WSOP Conference Call Thoughts

Full Tilt Poker patching, ESPN live stream, Mizrachi tax issues are big topics

by , Oct 27, 2010 | 12:08 pm

So there was a media conference call this morning and there were some interesting things to come out of the call:

  • The pseudo-live coverage of the final table will be on ESPN3, which means if your ISP does not provide it (or you live outside the US) then its fairly likely you will not be able to watch the proceedings short of proxies/other hackery. Obviously it will not have hole cards (Ty mentioned that Nevada is more “conservative” than Europe in that regard), but it will have community cards and a video stream.
  • James Hartigan will provide the play-by-play and pros will provide additional commentary (which means, basically, they are doing a very similar format to the EPT Live coverage, right down to the commentators).
  • Mizrachi is on a lot of poker media member’s minds: including his tax issues. ESPN noted that while they are talking about it, but its not a big part and they are dealing with the “Year of the Mizrachis” angle, at least they had been until the final table.
  • Some of the storylines of the final table: youth of the table + the experience of the players + the international flavor of the FT (even if the majority of players are American, some players were born elsewhere).
  • The WSOP and ESPN are definitely enforcing the 3 player patch rule. Players were informed about the rule and they understand the situation. (One thing that didn’t get asked in the call was if players would essentially be able to swap patches with a non-patched player if a patched player is eliminated.)
  • Walk-on music will combine with other aspects that will give the final table a more choreographed feel. (As Ty Stewart put it: “More pomp and circumstances this year.”)
  • Changes to the Penn + Teller Theater: More seats to the public, fewer seats to friends and family.
  • Editing the final table is pretty much a non-stop endeavor, and they actually record voiceovers for more hands than actually get shown depending on how the story of the final table plays out. Voicing gets finished while the 1st hour of the final table coverage is already on the air.
  • The NGC, Harrah’s, and federal regulators feel like online poker is illegal, according to Ty Stewart (but for some reason have no problem taking ad dollars from said people).

Some pretty important topics were addressed (how ESPN is going to deal with Mizrachi’s tax problems, how FTP is going to deal with its push to actually get a main event champ in the stable, etc.) and as the November Nine gets closer some of these may come more into focus.


  • The tax issue is a mute issue! Those taxes were paid from his winnings in the 50k event and have no bearing on the money he is making from the ME.

    I think its in poor taste they are bringing this up just like they did with Chinos issues in 2008.

    Damn if they want to bring up personal issues on Mike then they should hire an investigator to dig up crap on the other 8, I am sure there are some skeletons in the other players closet too!

  • I’m gonna ignore the obvious bias in that comment (joking, please dont get me arrested) and just bring up some clarification. Based on what the mood was regarding the taxes, some thought it could be brought up in the more global “Grinder’s redemption” narrative, which, in theory anyway, would have been positive at the end of the day.

    Finally, to be fair, when you are an established pro, the likelihood of finding skeletons in the closet is gonna be a lot more in the open than any of these other guys. As I found out through Rabbit Hunt profile segments, it was hard to find much info on ANYONE other than Grinder.

    If you want my opinion…yes…its an outdated issue, but people will keep bringing it up as much as they feel they need to.

  • Assistanc3

    Why are they calling it WORLD series of poker, when it can only be viewed by Americans with out the previously mentioned ways? This is telling me to be more interested in Europe or Asian poker as their programs are actually showed to the world.

    Walk-on music and more seats to the public, fewer seats to friends and family
    Great, they are turning poker into what Adam Sandler had in Happy Gilmore.

    “storylines of the final table”
    I don’t mind hearing about the players, but to show 3 hands, cut to commercial or “story tell”, really would like to see poker being played at the “world series of poker”. I know I am not alone with wanting to see more poker.

    /end rant

  • DanM

    i totally agree, deputy. we SHOULD dig up as much dirt as possible on every player — but especially the final 2. isn’t that what the november nine is for?

    i’m sure pokernews has been diligently scouring the public records, lol.

  • @Deputy: It’s MOOT not MUTE. If it was a mute issue, we’d discuss it in sign language.

    It is going to come up, and if you listen to it, Lon and Norman understand it is deeper than “he did not pay his taxes — dun dun DUN!” that some people tried to play up but rather a far more complex story of real estate issues dealing with the current economy that many, many people are facing. So, relax, they did a good job of making sure that anyone covering it will look like a TMZ hound.

    @Assitanc2 – ESPN3 (and their coverage) are US based, so it isn’t ‘BIASED’ to say their coverage will follow their viewing rights. It’s the same reason I can’t stream “Hockey Night” here in the US. Proxies and secret links will be everywhere, follow our friends online here and on Twitter to find them. I want everyone to see this live and if they were smart, so would they. It’s simple enough to just ignore the proxies or try to count them so you can get a good look at coverage. Instead Ty’s response was “wait and see what we do.” Trying to be ominous.

  • I did use sign language Matt..with both hands… Thanks Guys yes I may be a little biased and I always support my close friends when I belive the are being unjustly attacked on ANYTHING…But this instance it Just may show the public ALL Poker players are degenerates cannot even pay Uncle Sam. They will stereotype Poker as they have tried to in the past. If people knew how generous Poker players are with charities they would change their minds. Maybe this is the angle ESPN should take because another player at the FT is wearing a “Poker Gives” patch too.. That is not a MOOT point.. 🙂

  • DanM

    >>If people knew how generous Poker players are with charities they would change their minds. << i respect your concern, scott ... but personally i tend to think truth should win out in all instances. with that said, i'll bet that norman chad will give the "issue" a single line, probably well delivered. i also think you overestimate the value of poker charities as it pertains to public perception. one of THE MOST charitable operations in the entire world, after all, is Hamas. The mafia was kinda the same way back in the day.

  • “one of THE MOST charitable operations in the entire world, after all, is Hamas.”

    First a tweet in Arabic, now this? I am so covering the November Nine alone after the feds are done with Dan…that is if I don’t get caught in the crossfire.

    It is a fair point, but probably not the fairest comparison. Both are criminal organizations, and poker is (I certainly hope) an individual endeavor. Either way, people are far less likely to associate charity with bad, so it can never hurt to tie the two together in the hopes of boosting perception. Besides, I don’t see very many poker players bombing anything…save for their own chip stacks.

  • The TRUTH is a powerful Thing Dan, wish there was more of it in this world.

    Thanks for allowing me to share my opinions on your site!

  • I was interested in the Mizrachi forclosure/tax thing when it was news back in May or June. Not as much since it was cleaned up directly after that, and its 6 months later.

    I was interested in the Mizrachi lawsuit with Deliverance Poker vs. Grinder and Full Tilt….but when Delieverance asked to “take it back,” I lost interest.

    Those stories are old and tired. Outside of “who will win it this year,” I think that the patching questions are the most interesting questions, and had my cell not dropped the call, I would have followed up with “will switching be allowed?” But if Full Tilt only gets 3 people to patch, and they have 7 Pro’s, I’m curious as to who will be wearing the logos, and I wonder if they will switch patches for the November 9 table.

  • “Outside of “who will win it this year,” I think that the patching questions are the most interesting questions, and had my cell not dropped the call, I would have followed up with “will switching be allowed?” ”

    Damn it! That’s the one question I wanted answered and would have asked it if I had the ability to get on the phone on time. Was wondering why no one bothered bringing it up, because its a pretty big deal if they can’t patch all 7 guys.

    Glad I’m not the only one that’s thinking about it though.

  • Assistanc3

    MattWaldron your really going to compare being able to watch 2,460 hockey games to the final table of the WSOP?
    If you said the Stanley Cup final game, you could have an argument.

  • @matt: I’m with you. I expect the tax/foreclosure issue will be fairly covered and let’s be honest, it’s not just degens who’ve struggled with foreclosures. It’s a legitimate issue at the forefront of our economy; hell, it seems like literally 30 to 40% of the homes on my street have foreclosed in the past 2 years. And I live in a small town in BFE, Minnesota. Call me naive but I’m confident the report will have some semblance of nuance.
    @ScottD: I understand your concern but I think other recent issues (the FT bots, the Patrice Tierney scandal, and other issues) are doing far more harm than a poker player’s tax issues. At least, that’s my two cents.

  • DanM

    >>it’s not just degens who’ve struggled with foreclosures. It’s a legitimate issue at the forefront of our economy<< that's such a good point. (perhaps a lot of poker players have guilty consciences when it comes to degeneracy?) we're always talking (here specifically) about how poker storylines fit in with the mainstream news, and connecting to it ... and this is indeed something that can make mizrachi real -- and mean something -- to the non-pokerfan who might happen to stumble across the November 9. so then the question becomes whether or not the public can see the tale of triumph over the economy's adversity in a guy decked out in Ed Hardy shirts.

  • “so then the question becomes whether or not the public can see the tale of triumph over the economy’s adversity in a guy decked out in Ed Hardy shirts”

    You never know, it worked for that Jon Gosellin dude, right? ……. right?

  • “I think other recent issues (the FT bots, the Patrice Tierney scandal, and other issues) are doing far more harm than a poker player’s tax issues.”

    These are important issues you are right. However it’s my opinion the 3mil plus people who watch the Final 9 play over the next few weeks about 95% of them have no idea about on-line shenanigans.

    But 95% of th people know who Jon Gosellin is…:)

  • DanM

    but what does Tierney have to do with the November 9? I got nothing. If she had a lover who went out on the bubble or something … that could be awesome, and give us something to write about … or if she was charged with, say, the Deliverance poker deal AND/OR mizrachi’s original IRS probs … that would be awesome, but a man can only dream!

    so what could be fun is an over under for TV ratings for the first viewing of the November 9 on ESPN. Gotta check the other TV skeds, but am feeling pretty good off the top of my head at 1.3 million.

  • I know the Final Table Broadcast of the 2008 Nov 9 had 2.5 million viewers and there were not any big known names at the table that year. (its changed now) With Ivey at last years table and the advertising they did about Moon I am sure there were more but I never heard/saw the numbers.

    I will take the over on your estimate for $5.00, ok?