Jeffrey Pollack Out as WSOP Commissioner - Good Luck or Good Riddence?
Jeffrey Pollack announced on Friday that he was stepping down as the commissioner of the WSOP effective immediately. In an interview given to another site, he stated that it was time to go as he normally only stays in places around 4 years. Also, he stated the split was amicable.
A lot of people are sad to see Pollack's reign as commissioner end. There were many advancements under Pollack's tenure that helped to grow the game. Overall attendance continued to rise, even with the staggering economy. At the same time, there are those that say that it is time that Pollack should go.
A big complaint that I personally have heard from players over the years is that the event is becoming less and less about the players and more about how much money Harrah's can make. There are also complaints that Harrah's has failed to capitalize on the brand name of the WSOP. Planters, Jack's Links, and Milwaukee's Best beer are some examples of the name brands that the WSOP has had since Pollack's reign.
A gripe that I heard while playing a couple of events this year was that "How can Pollack run a poker organization when he doesn't play poker?" One player I played with alleged that he spoke with Pollack and he claimed that he didn't need to play poker and that he did fine with NASCAR without being a race car driver. Whether or not this conversation took place is speculation, but if it's true, I think we are really comparing apples and oranges.
Personally, I am concerned about the direction of the WSOP. I am one of those that believe that the tournaments have been tinkered with too much and that in many cases, it seems that the bottom line is more important than growing the product. When I went to the WSOP in 2006, there were issues that annoyed me, but the experience was great. In 2007, I performed better, but there were a lot of snafu's and there were issues with things from "the poker tent" and beyond. 2008 seemed to flow a lot smoother and I got to see things from the media side of the tent. That was very eye opening.
In 2009, a lot of the time it seemed like the energy was sucked out of the room. Even in a big field, the feeling wasn't there. When I went to check out the satellites, it had a feel of a sideshow with the staff trying to hock off seats. Even the merchandise didn't have the same oomph as prior years. Yes, this was supposed to be the 40th anniversary, but for the most part, it barely felt like the WSOP.
If Pollack's departure means that positive change for the WSOP is coming, then I am for it. Do not misunderstand me. A lot of positive things were done under his watch, such as the $50k HORSE event. But in the end, I think the game is becoming too corporate and as such, I honestly see problems in the future.