Daniel Negreanu Is Right in All the Wrong Ways

There’s more to WSOP media coverage than accurate chip counts

by , Jun 10, 2010 | 1:06 pm

Anonymous Pro


Daniel Negreanu is the E.F. Hutton of poker. He relishes the role. He knows that if in the throes of passion he utters, “Do it. Do it. Do it just like that. Make sure there is a 150-300 level!” that — no matter whether he ends the night in warm, introspective afterglow –the tournament he plays the next day will have a 150-300 level. It’s the perk of being the most outspoken of the best poker players in the world. You’re allowed to open your mouth, makes billionaires dance, and change the world in which you live on a whim. It would be something you could respect about Kid Poker, if he only knew when to keep his mouth shut.

There was a time when world markets turned on whether Alan Greenspan had a good breakfast. The same is true of Negreanu. With a mere sneer, he can change the structure of a tournament. With a grumble in his tummy, he can get tofu served in the casino kitchen. With a wink and a smile, he can create a television show. His words—almost always—are game changers.

Make no mistake: most of the mainstream poker media exists because of and at the will of the online poker companies. If not for direct or indirect funding from the likes of Full Tilt and PokerStars, most poker magazines and websites you read regularly would go under in six months or less. It’s not a matter of news; it’s a matter of how they create revenue to stay afloat.

Ninety percent of time, the Negreanu-affected changes make the poker world better. There is no denying the man’s intelligence, skill, or innovative acumen. The problem is, Negreanu doesn’t respect his power. He wields it like a drunk with a gun. Most of the time he knows to keep it in his pants. Ten percent of the time, he waves it around the bar threatening to shoot whomever he’s imagined has upset his sense of order or eaten his veggie burger.

The problem with Negreanu being right most of the time is that people are afraid to tell him when he’s wrong. Or, perhaps, it’s that he’s grown so used to being right that he can’t ever imagine he might be at least a little incorrect. It’s hubris mixed with success that fuels his never-ending quest to make everything as he likes it.

And so it came that Kid Poker put a gun to the head of the poker media and pulled the trigger. It didn’t matter to him that he hadn’t thought the issue through. It didn’t matter to him that he was tarnishing his reputation with the people who worked very hard to keep him famous. It only mattered that his chip count was wrong and that made him angry, because he has fans that want to know. It is, as always, for the fans, isn’t it?

* * *

On his blog, Negreanu wrote, “Seriously if ALL [PokerNews] had were just chip counts with zero hand updates, but the chip counts were on point, it would be better than the current coverage by a mile.”

The business of reporting on poker isn’t rocket science. It’s half effort, half art, neither half of which is respected by most of the people who play the game or read about it. It’s a new profession built on respect for such greats as Andy Glazer and Nolan Dalla. It has its good writers, and it has it’s bad ones, but it’s a craft for which few people have shown a real talent, and those people are often rewarded with just enough work to put food on the table. This is both because so many people want to do the job, and because media providers know they can get away with paying as little as possible as a result. Like any venture, people produce poker reporting for profit, and if there is no profit, it’s unlikely to get done.

Make no mistake: most of the mainstream poker media exists because of and at the will of the online poker companies. If not for the direct or indirect funding of companies like Full Tilt and PokerStars, most of the poker magazines and websites you read would go under in six months or less. The people who believe they are reading objective reporting might be amused to learn that some magazines are completely (and silently) funded by single online poker companies. Other magazines sell cover stories as part of ad buys. It’s not a matter of news. It’s a matter of how the magazines can create “nontraditional” revenue to stay afloat.

PokerNews—the official provider of World Series of Poker reports—is no different. It exists at the will of online poker companies. A majority of the company’s income comes from online poker affiliate revenue. Its tournament reporting arm is a loss leader, with the emphasis on loss. But for a timely bailout by an online poker company, PokerNews’ live tournament reporting section would have been dissolved more than a year ago.

PokerNews has the exclusive contract to report on the WSOP. It takes great pains to guard that exclusivity. Media restrictions on non-PokerNews reporters are strict. Other companies are granted—in most cases—no more than three media credentials. Photography is closely monitored and non-PokerNews photographers have restricted access to the action. Writers who are not part of the PokerNews cabal are restricted from posting timely information. Live updates of the action are verboten. Why? Because it is possible that another company could come in and do the job better. To allow anyone to come in and report would threaten PokerNews’ reputation. It would prove beyond a doubt that the job could be done better. PokerNews’ ownership—like the first exclusive provider, CardPlayer magazine—does everything it can to make sure it has complete control over timely information. Why? Because PokerNews saw what happened to CardPlayer after its disastrous effort in 2006. It was replaced, and rightly so.

This is where Daniel Negreanu is right. PokerNews’ efforts in the early part of the 2010 WSOP were not what they should’ve been. This is, however, not the fault of the reporters and editors on the ground. They work long, tireless days and produce the best possible reports they can under the circumstances. If something is wrong or incomplete, it’s not because they are lazy or incompetent. It’s because PokerNews has chosen to benefit from its contract with the WSOP while spending as little money as possible to get the job done. What’s more, the WSOP is letting PokerNews get away with it.

The people in the field—the writers, field reporters, editors, et al—know how PokerNews should be staffed. To properly cover the WSOP requires a dedicated team of chip counters who never have to look at a card, a dedicated team of field reporters and writers who only have to count stacks as a function of reporting the hands, and a team of editors overlooking it all to make sure it’s comprehensive and correct. None of the above would be an innovation. It’s been done before. It simply requires the will to spend the money. PokerNews currently refuses to do that. It’s field reporters and bloggers are working so hard on half the job, they can’t fully do the other half. Why? It’s impossible.

To fully fund a respectable operation would force PokerNews to cut into its profit, or the WSOP to spend money on a company willing to put forth the requisite effort to cover the event as it should be covered. Instead, the whole of the coverage is forced on a team of competent reporters and writers that are so stretched and dealing with a poorly-funded operation that they can’t do their jobs as well as they could be done. For this, the grunts in the field at PokerNews have received a classic Negreanu public rubdown. It’s enough that most of the people who give their all to the job should want to walk away with their middle finger held high in the air.

They don’t, however, because they both need the job and they love the game. They stick around because they rightly believe they are the best for the job. Given the proper funding and a fair system, they could go it on their own and do the job better than they could under the PokerNews reign.

* * *

Is there a solution? Well, there are many. The WSOP could open the floor to any company that could do a better job or PokerNews could actually fund its operation as it should be funded. Will either happen? It’s unlikely, but it’s more likely if people like Negreanu actually cast the blame where it belongs.

See, that’s the thing.

Negreanu is right.

The reporting at PokerNewss should be a lot better, but it won’t be until the WSOP forces the ownership of PokerNews to honor its contract, and until PokerNews’ ownership realizes that its lack of proper funding is the root of its embarrassment. If Negreanu were to say this, it might lead to some important change. Instead, he suggests PokerNews simply report chip counts, a not-so-tacit suggestion that the reporters are incapable of doing their jobs.

Will Negreanu take up this cause? That remains to be seen. It may be he’s offering his opinion without realizing he could make a difference if only he focused on the right thing.

In the meantime, Daniel Negreanu owes the poker media an apology. PokerNews owes its readers an apology. The WSOP owes its fans an apology. The problem is not with the reporting. The problem is a symptom of a systemic failure fueled by greed and ignorance that won’t be solved until somebody important stands up and forces the change.

Mr. Negreanu, I kindly submit that you could make the difference.

The writer of these opinions is an accomplished player and respected member of the poker industry who has asked to remain unnamed so as not to jeopardize current relationships and future opportunities with online poker sites and poker media outlets.

59 Comments to “Daniel Negreanu Is Right in All the Wrong Ways ”

  1. Poker Shrink

    That’s OK Dan you can name me…. Oh wait! this isn’t my post with all four letter words edited out.

  2. Trop


  3. Trop

    There was exactly one year where there was a perfect storm of enough bloggers and field reporters to cover the series, enough money to pay them what they were worth, and not coincidentally, the fewest complaints. That was the ’08 series. Will we ever see that good coverage again? I hope so.

  4. Mo

    From where I sit, on a couch in Canada with a full blown case of WSOP fever – laptop fired up as soon as I get home. flipping between sites trying to catch the action, up at 5:00am checking in before I go to work, clearly I’m an addict. I love the play by play, can’t say enough about the hand reporting, funny, pithy, extremely well written and easy to understand.

    For those in the room I’m sure an accurate chip count is important. For those of us at home, the updates are like the stories I heard of my parents generation huddled aroung the big ol’ radio every night listening to the news. It’s different than just turning on the TV or opening a newspaper or magazine. It’s real and it’s real time.

  5. Anonymous

    Not so coincidentally 2008 was the year everyone was paid the most. The massive pay cuts people were asked to take in ’09 drove away a lot of the best in that organization.

  6. wtf really?

    I appreciate the writer has strong feelings towards this subject but could not disagree more. We all need jobs but what about ethics? This years coverage has dropped in all areas. I follow the wsop very closely every year. I am micro limit player who likes hearing about hands and prop best I will never experience. The hand histories have been very sparse. I have pokernews live reporting up while working and there sometimes 20 minutes without any posts. It just seems the quality of reporting is lacking across the board.

    As for ethics– You should not work for a company that puts you in a position to fail. We all need a paycheck but if the company is not respected, neither is the employee. Needing a paycheck is a not a reason. I have quit a job that I when i did not agree with the comapany standard operating procedure.

    The writer seemed to also suggest that the reporters will avoid passing on negreanu’s actions. Surely this is not true. Reporters that have a professional work ethic would never allow personal feeling to affect there work. Pokernews mgt should terminate anyone practicing this. I always thought the worse thing a report can do is be the story versus just reporting it. Hopefully I misunderstood this.

    Finally calling Negreanu out publicly while you hide is very disrepectful. This is one of my FAVORITE sites but hate that someone would be allow to anonomously call out a player. If you are afraid of your standing in the poker community then do not attack other people. I believe the apology should come from the poster for calling out negreanu on the internet insteading of just making a private phone call.

  7. Trop

    One problem is that nobody’s found a way to make tournament reporting profitable. It’s a big money loser and has to be propped up by other things in the organization. The best scenario, I think, is what some casinos do: they hire their own reporters and pay them out of the public relations or promotional or advertising budget. They may not get a full monetary return, but they generate enormous goodwill for their company and ultimately increase participation.

    I think next year Harrah’s should pony up with their own team and do it up right, like PokerStars does with its stellar EPT reporting. No more contracting out: Take it in house and treat it like public relations. Sure, the reporters might be restricted at times to what they can and can’t say, especially if there’s controversy, but that’s not any different than now, and we’ll still have independent guys like Pauly telling it like it is.

  8. BJ Nemeth

    “It only mattered that his chip count was wrong and that made him angry, because he has fans that want to know.”

    That is a complete misrepresentation. (I’ve talked to Daniel about this after he published that blog entry.)

    Negreanu is a very smart guy and very savvy about the industry. He knows the issue isn’t the fault of the tournament reporters on the ground, but lies with those in charge. While most of the media was slamming Negreanu on Twitter and in blogs, Negreanu was calling over reporters covering his event the next day to tell them that his rant wasn’t directed at them, and he knew that they were following orders from above. Negreanu felt that the powers-that-be needed to change what they were asking of their field reporters.

    Negreanu isn’t your standard player who just bitches that chip counts should be updated more often and that hands are sometimes wrong. Negreanu is more knowledgeable than most players about live updates — I know, because I’ve discussed the topic in depth with him in the past.

    The last paragraph of Negreanu’s blog entry contains a line that I happen to agree with, at least on Day 1: “Seriously if ALL they had were just chip counts with zero hand updates, but the chip counts were on point, it would be better than the current coverage by a mile.”

    On Day 1, chip counts are the most important thing, because the field size means you’re never going to get quality coverage of individual players. You could report five different Phil Ivey hands, and he could happen to win every single hand, and then bust. Did those hands tell the story of Ivey’s day? No. The same could happen in reverse, where you happen to catch hands where a player is always losing, and then they end the day among the chipleaders.

    In fields as large as those at the WSOP, it’s rare that a group of 3-4 reporters will be in the right place at the right time to catch a key hand on Day 1. But if the chip counts are updated regularly (every hour?), fans can follow their favorite players, get an idea of chipleaders, and see who has already busted. There are plenty of hand updates (with more at stake) for fans to follow on all the final tables and events playing out their Day 2s.

  9. David Alexander


    I so disagree…

    Daniel you are right is Right…

    But, you sorta say it as
    if he’s really not..

    It’s not his place to find
    out who’s responsible..

    He simply sees the bigger picture..

    That bad reporting will affect the
    game.. the media and everything…

    So, why would he owe an apology…
    if what you said was true…

    If he welded the big sword or magic wand
    you allured too.. then it would be fixed..
    and the WSOP would pony up the extra money..

    He’s simply commenting on it… and
    frustrated… and according to you as well..

    rightfully so…

    It’s not his place to know or dig into
    the fact that it’s under funded…

    Or even say that if he knew….

    Apparently, poker news did a bad job of
    negotiating it’s contract…

    And that’s somehow negreanu’s fault…

    Knowing the extra facts that are laid out
    doesn’t change anything…

    I have several businesses…. and We’ve often
    stuck our foot in our mouth.. or agreed to
    do more than we should…. for less..
    and sometimes eaten our profits…

    But, knowing we said we’d do something doesn’t
    change the fact that we did and we “did it right”

    Because at that point it was our reputation
    on the line.. and our business name..

  10. Trop

    Back in the day we were required to revise ALL the chip counts in the system twice an hour. Leaving up a (wrong) chip count on a chipleader, especially a player like Negreanu, all day long was completely unacceptable.

    But I understand we had much larger teams then.

    It’s also the case that counting chips contains a very specific set of skills that requires a lot of practice, and I’ve known great reporters that are completely incapable of it.

  11. Nick

    I don’t agree with everything Daniel writes in his blog but in my opinion this Anonyomous pro is making an issue out of something that does not exist. Nowhere in the blog does Daniel say that the writers of specific hands are incapable or lazy. He just points out that chip counts are more important and that it would be better to keep them updated more than random hand descriptions. This is directed at Pokernews. It is their decision to do it this way. He also points out several helpful suggestions to make the reporting better. The Pokernews coverage has been very spotty especially at the start, an opinion shared by many including yourself. He was putting Pokernews on notice about the way there are handling their business, not personal attacking the reporting staff, so therefore I don’t think he has to apologize for anything. To write a piece as long as this anonymously while agreeing with Daniel about the main issue and then trying to belittle him about something you interpreted as him attacking the actual reporting staff and asking him to apologize says alot more about youself.

  12. Trop

    Ironic that “WTF Really?” calls out Dan for being anonymous when Dan clearly signed his name to the article, and WTF Really is the anonymous one.

  13. BJ Nemeth

    While the article was posted to Pokerati by Dan Michalski, he didn’t write it. As noted at the very end (and by the graphic at the top right of the story), it was written by an anonymous professional poker player.

    “The writer of these opinions is an accomplished player and respected member of the poker industry who has asked to remain unnamed so as not to jeopardize current relationships and future opportunities with online poker sites and poker media outlets.”

  14. BJ Nemeth

    To be fair, I made the same mistake when I first read this. I thought it was written by Dan Michalski, and was curious why he was suddenly so passionate about tournament coverage.

    Dan, you might want to make the distinction more clear. I’d suggest moving that text from the end of the article to the front, because an anonymous op-ed like this is rare for your site — people aren’t expecting it.

    Just a suggestion.

  15. Trop

    Hah! I completely skipped over the italicized bit at the end and assumed this was Michalski’s writing. My bad.

  16. Trop

    An accomplished player AND a respected member of the industry? That actually narrows it WAY down. 🙂 Most industry types are either one or the other.

  17. Simon Young

    Thanks to Trop for highlighting PokerStars’ “stellar EPT reporting” 🙂

    Very interesting article by the Anonymous Pro. I think the main problem with this whole area is that most ‘normal’ people do not understand how poker reporting works; the costs, skills and sheer human effort required; the punishing hours that are worse than just about any other job in the world.

    Many players see reporters wandering around the tournament floor with a notebook and pen and assume they have a cushy life of it, living the high life and jetting around the world. What they don’t necessarily see is the dedication, professionalism, knowledge and editorial skill of those same reporters.

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, of course, especially Daniel, who has a much better grasp of what is involved than most. I know he has great respect for the bloggers’ craft, and to be frank he’s right that chip counting could be more extensive and up to date (and I am NOT singling out Pokernews here). But like others have said, it takes a lot of manpower and technology for more rapid updating of chipcount pages.

    Getting the right balance between reporting and chip counts (not to mention payouts/pictures/videos etc) is the name of the game. While everyone in the industry strives to get there, and believe me it is improving, hopefully more people will come to understand the realities from debates like this.

  18. On the road

    Very interesting article by the Anonymous Pro. I think the main problem with this whole area is that most ‘normal’ people do not understand how poker reporting works; the costs, skills and sheer human effort required; the punishing hours that are worse than just about any other job in the world.

    Many players see reporters wandering around the tournament floor with a notebook and pen and assume they have a cushy life of it, living the high life and jetting around the world. What they don’t necessarily see is the dedication, professionalism, knowledge and editorial skill of those same reporters.

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, of course, especially Daniel, who has a much better grasp of what is involved than most. I know he has great respect for the bloggers’ craft, and to be frank he’s right that chip counting could be more extensive and up to date (and I am NOT singling out Pokernews here). But like others have said, it takes a lot of manpower and technology for more rapid updating of chipcount pages.

    Getting the right balance between reporting and chip counts (not to mention payouts/pictures/videos etc) is the name of the game. While everyone in the industry strives to get there, and believe me it is improving, hopefully more people will come to understand the realities from debates like this.

  19. Matthew Parvis

    I find it interesting that everyone is willing to talk about the PokerNews coverage, but no one is willing to take the time to actually ask me, or any one in PokerNews management about the details of any agreement we have with the WSOP, or why we choose to continue to do the coverage even though it’s harder than ever to make money in live reporting.

  20. BJ Nemeth

    Parvis — I suggested you as a guest for today’s episode of “The Poker Beat” to address this issue, but the consensus was that the topic shouldn’t receive too much emphasis and we should keep it to a quick news brief. The issue seemed to have died down over the past 4-5 days, at least until this editorial was published (which happened after our show recorded).

  21. one time

    Matthew – I think it’s fair for people to comment on the quality of the reporting – whether they know the ins and outs of the deal with Harrahs/WSOP, or the motivations behind continuing to do it.

    Tournament reporting was always a loss from the beginning (especially with how much the rights cost post-Cardplayer), but what the G says goes…any dent in profits from tourney reporting is balanced out by having min-wage Lithuanian tech support and country editors 😉

  22. Matthew Parvis

    Just re-read again, and the entire argument painted by Mr. Anonymous is completely flawed. It is 2010, the deals made by CardPlayer and Bluff are no longer, and this year was very different, but then again nobody chose to look into this did they?

    Funny thing is, there is no exclusivity on the EPT, and the NAPT, etc… Does that change things greatly? What other sites are providing this service to their readers anymore, and doing it with the amount of manpower that we are?

  23. Matthew Parvis

    People can criticize all the coverage all they want, I just wish they would look at it from all sides instead of guessing how things work. I’ve put blood sweat and tears into the WSOP for 6 months leading up to it, and my team works harder than anyone in the poker media and I deserve the right to voice my opinion just like everyone else does.

  24. Spaceman

    Maybe the poker media should just stop providing chip counts for a year and let the players do it themselves with that new-fangled Twitter thing the kids are all talking about.

  25. BJ Nemeth

    “… my team works harder than anyone in the poker media …”

    Let’s agree to say, “as hard as anyone in the poker media.” This sort of thing shouldn’t be a contest, but if it is, I’d definitely like to enter.

  26. Matthew Parvis

    Ok, totally BJ. Agreed. I’m just tilted up right now. It’s not a contest. My apologies.

  27. Trop

    I know Spaceman was joking, but having a dedicated Twitter account where players could DM chip counts sounds like a great idea.

  28. compncards

    The thing is folks that there are ALWAYS grumblings about PokerNews’ coverage. There were even grumblings in 2008. I know. I was on the team that year and did recaps last year.

    There are always going to be mistakes in reporting. There have been a ton this year. There were a ton last year. There were a ton in 2008.

    The only difference is that we have more mouthpieces talking about it. We didn’t have twitter updates in 2008 and in 2009 it was still relatively new.

    Mistakes are always made. It is going to happen. PokerNews will make more mistakes before the end of the year. The question is whether the mistakes significantly detract from the overall coverage. Clearly not as many still and will continue to go there for news, updates, etc.

    One of my favorites saying when someone gets mad about what I say is “Good. That means you are listening.” If people are getting pissed at PokerNews and wanting to slam them, good. That means they are reading.

    Such is my never to be considered or confused to be a humble opinion.

  29. Mean Gene

    I have to disagree with B.J. on whether chip counts are the most important thing on Day 1. I would argue that chip counts on Day 1 are almost pointless–you can’t win the tournament on Day 1, who the chip leader is at the first break is irrelevant, and there are so many more people playing on Day 1 that keeping the counts constantly updated is well-nigh impossible.

    I’ve always thought that on Day 1 you set the scene, tell the readers who’s been eliminated (and how) and who’s doing well (and how). As the day wears on you seek out the big stacks and report on that, but I don’t think there’s much value in constantly updating the ups and downs of 200 players when you’re a day and a half from even making the money. You spend all your time chasing your tail–by the time you collect a round of chip counts and enter them in the system, they’re often obsolete.

  30. BJ Nemeth

    If chip counts are pointless on Day 1, then what is the value of reporting a hand that doesn’t make it to a showdown? Why even cover a tournament at all on Day 1 if the field is so far from reaching the money?

    Mean Gene, the things you describe in your second paragraph are more easily and accurately portrayed in regularly updated chip counts than they are in random hand updates. (I use the word “random” because a reporter has to witness a hand to report it, and more than 95% of Day 1 hands go completely unnoticed.)

    As a fan following a tournament online (which I do myself from time to time), I can scan regularly updated chip counts in the middle of a Day 1 and quickly find the following information:

    1. Who played this event?

    2. Who has been eliminated?

    3. Who is doing well?

    4. How are my favorite players doing?

    With hand updates, I need to do a lot of scanning, and hope that my favorite players happened to have an interesting hand to report recently.

    I am not suggesting that hand updates are worthless; they’re not. But the play-by-play without a scoreboard paints an incomplete picture.

    The fact is that counting chips isn’t fun, and it’s not a creative part of a tournament reporter’s job. But it’s important. Nobody wins a basketball game in the first quarter, but fans would be livid (and righty so) if they couldn’t find the score until halftime.

    Chip counts are the scoreboard of poker. Yes, it requires work, and no, it isn’t a lot of fun. But that’s the information that poker fans expect and deserve, and it’s our job as tournament reporters to give it to them.

  31. wtf really?

    I have been to the wsop a couple of times. I have seen the reporters in action. I commend Mr. Parvis and his team for their effort. I have seen how hard they work.

    Unfortunately, effort has not matched results. You can not report incorrect chip stacks for “popular” players. I will not pretend I am qualified to suggest how this should be done. The hand histories have really been sparse too. Compared to previous years, I am wearing out the refresh button.

    I would like for Dan to answer why someone would be allowed to post in secret. I go to this site everyday. I LOVE it! Is this sop in journalism? Are you at least letting Negreanu know who is calling him out? Why would Pokerati encourage/aid a sneak attack. Just curious how media works?

    I would be happy to give my name if it would avoid any double standard label. If you are afraid of losing sponsors for speaking up then be professional and talk directly and privately to the individual. (Negreanu)

  32. wtf really?

    I completely agree with Mr. Nemeth. I want both summaries and counts but if I had to chose then counts would win out. If a player I am interested is on a remote table then I can just forget trying to follow his/her progress. I mean look at the coverage for Negreanu. There have been very few hands from his action. There might not have been hands worth reporting but I can not tell by the chip count. We know the counts are wrong.

    I again acknowledge to Mr. Parvis and his team effort. Unfortunately his posts have not shed any light on the subject. Hopefully there can be a special pokerbeat or tommorrow’s poker road radio to discuss what actually go into the coverage process.

    I do not have the knowledge but as a consumer it seems that pokernews has a contract to provide the coverage but reduced the staff from years past. Tony G. should also address this too!

  33. Luke Thomas

    Not really sure where to begin here but this article is like one long boring excuse. Bla bla bla.

    A.) There is no excuse for inaccurate timely chip counts from the first shuffle.

    B.) I could give a shit less about the hard work the guys on the ground are putting in. When a customer goes to a restaurant and orders a cheeseburger he/she typically expect a decent burger in a timely manner. What happens when the burger takes 45 minutes. Do I have a right to be upset. What I don’t know is that half the kitchen staff called out sick. Is that my problem. What I do have the ability to do is go someplace else the next time I eat out. To bad this isn’t the case with poker news.

    C.) Yes Daniel has opinions, yes sometimes he is right and yes sometimes he is wrong, people like that. I suppose part of that is what fans are drawn to. If he decided to be result oriented and sculpt what he said or says according to what may or may not happen wouldn’t he just become robot like which would dimish the lions share of his appeal.

    D.) To follow up on B I still find it strange that the unknown author here has a preoccupation with the fact that anyone remotely cares about the beat reporters here. As a customer I expect…wait demand top notch reporting. That’s all, no more no less. If that doesn’t work out for me I’ll move on to something better.

    Over and Out

  34. Chris Hall

    BJ, I don’t think Gene means that chip counts on Day 1 are totally pointless I think he means they’re a lower priority.

    Most of the time with Pokernews, On a Day 1 you’re talking about two people (often one) covering a field of anything from 700 to 2,000. Can you consistently provide chip counts on the top 40-50 name players? Yes – but it would mean a complete neglect of the rest of the tournament. The story of the tournament should be the ultimate goal and that means everything has to be balanced to best provide the details.

    You can’t just put up 100+ chip counts every half hour or so, that’s not interesting, I wouldn’t read that without some colour. Also, referring to chip counts as a scoreboard is not a great analogy in my book, it’s more like being asked to cover 60 scoreboards all at once.

    Hands are important because they describe how a player is doing, I don’t mean the hand itself but it often will sum up if a player is doing really well on a tough table or getting unlucky on a weak table. I accept BJ’s argument that it may not tell the ‘right’ story of that player’s day but when you’re reporting a hand you can hardly predict what’s going to happen to them next! In my experience, a hand gives you a ‘feel’ of how the tournament is going that a thousand chip counts can’t.

    At the end of the day it’s about compromise. There was always a fine balance in the updates between colour, chip counts and hand reporting but this year a smaller staff has made it that much more difficult.

    Oh, and with regards to DN, if he really is aware of tournament reporting more than most players (I’m sure he is) then he really should’ve reread his blog before publishing it because it did seem to be coming down purely on those who work on the floor. (Also easier to tell everyone that in another blog than mention it to a few people on the floor).

  35. Pauly

    I have a solution: flying monkeys with iPhones doing continuous chip counts.

  36. Mean Gene

    That’s Pauly’s solution to everything–flying monkeys. Of course, flying monkeys WOULD solve most of the world’s problems…

    If PokerNews focused solely on chip counts on Day 1 and didn’t report hands people would be bitching non-stop about THAT. They’d see Phil Ivey with 50,000 chips after the first level and then, without any comment or context, see him busted from the tournament. That wouldn’t go over well.

    There were indeed times where I wondered if covering Day 1s was worthwhile. Given our finite resources, wouldn’t it be better to focus those resources on moments of the most consequence? But that would seem like a capitulation, I can’t see how that would fly.

    The thing people have to understand is that covering a poker tournament with 3,000 people is logistically impossible. Even if you had infinite resources, would players really tolerate 100 PokerNews reporters clogging the aisles watching them like hawks? That’s the only way to guarantee there’s a set of eyes on all the action at all times, and that ain’t ever gonna happen.

    Actually, Pauly’s facetious remark about flying monkeys using iPhones for chip counts could help–not the monkey part, but reporters using mobile devices to update things on the floor instead of having to enter it into a computer. But that technology won’t be used, nor will RFID, because it’d cost a lot of money and there’s no one willing to put up that kind of coin to provide better coverage.

    That’s why I was bemused by Luke Thomas’s inane comments about how he doesn’t give a shit about the hard work reporters put in and how when he orders a cheeseburger he wants it NOW. Hey Luke–when you order a cheeseburger, do you have to PAY for it? How much do you pay for PokerNews’ coverage? That’d be nothing. How much WOULD you pay for “accurate timely chip counts from the first shuffle”? Would you pay $100? That’ds only about two bucks a day for gavel-to-gavel coverage of the WSOP. Ready to ante up?

    PokerNews has a responsibility to do as good as job as it possible under the conditions. When I covered the Series for them there were times when I made mistakes or dropped the ball and I took that honest criticism very seriously. So did the people I worked with. But hackles do rise when people expect omniscient real-time coverage of an event with 3,000 people spread out over an acre. No one would be happier to give fans that coverage than the reporters on the floor. It’s just impossible. You do your best and you try to figure out ways of making the coverage better given the limitations.

  37. Michele Lewis

    I can tell you from personal experience on both sides of the fence that it’s hard to focus on your game when you receive 50 texts from friends and family wanting to know your chip count. As a mom, I don’t want to turn my phone off. That’s why in 2006 I decided to do an SMS your own updates into a site so people could follow there, upload pics and create lists etc. Damn Twitter!
    Now, I follow players on Twitter. I considered updating pros chip counts for them so they don’t have to do it themselves (as well as WhoJedi). As a pros assistant, I don’t see how you would even need credentials for that.
    Nonetheless, I don’t know anyone in poker media who is lazy. Probllems arise in business. Period.
    As for pay… Yes, a low pay scale is fact.
    However, any agreement be it handshake or contractual is an agreement. If I make an agreement to work for a specific amount, then that was my decision and I’m responsible for my own decisions. It’s pretty basic supply and demand, they’re are way to many young kids who will work for pennies. It’s unfortunate, but it’s social evolution.
    I follow Twitter and Pokernews. It would be nice if I could update the chip counts of the strangers who ask me. See my ft blog post on there’s an app for that.
    Sorry for errors and typos. iPhone

  38. David Alexander

    Ok, mean gene…

    Use this analogy…

    even if it were free burgers given out…
    (instead of chip counts) and party X
    was under contract to supply free burgers

    If the burgers were only half cooked,
    half the players got them, etc, etc…

    It would still be the party X’s fault…

    Not the fact that the cooks and suppliers,
    got sick, went on strike, or they couldn’t
    afford to pay them….


    once every X amount of hands… or blinds…
    You as the player are required to turn in a
    piece of paper with your chip count..

    Handed to the dealer…

    (if you don’t want to to.. then it doesn’t
    get counted)

    Then the kids pick up the paper and grab
    an iphone or ipad… and twitter or other
    software to where ever…

    But, actually thinking about a solution..
    instead of remaining part of the problem…

    Problem being… party X agreed to do a job..

    And now they would like to bitch about the money
    as a cover up for not doing their job…

    That’s simply an excuse…

  39. BJ Nemeth

    @ChrisHall: “BJ, I don’t think Gene means that chip counts on Day 1 are totally pointless I think he means they’re a lower priority.”

    Gene said Day 1 chip counts were “almost pointless.” Even if that is hyperbole, I’m still arguing that chip counts should be a HIGHER priority than random hand updates. (But neither should exist alone.)

    @ChrisHall: “Also, referring to chip counts as a scoreboard is not a great analogy in my book, it’s more like being asked to cover 60 scoreboards all at once.”

    I’m talking about the fan’s point of view, and you’re talking about the reporter’s point of view. The fact that it’s a difficult and boring task doesn’t change the fact that it’s a scoreboard. (Or a golf-like leaderboard, if you prefer.)

    It sounds like people in this comment thread are arguing that there should be balance in the coverage. I couldn’t agree more! But the coverage that Negreanu criticized wasn’t balanced at all; chip counts were effectively ignored.

    I’ve also heard a lot of arguments that go to an absurd extreme. “Nobody can count chips for 300 players!” or “It’s impossible to constantly update 40-50 players!” When you’re covering a tournament, you do the best you can with the resources available. If you’re covering an event with only two reporters, perhaps you update 30-40 players once a level, or once every 90 minutes, while still doing hand updates, and update the rest of the counts less frequently.

    Most poker reporters are active on Twitter. For each tournament, they should create a temporary Twitter list (familiarize yourself with that feature) that shows the updates of known players in the tournament with a Twitter account. Check that feed from time to time, and use that information to improve your coverage. Be sure to check Twitter around the breaks, because that’s when players are most likely to tweet their chip counts. (We create a fresh Twitter list for every WPT event.)

    Yes, tournament reporting is harder than it looks. But it’s not as difficult as most reporters make it sound, either.

    For the record, I reject all arguments along the lines “Even if we did X, people would still complain about Y.” Yes, that may be true. If you do the best possible job you can and people still complain, so be it. But that’s no excuse to do anything less than your best.

  40. Josh Thompson

    Luke Thomas, you are a moron. You clearly have no idea how hard it is for poker reporters that work 12 hours a day. They provide free coverage for you, an ungrateful punk.

  41. Poker Strategy Guy

    That man just gets way to much attention. It seems that he receives 99% of all media coverage versus all the other poker players.

  42. Kevin Mathers

    Negreanu’s response to the Pokerati article:

  43. Mean Gene

    I honestly haven’t been keeping tabs with PokerNews’ chip counts to know if this year is markedly worse, but if it is worse then those complaints should be taken seriously. Then again, people have complained about the counts every year.

    People have also complained like crazy when there’s a sudden change in a player’s chip count with no corresponding post explaining how it happened. So, yes, you do need balance in your coverage to provide the whole story. I would argue that chip counts are far, far less important on Day 1 than they are later in the event. Especially as the counts on Day 1 aren’t even close to being comprehensive and accurate. You may have up-to-date counts for the top 50 players, but there might be 50 unknown players out there with more chips. It’d be like reporting “Tiger Woods is 2-under…Phil Mickelson is even for the day…” when they’re actually eight shots off the pace. Once you CAN provide accurate and comprehensive chip counts (at the final table, especially) those counts become absolutely essential.

    I agree with B.J. that saying “If we did this, people would complain about that” is a pointless (there’s that word again) exercise. People are going to complain. You just have to decide what complaints are justified and should be taken seriously. When someone whines that chip counts aren’t being updated every 5 minutes, that you can dismiss because it’s not realistic. But when people raise legitimate concerns I don’t think they fall on deaf ears.

    To David Alexander’s idea of having the players hand in chip counts to the dealers, PokerNews started using a system a couple of years ago (not sure if they still do) where the players get a card with their table/seat numbers and they’re supposed to carry those cards with them as their tables break so the reporters can keep track of who’s who. It worked quite well, though quite a few players couldn’t be bothered. And asking players to forsake a minute of their break to give their counts to the dealers (and idea that’s been floated in many different ways in the past) would probably result in far less participation.

  44. Josh Thompson

    Lets take a player who usually complains about chip counts. Say Barry Greenstein.

    His count will be taken, then 20 minutes later after losing antes and blinds, he’ll look at the chip counts and see his stack size from 20 minutes ago, furthering his stance that his chip count is always taken incorrectly.

    Get a clue Barry, your chip count isn’t going to be exactly what it is when you look. It is unreasonable to expect it to be spot on whenever YOU feel like looking. Same goes for everybody else.

  45. Luke Thomas

    If the flying monkeys thing doesn’t work out how about putting some sort of micro-chip in each chip. I’m sure the WSOP can figure something out in a cost effective manner that would insure accurate chip counts.

    Now to respond to some comments about my comment.

    Mean Gene I have been a waiter for some 15 years on and off. It was easy for me to make the cheeseburger analogy. As a waiter I am under no delusion that if the food doesn’t come out hot and tasting good that I don’t have an excuse when it comes to my customer. As I stated it doesn’t matter if the cooks called off, my cat died or my car was stolen that day. The customer knows none of that and it’s not my job to tell him. My job is to make it happen. That’s what I do. That’s my job. It’s not always easy but again, I make it happen.

    As to your comment about Pokernews being free. Nothing is free Gene. You know that. The content or lack there of is a direct result of the publics interest in that content and advertisers recognizing that interest. So while I don’t pay money for that content I am a customer and to think anything less would be a monumental mistake on the part of any web based new media.

    Josh Thompson I very well could be a moron. Enough said there.

    Over and Out

  46. Mean Gene

    Luke, reporters get paid and they should earn their money. But I’d bet that the vast majority of the problems reporters have getting the information out are logistical, not because they’re lazy or incompetent. There are limits to the coverage a handful of people can provide, and to increase staffing and supply the technology that would allow the sort of coverage many people demand would mean charging for it. And people haven’t shown a willingness to pay.

    To your delicious cheeseburger analogy (man I could go for a burger right now), if a customer comes in on 99-cent burger night and, after getting served, complains that they want filet mignon, creamed spinach, creme brulee and a back massage, well, you can’t provide that. It’s not that you don’t feel like it, or that you don’t know how to sear a melt-in-your-mouth filet, you just don’t have the right cut of meat and the equipment to turn it out.

    Think it’s time to light the grill…

  47. Scott Diamond

    I am at work on my Iphone right now. I wrote several blogs two years ago how trotters do this for the love of the game. I will post Saturday afternoon my thoughts on this. However Poker News for us fans of the game is by far the best. I am fortunate to know many of these reporters because for the past two years I had the priveledge to sit with them and do my own blogging . I did it for fun and the love of the game these reporters are very intelligent and if they had some backing would be right where some of the big name pros are at right Jerimiah Smith! Right Tiffany Michelle. Exclusives have been given so there is more control I think it should be open to all and the biggest Poker Event of the year should have the best at all times and Harrahs needs to realize this. Daniel has fans that want his accurate counts but so does Ivey,Hellmuth,Hanson etc.

    As for the player being anonmyous because he is afraid of what the on line sites might do to his career is another story in itself. It tells me they have too much power and control possibly.

    I hope Daniels comments help the reporters and the Sites they work for. The interest in Poker needs to be kept alive and these dedicated people do that for us and for Poker.

  48. Steve

    Standing on the inside, I think the Poker News reporters this year are doing a great job. I agree with MeanGene about chip counts being lower priority on day one. I agree with Pauly completely, of course. Maybe one day Harrahs will pay for computer chips inside the poker chips and chipcounts will be automatic and then the reporters can focus on what is going on. BJ works hard and sleeps well. Where is Dan?

  49. Luke Thomas

    The thing is that no one said or insinuated that the reporters at Pokernews.com were lazy or incompetent. You incorrectly read into that. The story behind the story isn’t that Pokernews.com reporters are slack asses, the story is that the organization as a whole wasn’t doing it’s job. I think the argument is there, at least my argument. So, what is the job of poker news.com as an organization. Is it to do the best they can with the given resources. Some think so, but that’s what college newspapers do. This is the big leagues where adults don’t make excuses and they simply put up or shut up. If an issue like this happens they don’t point fingers but rather put their collective noses to the grind stone and make the situation better. In the long run those are the organizations that will be around in the years to come. The rest will simply fall by the way side.

    So when I say I don’t care about the reporters on the ground I mean just that. I’m just going to make the assumption, at least at first that they are hard working and the jobs being done as it should. That being said my opinion is that something is/was broken on a systemic level at least for a couple of days when chips counts were not being reported correctly and in a timely fashion. Saying that isn’t an attach on poker reporters it’s an honest critique on a poker news outlet.

  50. Scott Diamond

    I may be misunderstanding you. Your saying the reporters have not failed the organization has. The reporters ARE the organization because without their dedicated work the site would fail.

    Management however has to find and hire these individuals and if the money is not there they have to deal with what they can.

    I’m not sure how the process works if it’s a bid they submit or if Harrahs approaches them. As in other areas of the bidding games that go on in this world often times companies under bid just to get the work and then cut staff and the ones that stay do 2-3 times the work. Or the shareholders are greedy and keep most of the money foe themselves.

    If anyone can fix this problem Poker News seems to be having it’s Matthew Parvis who has so much knowledge of the ins and outs of the tournament circuit. Again if the money is not there or enough qualified people cannot be found you have to do the job with those you have.

    So whose fault is it? Counting 15 or more players chips then running back to your lap top to post them takes several minutes when you return to the floor one or more of those players could be busted already and in large events it’s nearly impossible to keep track of ALL the pros.

  51. wtf really?

    Where is Dan– Allows an Anonymous poster to create such buzz and then disappears. I am sure this is the busiest time of the year but pokerati has started a forest fire. I am curious why Anonymous would be allowed to post. I respect this site more then any other on the web. But disagree with allowing an Anonymous post to call out Negreanu. I read Negreanu response and he is not very happy with the actions of Anonymous. I believe you should not be allowed to defame a person without the decency of announcing who you are. Allowed might not be the right word but Dan gave Anonymous the platform. Dan had the oppurtunity to protect the integrity of Negreranu and Pokerati. Instead the only protection is for Anonymous. disappointing

  52. Zeroman

    All of these comments come off as a bunch of people defending their honor or their own little group.

    I am just a guy that likes to read poker stories and when the WSOP rolls along, I like to pop over to the live reporting pages. I can tell you that I have barely checked the live reporting pages in the past week because it seemed nothing was very accurate or timely. It just seemed like a waste of time to check it anymore. I dunno if its fixed now or not. Instead I just follow a few pros on twitter and have my buddies text me their chip status at breaks.

    I don’t care who is working hard, being lazy or whose fault it is that things aer working the same as they previously did. The content isn’t there, so I don’t go back. I’ll either find the content somewhere else or do something else altogether.

  53. Brian G.

    You know what really stinks? I can’t stream a lot of final tables like I did last year. Last year, I had a lot of nights to work, it was fun to have it on in the background and to tweet in to the announcers.

    Poker reporters are what my old bosses would call “non-productive employees.” Since these types of employees don’t bring in any money, no one cares about them. In the scheme of things, a poker reporter is less important than a cigarette girl.

  54. not a pro

    The author of this was probably biked from PN. I think this is Barbara Connors and or Haley, based on the writing comparisons I have done. Im surprised this site would put up an article talking about broken contracts. This is heresay and opens up the door to legal action. I also know if PN decided to sue (even though that would be stupid), the isp and owner of the site would have to give up the name of the author. Terrible article, PN does this for the poker world, not to make money. Good luck finding someone else to do it. To anyone that thinks they can do a better job, I would submit a resume to Matthew Parvis.

  55. Steve Ruddock

    I have two thoughts on the subject:

    1) The problem is completely logistical. Covering a poker tournament is like commenting on a hand where you don’t know the hole cards. Unfortunately, because of online poker –with its instantly updated info and stats– people are expecting live poker to follow suit. Calculating stacks of chips is near impossible, and made even more difficult when you’re dealing with thousands of people evey day at the WSOP.

    The old saying of ‘You can’t please everyone’ is the perfect description for tournament coverage. Do people realize the amount of money that would need to be spent to have decently accurate reporting from the WSOP?

    2) This is the more important point: Not too many people really care about live updates! Personally, I’d rather have good reporting after the fact –along with interviews– than rushed reporting during. If you need a live count on players in the $1,500 NLHE event you might want to rethink your priorities in life.

    Most poker fans are content to read summaries the following morning or go to the WSOP website for their info. if 1% of the estimated 100 million poker players follow the WSOP daily, I would bet 1% of that 1% cares about the live updates. So why on earth would any outlet devote huge amounts of money and manpower to something that 10,000 people might be intersted in? Their resources are better served elsewhere, by producing quality content that the other 1,000,000 people are looking for.

  56. Scott Diamond

    I would have to disagree with you regarding legal action. After all it’s a 1st admendment right. Secondly I’m glad Dan posted this here at Pokerati it is important industry news. Also in a way I’m glad Daniel started this debate because I am a HUGE supporter of the Poker Reporters and Bloggers.

    It’s a thankless job at times and I know for fact Poker players like seeing their names in print on any of these sites who report at Poker tournaments.

    Maybe Daniel opened the eyes of executives and they come to realize the importance of these News sites.

  57. Brian Heptinstall

    If you (WSOP) buy a product (Pokernews) and that product is defective (Card Player), then you return it or get rid of it. If you are the person responsible for putting that product out (Parvis), then you do whatever you need to do to make the product better. It just so happens that Negreanu is a lightning rod for this, but he is right. As much as it pains me to say that after covering an event where he treated some casino employees like 3rd world natives. So, why not get the amount of people you need to make this work and do it RIGHT! You may not make any (or even lose) money, but the Pokernews name will be synonymous with great reporting and will take you much further than what that name is getting right now from the uninformed masses that blindly listen to Negreanu.

  58. Grunkzzz

    The poker sites dont just get the chip counts wrong they also gets the cards you had in your hand wrong, the action wrong, the flop wrong the turn wrong and the river wrong.

    They did it to me in 2007 and this year. (I didnt last long enough in 2008 to be on any poker sites and didnt play in any 2009.)

    It angered me at first, but you know what, I dont really care that much. What pisses me off is that my buddies read it and were like you really play like that.

    If I had fans or backers I would be livid.

  59. Adam

    It is all too true. I doubt any poker player has as much swing over the state of the game these days than Daniel. He is just a kid after all. Be interesting to see what he is like in 10 years time.
    Adam @ Correct Poker