Pre-WSOP Press Teleconference

by , Mar 14, 2007 | 2:37 pm

Poker Christmas is right around the corner … (79 days away) … and to answer all sorts of questions, the Harrah’s-bonded powers that be held an electronic press conference for about 30 phone-in poker media people. (And at least one online site that wasn’t supposed to be there, and one AP reporter who didn’t seem to understand why the WSOP doesn’t know how big the first-prize payout will be yet.)

On the line for the one-hour call were:

Jeffrey Pollack — WSOP Commissioner
Jack Effel — WSOP Tournament Director
Howard Greenbaum — Head of Tournament Operations
Gary Thompson — WSOP Media Dude

We’ll have the audio up shortly, but until then, click below to see all the items addressed.
Click here to listen to the teleconference (48 min, 42.8 mb). And click below to read the Cliff’s Notes.

(Pokerati pressed *1 to ask a question, but Holly, the teleconference moderator, was not able to get to us … so we were not able to ask Pollack how he likes to play suited connectors with an above-average chip stack in late position.)

2007-03-14 13:27:42

Greetings. 55 bracelet events this year. Hershey’s is the official chocolate. WSOP Academy and WSOP Europe, oh yeah! And a fresh set-up of cards on every table of every bracelet event every day to boot!

1. “what will be success at this year’s WSOP?” dismisses numbers as a barometer of quality.

2. (burden county record is his paper of pollack’s hometown) won’t see much as much of an online presence.
– not accepting third-party registration* … can’t comment on how they will do it for sites such as Full Tilt, PokerStars, et al.

3. Harrah’s will be getting aggressive in seeking to stop the unauthorized use of WSOP logo.

4. 10k entries for 10k main event? Pollack will never predict such a number, but they are using that figure for planning purposes.

5. Harrah’s is building a “poker superstructure” next to the rio for future WSOPs.

6. date change — moving toward traditional springtime holding of WSOP, and ESPN has reasons for wanting this, too. will see events airing on tv quicker than ever.

7. more tables this year than last year.

8. “the best poker card known to man — and that’s the kem card.”

9. moving live action away from tourney area. will have it’s own cage. new registration process for single-table satellites, not at the tables.

10. training of dealers and staff

11. 300 dealers are going through training right now to become certified. need to know 16 different derivatives of poker. will use other dealers, but they will be back-up.

12. 55 bracelet events this year. many new events. $5k heads-up buy-in (?)

13. limit/no-limit mixed hold’em event. $5k.

14. lots of extra “world championships” they’re gonna call it that, just because.

15. starting chips in low buy-ins. (no clear answer)

16. they are having trouble with the worldseriesofpoker website.

17. media changes — expect this week, earlier next week. easing of some restrictions. larger media center for main event.

18. the Associated Press has little clue about poker … asking what the prize pool will be. — there is no cap. it’s a planning number, Pollack reiterates.

AP reporter follows up, still wanting to know what the prize will be.

“you have a calculator”

19. you’ll get a phone call from Jeffrey Pollack if hedline has 10,000 entries, or 10,000 cap in it.

20. PartyPoker (sites not serving us players) could be all over the WSOP — dot net and dot com. apparell rules are clearer. no apparel for any site that violates trademark rights. no dot-net, and espn has policies. will be enforced.

21. new chips this year … not chips from last year. “the chip fiasco” => mandatory staff training.

22. more on mixed events. they listen to the customers, their players.

23. pollack gets question from an online site operator. “this call is not for you.” guy says, “ok, sorry. i got the email from you.”
[poker may have to start figuring out the difference between online poker sites and media outlets. fine line.]

24. amy wants free chocolate. she asks and she gets it! full bars, not just bite-sized … to be served to her by Ty Stewart.

25. expect more international players. and a wsop circuit event at the new horseshoe indiana.

26. if we didn’t get to your question, we are here for you.

28 Comments to “Pre-WSOP Press Teleconference”

  1. Haley

    Amy clearly proved that she is a veteran writer by asking about the grub. And were there really only 30 of us listening in?

  2. change100

    So, what’s the over-under on how many crank calls you’ll get from bloggers using effeminate voices?

  3. snake

    pokerati, thanks for giving us something to write about as we were dozing during the call.

  4. DanM

    Change, I get those already. In fact, Pauly says hi.

  5. J.E.H.

    1. “what will be success at this year’s WSOP?” dismisses numbers as a barometer of quality.

    I think that Robert Varonikyi takes this same position.

    12. 55 bracelet events this year.

    Hell, they might as well add a bracelet for Gin Rummy. Chip Reese would be a prohibitive favorite, unless Stuey Ungar rises from the crypt. Maybe a bracelet for Chutes and Ladders, too.

    25. expect more international players. and a wsop circuit event at the new horseshoe indiana.

    Nothing says “International Player” like Indiana! Go Hoosiers!

  6. DanM

    Am I the only one excited/curious about the “poker superstructure” referenced in #5?

  7. snake

    dan, isn’t that just a food/circus tent more or less…connected to the building.

  8. DanM

    no, you’re confusing that with the Milwaukee’s Best Light Garage … which IS a poker superstructure. but not a “poker superstructure,” if you know what i mean.

  9. Short-Stacked Shamus

    Thanks for posting the audio, Dan. Fun eavesdropping here.

    So if there will be no bite-sized Hershey’s bars and only the full bars, then how are we supposed to tell which bars are the world championship bars?

  10. Haley

    Very, very nice post. I think you had the audio up before any writer even posted the regular stuff.

    Also, was it just me, or did Pollack sidestep the “larger media area” thing? The problem with the auxiliary media centers during the main event were that is was (a) about 48 degrees at times, (b) often deserted without a security guard in sight, and (c) subject to spotty wireless. And Pollack didn’t say that the media center would be any larger -before- the Main Event starts. As I recall it was cramped before that already.

  11. snake

    actually I got that…was just saying that this so-called superstructure will probably be like a food/circus type tent … a temporary structure… think mini cirque on the road but with poker tables and operating room type lamps. it is gonna be situated where the food tent was last summer but connected to the building and with AC…so people don’t die and if they do, don’t smell, as bad. so in other words, it would suck to start your ME there.

  12. Fresh Princess

    Hi From The Rocky Mountains…

    1. Dan, you should ask to be a Hershey “KISS” girl. Although, Hershey probably won’t go that route.
    2. Superstructure eleviates Caesar rumor.
    3. I have been wondering what the championship meant for the other events. Do you get a championship bracelet that is different from other events?
    4. Good to hear they will train the dealers, perhaps some of them won’t be afraid to run the game correctly.
    5. when will we get a clear answer on the starting chips for the lower buy-in events and when we do get an answer will the answer vary?
    6. I’m glad they are doing something about the registration.
    7. Do they have an amount for first prize in the main event?

  13. Fresh Princess

    And this was juicy! Why didn’t you call me?

  14. DanM

    Michele, you have been working hard for like a whole month now … so you deserved a vacation.

  15. DanM

    Re: only 30 people online …

    That’s the number provided to me by the WSOP pr folks. “about 30 interviewers” to be more specific.

  16. Bob Johnson

    Please left align before I scratch my eyes out.

  17. BJ Nemeth

    Amazingly, the AP guy *still* wrote his story with the 10,000 number as his lead.

    I’ve listened to the audio, and am shocked that the AP guy never understood. It reminds me of an episode of “The Simpsons” (“Cape Feare”) where Homer was being put into Witness Protection, and had trouble grasping the concept of a new last name. The FBI guys were winking at him and kicking him under the table to get him to respond when they said, “Good morning, Mr. Thompson.”

    I think someone should have kicked the AP reporter under the table.

  18. Karridy

    I second that, Bob.

  19. DanM

    bob, what are you talking about? is there something centered that’s bothering you? karridy is the new alignment editor, by the way.

  20. DanM

    OK, Bob and Karridy, and all you other Microsoft slaves conscientious readers, I think we have fixed your our centering problem in IE. Let me know if any other issues arise.

  21. Fresh Princess

    No seriously…do they know what the prize pool will be? I’m just twirling my hair away trying to figure it out!

  22. DanM

    Let’s set an over/under on that. The main event, no matter how big or small, has lots of room to manipulate the payouts. My bet is that first prize will be $5 million. Maybe 5.1.

  23. Fresh Princess

    A bit over.

  24. BJ Nemeth

    I would definitely take the over on a $5 million first prize. Raymer won that much in 2004 with a field of “only” 2,576 players.

  25. DanM

    Hmm, you may be right, BJ … I may need to rethink that number (which I initially thought was right on the button). I was thinking Raymer won $4.5 million.

    the idea is that Harrah’s will be sure to adjust the first-prize payout to something that sounds “sexy.” And you know … $4.9mm just doesn’t do it for some of us anymore.

  26. BigSlick75093

    But I still want to know what the prize pool will be.

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