Chat with Andrew Feldman
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com poker columnist Andrew Feldman will stop by to chat about the World Series of Poker and take any other poker questions you may have.
Be sure to check out ESPN.com's coverage of the 2009 World Series of Poker.
Send your questions now and join Andrew to chat Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Andrew Feldman (2:02 PM)
Hey everyone. Crazy weekend in Las Vegas with small numbers in HORSE, a second bracelet for FBT and wow...Vitaly Lunkin?
Jason (Newton, MA)
What does a Lunkin or Wallbach win do for the POY race? I think they are both still in the HORSE event correct?
Andrew Feldman (2:04 PM)
They are both still in contention with Lunkin in the chip leader's seat and Wahlback just a few spots back. If either of them win, it really will come down to the main event. I haven't looked at the point structure in depth since the start of the event, but at this point, Lisandro can't feel too comfortable. He has the lead either way, but they can make it a close race.
Will the HORSE event be televised next season?
Andrew Feldman (2:06 PM)
I'm not sure. I bet this will be something that my counterparts in TV and Harrah's will be discussing during the winter, but think about it this way. This event means more financially to Harrah's than almost all other tournaments. They take X% of the prize pool, which is almost always gigantic. This is no small hit and the 53-player drop will be something they'll need to correct before 2010
Daniel Negreanu blames the small HORSE numbers on the lack of a televised final table. He also says in his blog that they should play NLHE at the final table. Isn't this supposed to be the players' championship? As in made for the players and not for TV?
Andrew Feldman (2:11 PM)
I agree with you completely. It is supposed to be the players championship and having the event on TV is secondary, but that said, the $$ isn't there from the sponsors without TV. This tournament should crown the best HORSE player not HORSE then hold 'em...
Is the WSOP considered akin to Christmas for the dealers at Harrah's? Are the tips pretty spectacular this time of year for the unsung heroes of the tourney? Are the dealers graded like NFL refs when it comes to deciding who gets to toss the cards for the final table of the ME?
Andrew Feldman (2:14 PM)
To get to your last question first, there are dealer tryouts. Harrah's also trains dealers to be in front of the camera and they work with the ESPN Production team to make sure that everything looks well for TV. The best dealers are selected for TV and the final table. They aren't graded really, but if a player complains about a dealer..which they tend to do...is isn't good job security. The tips are good and most players do tip well, but there are others who simply walk away.
What kind of number of entries are we looking at for the Main Event this year?
Andrew Feldman (2:17 PM)
I'm back to 6,200. I'd love to see 6,850, but at this point I'm not sure we'll be able to pass last year.
We know about certain players who are generous in terms of donating portions of their winnings to charity, but the tipping question got me to wondering, which players have reputations as being generous tippers? I'd ask you to name the well known cheapskates, but something tells me you probably won't do that....will you?
Andrew Feldman (2:18 PM)
No, I won't, but what i will say is that generally the biggest tippers are the amateurs who hit it rich. It's a once in a lifetime experience and why not, throw the dealer a couple extra chips.
What's the latest update with the HORSE event? How is Gus doing?
Andrew Feldman (2:21 PM)
As mentioned before, Vitaly Lunkin has the chip lead with 19 remaining. Deeb is in third, Walhback fifth, and your boy Gus in 7th.
Wes (North CA)
ME Seat - Check. Airplane ticket - Check. Room booked at the Rio - Check. But I have a very serious question - How is the Rio pool looking? Lots of hot chicks? I keep imagining nothing but overweight poker players sitting there. Not a good image.
Andrew Feldman (2:22 PM)
hahahaha. Everytime I walk down to the amazon room I hear music and people...that's about the most I can say. Head to the Hard Rock...GL sir.
Is Hellmuth in a different event and had to miss the HORSE event or did he just choose not to play?
Andrew Feldman (2:22 PM)
He chose not to play. We interviewed him for Gary Wise's column that was just posted and he basically just said that with the small field and no TV, it wasn't worth it.
Joe (Green Bay) [via mobile]
I find it surprising that Negreanu would say the final table of the $50KH event should be NLHE. All I've seen on Twitter and his vlog is him talking about boring of a game NLHE is. Is that a general feeling among a lot of name pros or is that exclusive to Daniel.
Andrew Feldman (2:30 PM)
I think this was one of Daniel's great ideas that he felt went in the wrong directions. This tournament was his way a couple years ago to take the WSOP to another level and the fact that it dropped so significantly made him speak out. I know that I've been told by TV often that viewers like NLHE and that's why we've stayed away, but I still think that this event should be televised in an all-horse format. Making it TV friendly is one thing, but I don't think that everyone would agree NL is the way to go in this event.
I'm planning a trip latter this summer/early fall. I mainly play Omaha 8 5-10 limit. Can I find that game in vegas I know it has been challanging to find at Turningstone and in the Chicago area.
Andrew Feldman (2:30 PM)
You can find just about any game you want in Vegas. I'm pretty sure both the Mirage and Caesars spread that game daily.
Does "no tv" mean "I don't want to pay $50k myself"? Is anyone saying that $50k may just be too much of an entry fee and that is the issue?
Andrew Feldman (2:32 PM)
Agreed. $50K is a ton of money and many players don't want to risk that on one tournament. Sponsors were coming in and actually creating a weaker field by giving those without a bankroll the money to play. I'd say they can reduce the buy-in, but unless it's drastic (think like 20-25K), I don't know how much of a difference it will make. Especially if they keep the $40,000 no-limit event around.
I know the HORSE tourney was meant to be the equivalent of the WSOP all-star game, but is there any talk that perhaps the drop in numbers is because the WSOP has gotten out of hand? I mean, the whole thing feels like it lasts two months (and that's not even taking into account the layoff for the televised final table). I know this is a financial bonanza for Harrah's, but is it possible the WSOP itself has just gotten too big, with too many events for us to possibly care about?
Andrew Feldman (2:34 PM)
57 events is a lot and honestly, I think it has gotten a little bit too big in that regard. However, the fields have been packed and people want to play...If you build it, they will come...
Did you watch Eastgate-Demidov part II? I heard Demidov won; any major hands?
Andrew Feldman (2:35 PM)
I didn't watch, but yea, I bet Demidov is finally happy he got even...lol...he doesn't need the bracelet...
in regards to HORSE on TV....ESPN could show it, and do a better job of promoting it. Every year, ESPN runs commercials saying "new Episode at 8"....why not have commercials with "Next week, Ivey, Brunson Negreanu etc battle for the players Championship and get viewers hooked that way. Make it more about the players than trying to make Stud-8 exciting to watch. And, I dealt the WSOP in 07 and 08...tips in cash games were great, single table sats were bad, tourney's were ok.
Andrew Feldman (2:37 PM)
Thanks for chiming in about the tips Andy. The marketing team promotes the shows as they see fit and usually, they don't really know who is going to be in the show. I think a couple years ago they tried the "name the stars" method, but I don't know if it was successful or not.
You had the 40K NLHE, then 1-2 10K events every week, billed as a "World Championship" event, most of which were not there in previous years. eventually something's going to break even with these pro's bankroll, and it looks like it was the 50K HORSE.
I went to the Rio last night at around 11 to register for today's 1500NLHE. Sold out!? How many people is that? I feel like I wasted a trip out here now.
Andrew Feldman (2:40 PM)
Event 51 was sold out sometime early Saturday. I don't like how it was capped at 2,790, but I do like the fact that it was sold out.
I enjoyed the coverage of Hal Lubarsky. Has he been around this year? What's he been up to of late?
Andrew Feldman (2:41 PM)
I haven't heard about Hal, but I'm sure we'll find him during the main event.
How are these pros well knwon and not getting so many bracelets and high finishes. Is it due to the amount of specialty events where they have a huge skill edge, is the unpredictability of the amateurs becoming more predictable? What is your take on this because lisandro with 3 ivey with 2 and FBT with 2. Also Ville and Lunkin are having a great series.
Andrew Feldman (2:46 PM)
It's hard to comprehend. These players have run so amazingly well that to say they're just that much better than the rest of the field is something we actually have to consider. Are they just getting lucky in the right spots or do they just see things clearer than anyone else? Any other thoughts?
Kevin (Lexington, KY)
If Lunkin wins, what's more impressive: Lunkin winning 40k NLHE and 50k HORSE, Demidov final tabling the ME and WSOP-E ME or 5 multiple bracelet winners in one year?
Andrew Feldman (2:48 PM)
Each of these have some incredible merits to them, but probably surprisingly, I'm going with Demidov. He beat the massive amateurs at the WSOP, he beat the Pros in Europe...it just shows that he can beat a field of any time. And now that I'm thinking about it, we'll never see 5 double-bracelet winners again and nobody has run like Lunkin this WSOP.
Joe (Green Bay) [via mobile]
What would be more impressive, Lunkin or Wahlbeck winning the 50KH and adding to their amazing WSOPs or Freddy Deeb winning it for the second time in its four year history?
Andrew Feldman (2:49 PM)
Lunkin/Wahlback. I think Ville's story is amazing since he won the mixed game event...HORSE should be a walk in the park for him...
What happens first? Someone winning 5 bracelets this WSOP or you having another guest on this chat? I'm going with the former.
Andrew Feldman (2:50 PM)
Low blow. I'd go with another guest.
Bobby Bonilla (Da Burgh)
Do you have to be invited to play on High Stakes Poker, or can I just show up???
Andrew Feldman (2:51 PM)
Bobby Bonilla? Running out of names I guess...No, you have to be invited, Bobby...
I disagree with you on the 5 double-bracelet winners; 10 years from the now the WSOP will probably have 97 events.
Andrew Feldman (2:52 PM)
I think as someone alluded to earlier, we're going to see less events in the future. Either that or no more than what we have now. Maybe 60 next year, but it isn't sustainable...or it might take all year to get them done.
I like the shootout events. Any chance the WSOP will make a shootout where the three rounds are one each of LHE, PLHE and NLHE (in whatever order) instead of just NLHE throughout? I still think they'd be able to get the 729 needed.
Andrew Feldman (2:53 PM)
They'd get the field based on the buy-in. The WSOP is always trying to be innovative and I bet that's an idea they'll work with in the future.
FYI: I played in the new Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg IN on Saturday and the poker room is sweet; I can't wait for the WPT in August.
Andrew Feldman (2:54 PM)
Looking forward to seeing the first event there as well.
Pete (Rochester, NY)
So are you tired yet?
Andrew Feldman (2:55 PM)
Not as tired as I'll be next week at this time. Main event coverage starts Friday, multiple blogs each day, daily podcasts, videos, chats, you name it. Maybe I'll get a guest to take over...
Will the winner of HORSE this year be looked at differently then due to the small field
Andrew Feldman (2:57 PM)
I think anyone that wins that event will be given the respect they deserve. I don't think that the fact that a smaller field will impact the fact that one player put up $50K to play the best in the world.
Kenny (South Lebanon)
How about a $500 bracelet event that is a Super Turbo where players start with 15 time the BB?
Andrew Feldman (2:57 PM)
lol. I could only imagine the hectic nature of that event at the WSOP. I would love to see it though.
Mike (Phoenix, AZ)
Which players backing others are doin the best financially this year at the WSOP?
Andrew Feldman (2:58 PM)
I know Lindgren is doing well. Greg Mueller also usually has quite a stable, but he's crushing on his own with two bracelets. I'm sure he'll be looking for more players with his larger bankroll...
Andrew Feldman (2:59 PM)
Ok, gotta run. Thanks for all the questions today and I'll be back (or someone else will) tomorrow to talk about the HORSE final table.