RE: Mekhi Pheifer in Final 25 at WPT Invitational

by , Mar 1, 2009 | 7:04 pm

Funny, for all the poker entertainment on TV tonight, I probably won’t make it over to Fox Sports to see the latest Season 7 episode of the WPT. However, I can’t help but find myself following their celebrity invitational on the internet. Don’t really know what that means … maybe just that I definitely want some WPT action, but I’m just as happy following chip counts and hand updates at my leisure while I flip between WSOP Europe, High Stakes Poker, and maybe even a little Annie Duke meets Donald.

Seriously, looks to be an interesting final sprawl shaping up with 13 players remaining (Steve Sung and Paul Darden just went out). I bet the vibe inside the Commerce is pretty electric. This, frankly, is poker I’d probably want to watch on TV right now:

Remaining Players

Player Player Name Chipcount
Jose Tavares Jose Tavares 1,250,000
Tom Hall Tom Hall 1,200,000
Scott Clements Scott Clements 1,080,000
Average Chipcount: 666,153
Frank Hustek Frank Hustek 600,000
Ottavio Tassone Ottavio Tassone 520,000
Nicholas Gonzalez Nicholas Gonzalez 440,000
Freddy Deeb Freddy Deeb 410,000
Ali Nejad Ali Nejad 400,000
Bob Ruhl Bob Ruhl 300,000
Teddy Monroe Teddy Monroe 250,000
Jack Haley Jack Haley 225,000
Mekhi Phifer Mekhi Phifer 200,000
Haig Papaian Haig Papaian 200,000

24 Comments to “RE: Mekhi Pheifer in Final 25 at WPT Invitational”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    Unfortunately, he just got eliminated in 13th, but it appears that the idea of adding $200 rebuys to the event (and other donations) will give his charity $78,270.

  2. DanM

    How do they not have a photo of Ali Nejad?

    I’m not joking that I think this would make good TV, despite the majority of players being no-names. The blind-pressure is high right now, a lot at stake for making the final 6 … a lot of no-names and their fans really starting to believe … the name+picture pros trying to hold their own, with a colorful dude like Teddy Munroe trying to show he is indeed an official Commerce bad-ass, capable of making it through … short-handed tables …

    This right here is some of the best and most exciting poker.

    Would be better if a few more bigger names made it this far, though.

  3. California Jen

    Mekhi out in 13th. Nice showing! (Pardon me while I attempt to mentally connect to his pain right now.)

  4. DanM

    I bet you’d like to feel (what) his pain is.

    (Sorry, weak humor attempt, I know. That joke would be funnier with kerning.)

  5. Kevin Mathers

    I’m sure if they can get at least two of the group of Clements, Deeb, Ali Nejad, Iceman, and Nick Gonzalez they’ll be happy.

  6. California Jen

    Oh Dan. Definitely a bit weak but I saw where you were going with it…and like it.

  7. Kevin Mathers

    Final table consists of Clements, Deeb, Gonzalez, Tavares, Hall and Tassone. Ali Nejad gets the dreaded seventhbok (and no money).

  8. BJ Nemeth

    We have had photos of Ali Nejad in the past, but we never had him in our chip counts before. Adding a photo to the chip counts is a separate process and a not-minor pain in my ass, so it often gets put off.

    It’s unfortunate that you screen-grabbed those chip counts right at the time that we were filling in all of the photos. (We have chip count photos for everyone on your list now.)

  9. DanM

    I know how all that can go, BJ … websites and tournament coverage can be hard. So was I right? Was this part of the tournament particularly exciting?

    ***It’s unfortunate that you screen-grabbed those chip counts right at the time that we were filling in all of the photos.***

    You mean it’s unfortunate that I gave the WPT all those free links and brand promotion by relaying factual, uncopyrightable info? OK, sorry BJ, I semi-jest … maybe we can take some of this up on The Poker Beat.

    I’m no technical guy (but I know a few) … but the WPT could look provide a “script” for websites to run their updates, so that everyone else’s website running tournament info would update along with the WPT site. I know this is a little antithetical to the WPT’s ownership philosophy, but it’s essentially the same thing that HSP does by putting their episodes up on YouTube and letting others embed.

  10. BJ Nemeth

    Three Things:

    1. That stage of the tournament (final two tables) *was* exciting, but in a different way than most WPT events. The blind structure and type of players meant there was a much higher variance — from our point of view, it was much more of a pure numbers game than usual. (Meaning skill was less of a factor.)

    I openly “jinxed” it when there were 8 players left, pointing out the five that I wanted at the final table (Iceman, Ali Nejad, Freddy Deeb, Scott Clements, and celeb Nick Rodriguez). I also said the best two players to make the final table would be Iceman and Ali Nejad, and of course they busted in 8th and 7th respectively.

    Thankfully, I don’t believe in jinxes. Oh, if only I had that kind of power …

    2. I’ve never argued that chip counts were copyrightable. But those who work against the system usually have to work outside of it. You don’t cover WPT events, so you don’t have much to lose. But at the WSOP, I know you enjoy having your pretty WSOP media badge, and wouldn’t sacrifice that by running constantly-updated chip counts here at Pokerati.

    And yes, I agree that posting those chip counts here on Pokerati in that one post was a net benefit to the WPT’s Live Updates. (That opinion is my own, and may or may not represent the WPT’s views.)

    3. Putting a clip on YouTube *after the episode airs* is more comparable to the fact that the WPT’s Casinos send out full lists of official chip counts at the end of each night. Everyone is encouraged to report those chip counts to their heart’s content.

    High-Stakes Poker doesn’t stream their episodes to YouTube simultaneously with their debut on TV, or let other TV stations run the same program in the same timeslot. Chip counts are like comedy (in more ways than one) — timing is everything.

  11. DanM

    Hmm, very good points, asshole!.

    The only thing I might kinda sorta slightly disagree with you on is that HSP wouldn’t let others run streaming “live” video. GSN might not like that — depends on how their ad deals are for the show. But ultimately, the more eyeballs they can get on their show (and ads embedded into it) the better.

    Though this comparison is a bit of a stretch, if you see Pokerati (or any other site for that matter) as just a viewing device, it’s kinda like making sure your show is compatible with both Sony AND Samsung TVs.

  12. BJ Nemeth

    Your comparison is a *huge* stretch!

    WPT’s Live Updates are compatible with everything from Apple’s laptops to Dell’s towers to Linux-powered netbooks. Our updates can be viewed in different browsers (Safari, Firefox, Camino, Internet Explorer) and in both Mac and Windows.

    Pokerati is comparable to a TV channel, not a TV manufacturer. And if you’ll notice, GSN is the only TV channel that has “High-Stakes Poker.” (And the only place where GSN receives ad revenue from the show.)

  13. DanM

    Not totally true. HSP also runs on YouTube (which is trying to become a major network) and, via the transitive property … a full episode is also running on Pokerati.

    What’s a little odd about that is there are no ads in the after-runs. This convo is a very theoretical one, though, as we get into content distribution in the 21st century. I personally think wanna believe that those who share will thrive. But I could see so many other possibilities taking shape. I was going to make a comparison about how people wouldn’t pay to watch TV, but then I remembered cable.

  14. DanM

    PS … I really wish Teddy Munroe woulda made the final table, even though he’s a non-hand-washer on breaks.

  15. BJ Nemeth

    As I mentioned, “High Stakes Poker” doesn’t appear on YouTube until *after* it airs. You are encouraged to run WPT chip counts at the end of each day to your heart’s content!

    You can also do a full analysis of all the chip counts during the tournament, creating cool graphs that show different player’s progress and who knows what else. (Let’s be honest, *you* couldn’t do this. But I’m sure Kevmath could — and the WPT wouldn’t have a problem.)

    What you can’t do is stream the same content at the same time, without facing some consequences. If a local NBC affiliate received a copy of “High Stakes Poker” and decided to run it in the same timeslot to help out their viewers who didn’t subscribe to cable, don’t you think they’d be receiving a phone call from GSN’s lawyers?

    You’re also blurring the line between GSN and HSP in your points. Yes, HSP would *love* to appear on multiple channels in the short run, while GSN would *hate* it. HSP wants ratings, while GSN wants ad revenue. They are related goals, but not exactly the same. If HSP can’t control the distribution of their own product, then channels like GSN won’t be willing to pay for it. (Why pay if you — and others — can get it for free?)

    P.S. — Teddy “Iceman” Monroe is a one-man WPT episode unto himself. He could have generated our highest ratings in years!

  16. Kevin Mathers

    BJ, that HSP episode was put up by GSN BEFORE it aired Sunday night. There was a post on 2+2 putting up the link during the 9pm ET hour.

  17. BJ Nemeth

    This is why I prefer arguing with Dan rather than Kevmath. Kevmath is a fact-finding machine, while Dan and I prefer to make up facts to suit our own purposes. More than once I’ve thought that Kevmath is actually a team of 12 researchers working around the clock to read and watch *everything* that is even remotely related to poker. Seriously, if we ever have poker media awards, I’m proposing that Kevmath gets his own category so the rest of us don’t have to compete with him.

    Okay, this changes my YouTube argument a bit.

    The networks (like GSN) don’t fear YouTube on computer screens, which is where it lives for most people now. If you re-watch the awesome Hulu commercial from the Superbowl, you’ll notice how Alec Baldwin talks about watching Hulu on your computer screens, your telephones, and other portable devices — but he specifically leaves out TVs. They do *not* want you watching Hulu on your big-screen TV.

    (Yes, I know some people have that capability through a variety of methods, but it is nowhere near the mainstream … yet.)

    If mainstream America can easily call up YouTube and Hulu videos on their big-screen TVs, you will see the relationship between TV networks and YouTube change quite a bit.

    The difference between GSN and YouTube is far greater than the difference between and GSN won’t pay as much for the rights to episodes that continue to run on The Travel Channel. (And the Travel Channel would have payed far less the first time around if they weren’t guaranteed exclusivity.)

  18. BJ Nemeth

    Call my crazy, but this New York Times article seems far more relevant to our discussion than YouTube vs. GSN:

  19. Kevin Mathers

    Thanks for the kind words BJ, now if I could monetize this “ability”. I think GSN’s idea for putting up full episodes on Youtube (like I mentioned when embedding the show) is that they want the eyeballs to go to them to see a full episode, instead of Pokertube, CardPlayerTube, torrent sites, etc. I was watching the stream for a few minutes, and besides the fact that it was poor quality, it had plenty of commercials for products that were in the standard GSN viewer demo (plus CardPlayer shilling for their subscription site and cruise line, since they did pay to gets its name on the HSP felt). I hope they do this for every episode, and they had three separate spoilers for HSP in the past week to Youtube and Itunes. The people watching are unlikely to be Nielsen viewers anyways, so I’d think it acts like a bonus to them.

  20. DanM

    Fascinating NYT article … and indeed, these are the issues in play. You’re going to see competing business models and competing legal interpretations surrounding it all.

    I’m tempted to move this convo over to Kevin’s post with the HSP YouTube episode … but then we’d start blurring the lines between forums and blogs, and I don’t even want to get into that blurry business.

    Regarding the monetization of poker info-sharing … would you like me to send you another T-shirt?

  21. DanM

    BTW, I manually “scraped” those WPT chip counts (and images, which are a bit more legally questionable for me to use). I did it with no ethical dilemma, however, because the links were driving traffic (and Google juice) to the WPT website.

    Manually scraping and keeping up with everything is not a great option. But if the WPT made it easy for me to auto-scrape (or embed) certain things (like chip counts), they could use that as a way to drive people to more protectable content on their site.

    Heck, they could even make your chip counts into a widget “presented by” … which would increase the value they are providing advertisers everytime someone else did post their stuff.

  22. DanM

    ***Dan and I prefer to make up facts to suit our own purposes***

    BJ, don’t give away all my secrets!

  23. Huff

    Just a small correction. Jennifer Tilly was also on Perez Hilton, and his goofy Microsoft paint writing on her photo was positive. He also called her hot in the post I believe.

  24. DanM

    Who do you think you are, Huff, Kevin Mathers?