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Poker Superstars III and Dinner with Jeffrey Pollack

10 Nov 2005

It's been several days since my last controversial blog so I thought I'd fill you in on some highlights:

November 5th: Gamer's Ball at UNLV. I attended a tailgate party for the homecoming of the UNLV football team which was a healthy underdog to BYU. The purpose of me being there, was to show off STACKED.

November 7th: VO Session. VO stands for "Voice Over" and is a common term in the "biz." I had to do a few last minute lines across town for my DVD that is set to be released pretty soon.

2:00pm: I met with Matt Savage and a film crew to do an interview for a new poker show that is supposedly going to reach 80 million homes.

November 8th: 12:45pm haircut with Brandy over at the Mandalay Bay.

5:00pm: Headed over to Ceaser's Palace to do an interview for NBC. It was mostly a promo for the next National Heads Up Championship set to be filmed in early March.

7:00pm: Dinner at the Postrio at Venetian. I attended an important dinner with several other top poker players about a project that... I can't talk about, lol.

The rest of the evening, I spent catching up with E-DOG, "D Dubya" (David Williams and the boys over at Pure. We had a table right on the dance floor and ended up kickin' it till pretty late

November 9th: Day one of the Superstars for me and I was scheduled to play at 4:30pm against:

Chris Moneymaker
Mike Matusow
Ted Forrest
Greg Raymer
Erick Lindgren

Unfortunately, I can't tell you who won, but I can tell you that I think I am more prepared for the Superstars than any other player. I have watched every episode and studied the strategy religiously.
It's a "pre-flop" tournament, and while many may question my ability to adapt to such a structure, I am very confident in my ability to perform in this thing. It's all about the points, and my approach in the first two events was to aim for third place and see what developed from there.

November 10th: Day two of the Superstars event had me facing off against:

Cyndy Violette
Jennifer Harman
Greg Raymer
Gus Hansen
Phil Ivey

Again, I can't tell you what happened, but I can tell you that tomorrow I'm playing twice:

Antonio Esfandiari
Cyndy Violette
Greg Raymer
Phil Ivey
Chris Ferguson

and then:

Mimi Tran
Phil Ivey
Chris Moneymaker
Mike Sexton
Barry Greentstein

The next day I'll play my last match against:

Todd Brunson
Barry Greenstein
Mimi Tran
Joe Hachem
Cyndy Violette

Unfortunately, it's going to be a long while before everyone finds out who wins...

Now to the good stuff: At 6:00pm this evening I met with Jeffrey Pollack- Vice President of Sports Marketing for Harrah's and also in charge of the WSOP- at Bradley Ogden.

I had heard good things about Jeffrey, that he was a reasonable guy and really wanted to do things right. He has only been with the company for a couple of months so most of the problems we've seen haven't been things that are related to him.

He has an extensive background in sports marketing, from the NBA to Nascar, and stressed that he feels it's extremely important that the players should be treated like customers.

It's a unique situation, as with the NBA the players are being paid, while the poker players actually put up their own money. He fully understood that difference and from what he said he seems committed to protecting the WSOP brand.

The first topic of conversation was the TOC and the three player exemptions that were added late in the game. He gave me a genuine apology for the way it went down. He agreed that the players should have known from the get go that they may add player exemptions. He also guaranteed that something like that would never happen again.

We then talked more about creating relationships between the players and the WSOP so that we can fix these issues before they happen. He seemed very interested in hearing feedback from me and other players on how to improve the WSOP next year.

One of my suggestions, of course, was improving the schedule. I understand full well that the $1500 no limit hold'em events pack the place, but if what they say is true, that they want to protect the brand of the World Series of Poker, it means they'll have to sacrifice some of that revenue to ensure that it doesn't turn into a hold'em only series.

He actually had some good ideas on how to improve upon the schedule by possibly adding some interesting events. He gave me no promises that the schedule would in fact change, but he did say that he is going to rip it apart if he had to.

Personally, I would love to see the following event: H.O.S.E all the way down to the final table where the game would then become no limit hold'em. This would satisfy the players who are all around good players, increase the likelihood of a final table with star power, while maintaining the core television audience by giving them what they want- no limit hold'em.

Dinner was great, and I left feeling really good about writing the previous blog. Jeffrey obviously read the blog and didn't seem offended by it in any way. In fact, if anything, he complimented me on being outspoken.

I'm big on forgiveness and am more than willing to wipe the slate clean and see what develops over the next year.

One other interesting fact about Jeffrey that surprised me- his brother is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman! Who woulda thunk?

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