Shulman vs. Negreanu

by , Oct 1, 2009 | 4:42 pm

Spoiler Alert:

Shulman wins, Negreanu Lederers It

They’re heads-up at the WSOP-E main event … Barry Shulman vs. Daniel Negreanu.

Dare I say I’m rooting for Shulman? Not sure I really believe that. But I do like the father-son storyline possibilities for the November Nine.

(Barry apparently just became a grandfather a few days ago, btw. Not sure if it was his first or 17th, but word is that son Happy just spawned new Shulman progeny.)

Follow the action here.


UPDATE: LOL, as per the PokerNews ShoutBox, I guess it’s official, I’m rooting for Barry. Not sure how that happened!

50 Comments to “Shulman vs. Negreanu”

  1. California Jen

    You are rooting for Shulman! I just saw your comment in the PokerNews shout box. My, my, my.

  2. DanM

    Hey, for the most part I root for the storyline. And when I have no loyalty either way, how can I not side with Pokerati’s myspace friends!?!

  3. Jason B

    It would be really funny if Negreanu won the WSOP Europe main event, but cant win the WSOP Main Event. He’ll be the Charlie Brown of the Poker Community.

  4. DanM

    BTW, if I’m doing my time-zone math right, it’s 3:30 am in London. Love that the heads-up is going down at that hour. Old-school poker in the Poker New World.

  5. BJ Nemeth

    It’s 2:43 am in London — you’re probably forgetting about our Daylight Savings Time.

    I believe this is Barry’s first blood-related grandchild. (He may have picked up step-grandchildren when he married Allyn, but I don’t know anything about her side of the family.) Jeff only has one sibling, who I’m pretty certain has no children.

  6. BJ Nemeth

    BetFair’s live updates page is really, really weird. There is room on the page for only one update (the most recent), but room for *SEVEN* Twitter messages from random people. To scroll through past updates, you have to click for each and every update, one at a time. Yuck! I definitely prefer the live updates format at (FYI, it is the exact same content on both sites, provided by PokerNews reporters.)

    Personally, I’ve been very frustrated by the live updates. It seemed to be nearly hand-for-hand coverage for a while, but it’s completely fallen apart during the heads-up battle. Just because there aren’t any big pots doesn’t mean there isn’t any action.

    It’s like watching a pitcher’s duel in baseball. The casual fan says there is no action because there haven’t been any big hits or runs scored. But the hard-core fans are riveted, and would never be satisfied with inning-by-inning updates that simply said, “Nothing important happened. The score is still zero to zero.”

  7. DanM

    i’m happy to wait to see the action on TV. I’m just checking chip counts and the PokerNews Shoutbox.

    I can handle the 0-0 score — some of the best soccer games I’ve ever watched were nil-nil draws.

    re: betfair’s updates. indeed, i think they should hire an experienced blogger-internetty-poker-media type to advise them on improvement for Betfair live updates v. 2.0.

  8. California Jen

    BJ, you’re not the only one frustrated by live updates. But in PokerNews’ defense, they do a fantastic job with the number of people they have on hand. And the updates are amusing to boot.

    However, if they stopped responding to every yahoo (yes, Dan, I’m talking to you – LOL) in the shout box, they could concentrate better. 🙂

  9. DanM

    Seriously, check this out … this is a GOOD UPDATE — way more beneficial than actual posts on all these hands. (Clearly Djinn has learned a thing or two from Martin Tyler.)

    30 minutes ago | Posted by Djinn

    All the Numbers and Letters Starting to Swirl
    So many flops are coming down in this heads up match, but so few get past one or t’other of these two betting them that they’re starting to feel like a card patchwork or a flop simulator of some sort. Bearing in mind that no more than three big blinds will have changed hands per flop in this list, and that the balance of chip power has in no way altered, here are some flops for you, just to fill in the time I’ve spent watching and recording and give you an idea what I mean:

    That’s obviously what the players are seeing, too.

  10. BJ Nemeth

    How many reporters do they need? I’ve spent most of my tournament reporting career doing hand-for-hand updates by myself, including some marathon events that lasted until sunrise.

    Even if they feel that the action is too quick for them to provide regular hand-for-hand updates, there are other ways of reporting the action to keep the readers informed on a timely basis. In the last 30 minutes of the last blind level, about half of the updates were about how hard it was to keep up with the fast action. The reporters should never be the story.

    Thankfully, the reporting seems to have picked up a bit after that 20-minute break.

  11. DanM

    I really think the coverage is fine. I enjoyed reading about the security issue with the illegit filmer … because you know a site like Pokerati would post the youtube of it ASAP.

    I only wish PN had more regular pictures. 4 an hour would be an acceptable pace, but 6 would be AWESOME.

  12. BJ Nemeth

    The security issue received one sentence and a parenthetical, which could have easily been posted between hands. That’s certainly no excuse for poor coverage of the actual event.

    Dan, I don’t feel any need for 4-6 photos per hour, at least from the tournament reporters. What kind of photos would you like to see? Do you think they would aid in following the action? (I’m asking these questions with a straight face; consider it market research for my own job.)

    Sure, if PokerNews had an unlimited budget, it’d be fantastic if they had a professional photographer on hand whose only job was to capture great, emotional photos and post them as quickly as possible. But their tournament-reporting budget has been heading in the wrong direction lately, so that’s rather unrealistic. (And as long as we’re being unrealistic, why not ask for streaming video?)

  13. Kevin Mathers

    Re: Betfair’s updates page, it’s a good idea to have it all in one spot but the Twitter thing is an epic fail. Seeing numerous spammish tweets doesn’t really help one follow the action, would have been better to have a set list of people and take it from there.

  14. BJ Nemeth

    The Twitter thing, in and of itself, doesn’t bother me that much. (I can just ignore it.)

    But leaving enough room for only *one* live update? If two are posted in quick succession, how would I know that I missed one without clicking back through them? One update by itself provides no context.

  15. DanM

    I’m totally not complaining. I don’t follow too many tournaments live online, but this one has kept me checking back all friggin’ day, and I haven’t moaned or groaned even once.

    Ultimately, I’m trying to feel like I’m there. And to me, that is captured more visually than by any actual hands (which I know I will later see on TV.)

    The only HANDS I care about are major turning points, hero calls, super-tough decisions for big pots, stuff like that … There aren’t gonna be that many of those, of course.

    So maybe I’m being greedy on the pictures. 3 an hour. One every 20 minutes, let’s go with that. It would be like a movie at a really slow frame rate.

    What would you shoot? Here are 12 examples, to cover four hours:

    — pic of opening, comparative chip stacks
    — pic of negreanu scooping in a pot
    — pic of shulman scooping in a pot
    — pic of exhuberant audience cheering negreanu
    — pic of barry looking all serious
    — pic of negreanu after losing the lead
    — pic of illicit videographer being escorted out
    — pic of whole final table, showing the bright tv lights to quietly suggest heat and glare taking a toll
    — pic of a board with a massive chip-pile next to it (big pot hand)
    — pic of shulman looking more relaxed
    — pic of negreanu looking all serious and bearing down
    — pic of someone (effel, pollack, shulman, negreanu, whoever) drinking water or looking at watch

    You could plausibly do this with two people — one live-update reporter, and one photog, both working their butt off with no breaks — but it would probably work better with three so the photog could snap 30 frames or so, hand off the memory card, go snap 30 more …

    It amuses me, BJ, how you, as a great poker photog, often tend to dismiss the impact of a powerful image!

  16. DanM

    My apologies for being disingenuous to the readers … I’m giving a little extra love to Betfair because we are “special friends”, but personally I am following the action at PokerNews.

  17. Kevin Mathers

    For pictures at the final table:

  18. DanM

    nice find kev. (i had already seen those shots of each player – i get the same email.) but a little more action shots … mixed in with some stills.

    check it out, BJ, here’s why this is clearly a “real bracelet” event … in re our dispute on The Poker Beat.

  19. Kevin Mathers

    In that thread there may be some video of bustout hands, the guy was filming from above and may have gotten kicked out. The accent’s a bit to handle, but you get used to it.

  20. BJ Nemeth

    “It amuses me, BJ, how you, as a great poker photog, often tend to dismiss the impact of a powerful image!”

    Believe me, if I were there, I’d be doing nothing but capturing “powerful images” to post. But nobody had the budget to send me. My disagreement with you isn’t that photos aren’t valuable, I just feel that they are less valuable than being able to follow the action. I’d rather listen to a baseball game live on the radio than get six photos an hour with inning-by-inning updates.

    In a perfect world, yes, have plenty of photos. (Throughout my reporting career, I’ve fought for this.) But if the budget is capped and resources have to be prioritized, let me know what’s happening first. One photo of each player (so I can recognize who they are) is enough — more than that is a bonus.

    Also, the fact that this event is respected by the players and it rewards the winner with a big pile of money has nothing to do with whether or not these bracelets are counted the same as Vegas WSOP bracelets. WPT events give out more money than every non-$40K+ preliminary WSOP event, and they all come with bracelets — but we don’t count them toward career bracelet totals. Why not? Because they’re different. Not less respected, just different. (If anything players respect a WPT title more than they do a prelim WSOP bracelet.)

    The WSOP is different than the WSOP-E. That’s all I’m saying. If Negreanu wins tonight, in his heart of hearts he’ll know that he still hasn’t won the WSOP Main Event.

  21. DanM

    Friggin awesome … I totally dig the semi-underground video! (Even though I understand why they had to boot the guy out.) Wonder what they Nutz’s relationship with Betfair really is … and how that little shoving match went down with someone plausibly semi-connected to the title sponsor vs. ESPN.

    BTW, it’s turned into a total boxing match now between Negreanu and Shulman. For a big pile of pounds as can be seen above. Prize fight of the year so far, imho.

    UPDATE: super bummer the embed isn’t working. direct link:

  22. Kevin Mathers

    They’ve been handling interviews and such throughout the WSOPE, so the relationship must be a friendly one, although doing some of this stuff during the ME may be taking things too far. The website has been covering a lot of UK tournaments, usually a couple of static cameras with the guy you hear on the coverage providing commentary.

  23. DanM

    ***and they all come with bracelets — but we don’t count them toward career bracelet totals. ***

    Funny, you can’t know this, but I’m working on an op-ed piece in defense of the WPT bracelet, and why it maybe-should be included when we talk of how many bracelets someone has. (feel free to agree or disagree, but i’m not gonna blow my wad in the comments now.)

    ***If Negreanu wins tonight, in his heart of hearts he’ll know that he still hasn’t won the WSOP Main Event.***

    i can agree with you that the “main event” tag doesn’t apply. I see the WSOP-E “main event” bracelet as equivalent to a non-main-event WSOP-LV bracelet.

    The main-main event is the one that gets the asterisk, however, not the WSOP-E.

  24. Kevin Mathers

    How about a bracelet that was offered DURING the Main Event in Vegas? Praz Bansi’s bracelet in 2006 was in such an event, do you consider those “real” bracelets?

  25. DanM

    btw, do you know who Djinn is? He or she gets a big thumbs-up, imho.

  26. BJ Nemeth

    If you want to count major victories as a new stat, that’s fine. But counting all major victories (WSOP, WPT, EPT, WCOOP, etc.) as “bracelets” the way that Hellmuth or Harrah’s tracks them is just silly. You’re trying to redefine the language that’s already in heavy usage. Good luck with that.

    Djinn = Jennifer Mason. She’s actually a very good tournament reporter that I like a lot. (She used to work for Blonde Poker out of Europe.) She’s also a fairly accomplished poker player in her own right:

    Profile on Jen:

  27. BJ Nemeth

    KevMath – I wasn’t a fan of those events, but those bracelets are as real as any other WSOP prelim bracelet. Just unfortunate scheduling. I’ve never seen anyone in the media count them separately. I have, however, seen lots of instances where poker writers and fans talk/write about WSOP Europe bracelets differently.

  28. DanM

    *** My disagreement with you isn’t that photos aren’t valuable, I just feel that they are less valuable than being able to follow the action.***

    I’ll give you this, BJ … that maybe it depends when and where the reader/listener/viewer is.

    I happen to be in front of the computer all day today … so I’d love pics and youtube-ish vid … to complement the live action coverage and chatbox fun. But I am multitasking, so I wouldn’t be able to pay too much attention to live audio-video (though it might be fine in the background).

    But if I were out and about, I’d want really just short, quick, tweets, essentially.

    If I were in a car for any period of time, I’d want to listen to the equivalent of a radio broadcast (as difficult as that must be through the dry parts).

  29. DanM

    Ah, Jen Mason! I know here well. Of course she’s doing a good job. She always does.

    She, Snoopy, and Howard represent the British crew well. They understand the value/power of good hedlines and subtle turns of phrase.

  30. BJ Nemeth

    I actually thought the balance of coverage back in the “old days” (2005) was very good. You had me at Card Player providing hand-for-hand live updates at the final table, you had Jen Creason at PokerWire providing nothing but big hands and chip counts (highlights), and you had Mike Paulle at PokerPages providing a more colorful, personal description of the action in a blog format.

    I agree 100% that hand-for-hand updates are *not* for everyone. But when it comes to the biggest events, I consider it to be part of the historical record. These are the final tables that the hard-core fans want to break down, stats-wise. We want to see how Daniel Negreanu won, or how he lost — and highlights aren’t enough to tell that story.

    My feeling is that good hand-for-hand updates are accessible by everyone, even if it’s more information than the casual fans need. (I’d love hand-for-hand updates with a static “Here’s the Current Situation” update to bring new viewers quickly up to speed — but I don’t get to design the websites.)

    Check out some of the recent final table coverage at I’ll put that up against anything that isn’t streaming video — and in a lot of cases, you’ll get more information out of our coverage. (Lots of fans in the WPT stands follow our coverage on their smartphones, because it gives them a better idea of what’s going on even though they are in the same room.)

  31. DanM

    another check it out:

    makes me wonder if Negreanu — eye on the prize — didn’t have a seat advantage over Bansi and Mercier.

  32. Kevin Mathers

    Is it time to wonder how many hands the heads-up battle will get on ESPN in February/March?

  33. DanM

    20 hands max. 24 if it goes into EXTREME overtime.

    As long as we’re discussing coverage, one thing ESPN could do when it comes to heads-up coverage is not try to fool the viewers into thinking there are no breaks in the action. No biggie to go from one hand to the next, and explain in a few spoken sentences what happened in the 6 hands in between.

    (Justification for BJ’s hand-for-hand record theory.)

  34. Kevin Mathers

    20 hands? That’s an hour of programming.

  35. DanM

    I don’t think ESPN gets that many hands in in an hour, but yeah … if i were cutting this episode, i think i’d go one hour of early action (with lots of side features), one hour of in-the-money action, one hour of final table action, and one hour of heads-up.

    simple enough. would keep me following for a couple weeks, or watching altogether later on ESPN classic.

    (and i WOULD try to show more hands per hour. i often HATE the “dramatic” delays waiting for river cards.)

  36. BJ Nemeth

    I don’t think Dan has a firm understanding of how many hands are shown during televised final tables.

  37. DanM

    Agreed, BJ. Clue me in so i can adjust the numbers accordingly in my mind.

    How many hands-per-hour does ESPN usually average?

    Different than the WPT (on television)?

  38. Kevin Mathers

    There may be video of the pivotal hand online soon, stay tuned.

  39. DanM

    if you’ve got the secret connex, KM, tell them to get their embed code right!

  40. Kevin Mathers

  41. Pauly

    Wow, BJ, no love for Tao in 2005? Last time I checked, Tao of Poker outlasted both Poker Pages and Poker Wire.

  42. BJ Nemeth

    No disrespect intended, Pauly, but I was thinking of early 2005, before the WSOP. Once the WSOP came around, the number of tournament reporters expanded to include Tao of Poker and a few others (many of which didn’t last long).

    At the dawn of live tournament coverage, there were only three of us — Jen Creason, Mike Paulle, and me — and we were the only reporters at every major tournament in the U.S. (WPT, WSOP, WSOP Circuit). That was 3-4 tournaments per month, back when the field sizes were exploding so quickly that days *never* ended before midnight.

    The three of us were very conscious in our counter-programming of each other, even if our bosses weren’t. The three of us respected each other and openly helped each other, and we all felt that our websites were filling different needs/preferences for the fans at home. I didn’t mind at all if people preferred PokerWire’s headline-style updates over Card Player’s thorough hand-for-hand, nor did I mind if they preferred Mike Paulle’s blog-style updates.

    In my example above, I wasn’t trying to give a history lesson so much as I was trying to make a point about different reporting styles, looking back to a time when the differences were clear and obvious. (Like when there were only 3 major TV networks.)

    I would *never* leave the Tao of Poker out of a historical look at tournament reporting. (Or a current look, for that matter.)

  43. Poker Shrink

    These are the type of discussions that only happen on Pokerati. I applaud both Dan and all the contributors for airing some of the inner workings of tournament coverage.

    Not to hijack the thread but I just posted this comment on Twitter: “The reaction of alleged poker “media” to the Shulman over Negreanu match demonstrates the very lack of professionalism they complain about.”


  44. DanM

    When it comes to Barry Shulman, I am a total fanboy, @TimLavalli.

  45. Poker Shrink

    The overwhelming tone, particularly on Twitter, was anti-Shulman. Not even pro-Negreanu, it was against Barry Shulman. And while that is to be expected in the forums and other dark holes of the internet; IMHO when someone puts their writing out there as some form of reportage of the facts, then one should also put personal prejudice aside. There are exceptions, gonzo reporting has several outstanding representatives in poker and they should not abide by such ethics. But the collective conscious that leaked out of the mainstream poker media last night was lopsided, prejudice and sad.

  46. BJ Nemeth

    Since this comment thread is already hugely long, and pretty much on-topic for the tournament while it’s in play, can we move this discussion to the post where Barry Shulman is declared the winner? I have a lot to say on this, and I expect others do to.

    You can find my comments here:

  47. Matthew Parvis

    I’ll chime in here. Being the first event I was at for PokerNews, I was extremely impressed by the fantastic job our staff did. Unlike the WPT updates, which are paid for and facilitated by the WPT, PokerNews covered this event out of respect for poker, and the WSOP. We had no contractual obligations to be there, had no special set up, and although Harrahs and the WSOP were fantastic to us, all in all we were bounced around rather liberally by the production staff with the TV table having hockey like boards surrounding it. The dealers often did not pull the cards into the camera view during show downs during a large portion of heads up. If you have never seen, or experienced the venue you would know why there were not many photographs, and there was not hand for hand coverage. Once you were in a spot, you stayed there — there was no free movement. The chip counts that some here were so diligently applauding via Jeffrey and my own twitter feed were wrong half the time, with the PokerNews staff pointing it out on a few different occasions.

    I was proud to be a part of the coverage, and I was proud of everyone from PokerNews, including Dana who was sick the entire night — and even with me constantly urging her to go home would refused to abandon her post.

  48. DanM

    I’m sorry I did not give Dana the love I gave Djinn. they were a solid team.

    All I ever root for is good poker (and good storylines), and they definitely delivered. Their coverage was the base of my following, which I supplemented with BJ debate and imagery from a poker forum I previously hadn’t heard of.

    I was brought into it all by @JeffreyPollack’s tweets, but I didn’t really tune back in to twitter until it was all over. I really liked your pic of the street-cleaner at sunrise, btw, parvis.

  49. Matthew Parvis

    No apologies necessary for anyone Dan. I just wanted to point out a few things that could not be seen from the states.

  50. Matthew Parvis

    By the way, and I need to bring this to our web team, but twitter is far more efficient for quick hand by hand coverage than any CMS in existence right now. I was using a widget off my mac, and it was utterly instantaneous. Now if it only allowed more than 140 characters, there would have been far fewer cliff hangers.