaks down the good, the bad and the ugly of the exchange.
The Good - WSOP Officials Trying to Make Poker Fun Again
A few years ago, televised poker had deteriorated into such a state that characters seen on WSOP broadcasts were becoming an embarrassment to the game. The WSOP quickly took measures to curb the excessive celebration and over-the-top antics.
While they had the best of intentions, their efforts resulted in rules that some felt were choking the fun out of the game.
That's changed now that the WSOP has relaxed its rules regarding excessive celebration and talking at the table.
Essentially, as long as you're not dancing with a chair, doing prolonged theatrics or prematurely exposing your hand during play, it's game on.
The Bad - $50,000 Poker Player's Championship Will Not Be Televised
One of the big events created in 2006 to showcase pro talent to the world was the $50,000 HORSE Event, later rebranded as the Poker Player's Championship.
The WSOP made some tweaks over the years to make the event more interesting to players, but the ratings never reached levels that ESPN preferred and now the event is no longer being broadcast.
This is a big blow to an event that is supposed to crown the true "all-around poker champion."
Part of the blame can be placed on the players as the event has always hovered just above the 100-player mark while most other events have enjoyed steady growth.
The only positive spin that can be put on the decision not to televise the event is that the final table will remain in the 8-Game format and not switch to exclusively NL Hold'em. This was changed since ESPN is not carrying the event.
I'm a big fan of this event, but I'm worried that it not being televised will hurt the numbers. I wouldn't be surprised if this event is considered for a rework after this year.
Perhaps it's time to make this a $25,000 event or consider dropping it back to $10,000. With many pros not having an online site backing them anymore, $50,000 may be a little too steep.
The Ugly: No Tribute Formally Planned for Amarillo Slim
The one area of the conference call where I feel the WSOP dropped the ball in this call was when they stated they had no "formal plans" to honor recently deceased WSOP Champion Amarillo Slim.
Slim, regardless of his past, is still a legend of the game and a former champion. He was also one of the road gamblers who kicked off the WSOP in 1970.
Furthermore, he was the first poker player to bring positive press to the game and the first real superstar in poker history.
If the WSOP didn't have formal plans, that is fine. Lie and tell people you have plans.
Telling people there will likely be some type of recognition but no formal plans almost seems an insult to Slim's legacy in the game.
This would have been a good spot to bluff and say something along the lines of "we will have a special banner ceremony during the Main Event" or they could do something during the Hall of Fame ceremony.
The Skinny: Jack Effel
While it was mentioned in passing, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel has been making strides to become healthier and has been said to have lost a considerable amount of weight.
As someone who has been going through the same process over the last year, I congratulate Jack and wish him continued success in his weight loss.
Losing weight is hard enough when you can control your environment. Doing so when you are always on the go is doubly impressive and I look forward to seeing the new and improved Jack Effel.