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Daniel - Poker Journal

The WPT is Back in Action

27 Aug 2006

Ok, so the WPT decided to fire back a response to the plaintiffs and it made news: Poker News.

None of it surprises me at all and I don't think this is doing the poker world any good and I fully blame the seven plaintiffs for going about this in the completely wrong way.

I hope Barry Greenstein is ok with me repeating this, but he said something to the effect of, "They are simply going about all of this in the wrong way. If they wanted the release changed, rather than shouting and screaming about it, there was a much more practical way to handle it."

Earlier at this year's WSOP, Andy Bloch went ballistic during the $50,000 HORSE event when the cards we were playing with were all marked. He freaked out like a crazy person, something he has done on several occasions when he is upset, and started yelling at the top of his lungs.

Barry mentioned to me, that if Andy would have simply talked to the other players at the table, voice his concerns to them, and then calmly take that to the floor people, that the issue would have been addressed.

It's pretty much the same deal with this stupid lawsuit. If they really wanted changes made, they should have come to the players first, and approach the WPT with numbers. Not 7, but 500! If 500 players had issue with something, the WPT would have no choice but to take those concerns seriously since, without a core group of 500 players... there is no show.

Anyway, here are a few excerpts from the WPT's response which you can read in full by clicking here:

"Poker is more popular than ever before, which has led to more poker tournaments, more poker players entering tournaments, more poker programming being broadcast on television and more prize money for players. The poker industry is a model of a competitive marketplace, with more and greater opportunities and choices for casinos, broadcasters, publishers, and players alike. For Plaintiffs to suggest in the face of the recent poker explosion in the poker industry sparked by the World Poker Tour, that WPTE has restricted the output of poker tournaments or otherwise restrained competition in the poker industry is disingenuous and without foundation."

In other words, "How dare these people sue us for helping them become what they are today. How dare they claim that we are monopolizing the poker world when there is more poker on more networks now than ever before. None of which could have happened without the WPT. How silly of them to believe that the exclusive contracts the WPTE signs with certain casinos holds them back from running tournaments of their own."

Here is another doozie:

"The irony of Plaintiffs claims is that the "notoriety" that these seven Plaintiffs claim forms the basis of their considerable income is due in no small part to their participation in the World Poker Tour in its early years, at a time when the public had never heard of them, and which would not have been possible without the reasonable releases about which the Plaintiffs complain."

And yes, the WPT IS responsible for both Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem's notoriety as well. It was due to the WPT that ESPN started broadcasting the WSOP. Before the WPT, ESPN completely lost interest in the event, and in 2000, WPT's own Steve Lipscomb started filming the event in a documentary style.

Once the WPT became an instant hit, ESPN took notice. From there, FSN, NBC, CBS, GSN, Bravo, and countless other networks have followed the path that the WPT created.


Here is where things start getting ugly, and not because anything may come of it, but because of the negative attention and notice it puts players with online poker affiliations under:

"Full Tilt Poker, a website started by Plaintiffs Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer, and with which at least two other plaintiffs are affiliated, already competes unfairly against WPTE by using the tremendous revenues it obtains from promoting online gambling in the United States and accepting online bets from persons located in the United States- activities declared by the U.S. Department of Justice as illegal under existing law- to subsidize the poker programming it offers television networks.

WPTE on the other hand, complies with the letter and spirit of the law as currently interpreted by the Department of Justice and employs numerous safeguards to ensure no one in the United States can place a bet on it's online poker website, leaving websites like Full Tilt Poker (and it's owners Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer) to reap these illicit profits."

Hmm... well, that doesn't sound all that great. Remind why these people are suing the WPT again? What is it they are hoping to gain? Is it money? Does it bother them that much that the Bellagio only runs WPT events? Is this lawsuit really worth winning? What is the goal?

I really like this next part, because it paints the picture that I personally see:

"In sum, this baseless antitrust lawsuit is not about promoting competition or freeing players from restrictive bonds imposed by a cartel of league owners, as Plaintiffs disingenuously claim. Rather, this is a case brought as a competitive tactic by seven multimillionaires who WPTE shepherded from unknowns to wealthy poker personalities with interests in competing enterprises in an ever-increasingly competitive poker entertainment marketplace."

Let's face it, do you really think this lawsuit is about not being able to hold tournaments at Bellagio? Come on.

Outside of possibly Phil Gordon, I doubt that any of the other Plaintiffs were even millionaires before the poker boom. Before money was being thrown at them from ESPN for free roll tournaments, or endorsement opportunities, or inflated prize pools with weak players.

This whole thing makes me so sick to my stomach. It stinks of greed, vanity, arrogance, and a lack of gratitude for the poker world we live in today. This fight isn't a fight for the poker world's well being, not at all. This is a fight being initiated by a group of people who seemed to have forgotten where they came from.

If only this group of seven would have done the right thing. If they had a beef, rather than have a totally bizarre press conference to announce the lawsuit (I mean, who does that???), they would have come to the poker community first.

Their decision to move ahead with this without the support of some of the more influential people in the poker world was a decision that shows a lack of respect to the game, and to the other professional touring players. Almost a "who cares what the poker world thinks, I'll get mines."

I'd be shocked if they defended their decision to go ahead with this lawsuit without the support of the poker community first. If they were to defend it... well, wow, I wouldn't even know where to begin?

***************************************************************

Ok, all done with yet another WPT lawsuit rant. No promises that this will be the last one however.

Anyway, I "tried" playing golf this week, but couldn't play. I've become so frustrated recently that it simply hasn't been fun. I planned on playing a round with Mike Sexton, Phil Ivey, and Erick Lindgren, but when I got to the course I headed straight to the range and realized that the only club I could even hit was a driver off the tee. I could not hit a 3-wood in the air, and I was coming over the top of even my 7-iron and hooking it as well.

Rather than play in a spot where I was certain to dump off a chunk of money, I decided to practice and get a lesson from one of the pros there.

I've developed what's called a reverse pivot or something like that. My left shoulder dips when I take the club back, and then when I come back to the ball my body has to try and get out of the way quickly which forces me to come over the top of the ball.

That was just one of the problems I've developed. I bring the club back too flat (never buy a Medicus, trust me), and my lower body is moving way too much. Oh, not to mention that my feet are too far apart at address.

Basically, I need to start from scratch it seems. Unfortunately, after close to an hour with the pro I wasn't able to get it down. It may have just been one of those days, but I won't be golfing for money at all until I feel like I can actually hit the ball.

On that note, I heard a hilarious rumor today. I must have had 20 people call me today asking, "Is it true that you lost 13 million to Chip and Doyle on the golf course?"

The number shrunk as the story went around the room today, and eventually the number was dwarfed to just "6 or 7 million." LOL, are you people nuts? The most I EVER played for on the golf course was a $50,000 Nassau. To lose that much money I'd have to, like, never win a hole... ever!

The real number, since I've started golfing for money is closer to $600,000 in the hole. How people got 7 million I have no idea. The rumor had legs apparently, though, because I had close friends call me to ask if it was true.

Even Doyle called Chip and said something like, "Have you been golfing with Daniel?" It was pretty funny, I got a good kick out of it.

One more thing, some white rich country club lookin' guy was seated next to me and Lori at the club. One of the workers there recognized me and was apparently a big fan. The white, snotty, rich looking guy kind of looked at me a little like those women in Pretty Woman looked at Julia Roberts on Rodeo Drive. He looked at me like I smelled or something.

Anyway, as I walked over to get some carrots and celery I overheard the food server say something like, "I love that guy. He is like my hero." When the really white dude heard that he said this, "You should set your sights a little higher."

I overheard the comment and said, "I agree," with a smile. I mean, the guy has a point and he is right, but still. Why say something like that in front of me? Have you no manners at all? It's not like this was a buddy of mine or something who could totally get away with that, this was a stranger?

I wouldn't even care if the guy said it with a smile or was making light of it, in fact, I tried to make a joke out of it. He was just being a rich, snooty, rude, dude.

I'm amazed, frankly, at how there is so much to the stereotype of rich, white, country club members. They generally talk about any of the following things:

1) Money
2) Luxury Cars

I over hear the following conversation almost every time I'm there:

RICH WHITE LOSER #1: I just bought a new Ferrari. I figured what the heck you know, I closed that last stock up big so I figured I'd pick up a new toy.

RICH WHITE LOSER #2: Ferrari's are nice and all, but you know, that's not for me. I traded in my Bentley and bought a couple Aston Martin's. I'll never use them, but they look nice in the garage, you know what I mean. Yup, I'm gonna take the old lady out for a vacation this week. You know, put in the time with the wife. On the road I'm such a pig. I had three of the most beautiful broads you ever seen on my last trip to L.A. Just freakin' beautiful, and man, this one had lips like a ....

RICH WHITE LOSER #!; No kidding (not to be undone), you know what I really like to do is get me a couple of black broads. For $20 they'll suck your toes. Black broads are the way to go my man. You should see this last one I was with, Jeliqua, Jelissa, I don't know what her freakin' name was, but man, cans like you've never seen before. I'm talking huge. And a booty, man, black chicks have the best butts am I right Charles?

RICH WHITE LOSER #2: Yeah, black hookers are the way to go. The white chicks expect too much, but the black broads, you can do whatever you want with them.

You might think this is a joke. No. It's not. I hear this same kind of talk virtually every time I'm around rich, white, suits. Maybe that's why I'm such a racist? Lol.


***************************************************************

Yesterday, I had an exciting day. I can't tell you too much about it, but I had a full day meeting with some other players going over a very exciting project that the poker world will know about very soon. How is that for vague, huh?

Seriously, though, I simply can't talk about this just yet, but as soon as I get the ok to talk about it you will all be the first to know. This project could potentially take poker to an entirely new level. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out first, but once all that gets ironed out (it will), then you guys are going to be in for a real treat.

After the meeting, I thought I'd take Lori to the Comedy Stop at the Trop to see the show. She wasn't up to it, though, so instead I went with my good buddy Tyson.

I knew the first guy, a veteran comic named Mitchell Walters. He used to write for Laverne & Shirley and also toured with Sam Kinnison back in the day.

He started off things with the best set I'd ever seen him do. His timing was great, and he had some good new material.

Next up was Mike Green, and it freaked me out when he came on stage. He sounded just like my buddy Matt (FCP Info 2) who's from Grand Rapids, MI. It was creepy how much they sounded alike.

Anyway, the laughs just kept rolling, he even told one Hold'em joke that I won't ruin for you in case you are in Atlantic City for the WPT Borgata event. The same crew will be at the Trop there that week.

The headliner was a guy named Mitch Farrell. who's appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno countless times as well as being a regular on Howard Stern. He will also be filming a comedy special coming up soon, on the 1st I believe.

His act was one I thought I wasn't going to like. He had a slow delivery, but then he started rolling and was freakin' hilarious. I won't spoil any of it for you since you'll get a chance to see it on Comedy Central pretty soon. Who knows, I may fly up for that.

Anyway, after the show was over me and Tyson hung out with the comics at the bar. I told them all about my little skit on the cruise a few years back, and they shared some bad beats with me.

Since they opened the floor I decided it was safe to tell them one of my favorite jokes:

Guy gets home to his wife and says, "Honey, I have some really bad news."

"Oh no," she replies, "what's the matter?"

"Well, I just came from the hospital and the doctors told me I only have 24 hours to live."

His wife was obviously upset at this point, and so he followed up with, "Honey, since I only have 24 hours to live you think we could... you know, fool around?"

"Of course, of course honey, anything you want."

Another 6 hours go by and he only has 18 hours left to live. "Honey, since I only have 18 to live, you think we could fool around again?"

She says of course, and they get their groove on. With 12 hours to live, the same thing happens. Then they both head to bed but he just can't sleep. He is fiddling with his thumbs, obviously very nervous. He nudges his wife and says, "Honey since I only have 6 more hours to live..."

She interrupts him quickly and says, "Look, I have to get up in the morning, you don't!" LOL, I like that one.

***************************************************************

Today is a "veg day" where I'll try to get some work done online. Tomorrow morning, I'll be headed to LA with Chip, Jenn, Eli, and a few other players. I'm not dreading the flight in at all since we'll be borrowing Larry Flynt's plane. Flying private is so much less of a hassle.

We'll probably land in L.A. at around 1:00pm or so and get to the Bike in time for the 2:00pm start. Half the field is already playing as we speak. I just checked on CardPlayer and it looks like Tuan Le is back to dominating with over 100,000 already. Wow, nice stack!

So tonight, I'll be hanging out with the wife- it's her birthday tomorrow so we'll have to celebrate it when I get back. On the agenda for this evening: Rocky II! She's never seen it???

***************************************************************

One last thing I'd like to add. There have been two deaths recently that both came as a shocking surprise.

First, Paul Hannum, an absolutely great guy who has been a part of the World Poker Tour forever died at the age of 45. He has a fiancé who is expecting a child.

Paul was honestly and truly my favorite person associated with the WPT. I never called him Paul, instead, I affectionately called him, "B-Roll," since the majority of the time I saw him he was getting B-Roll for the WPT show.

I never, ever, saw him get mad about anything. He was a great listener, and just a great all around guy who not only loved the poker world, but I think he truly cared about the game.

There will be a charity event at the Bike this week, August 29th at 7:00pm on behalf of www.babyhannum.com hosted by the WPT and WPT Player of the Year, Gavin Smith. It's a $1000 buy in and several prizes have been donated. The 1st prize will be a $25,000 seat into the WPT Championship.

Unless I am still in the WPT event, I fully plan on playing in the event. I'd also like to lend a helping hand, by putting a $2000 bounty on my head (provided I play). Knock me out, and win yourself $2000.
It's a great cause and I encourage all of you to play if you can.

Another death occurred Tuesday, when my protégé, Brian Fidler, lost his father James E. Fidler who died at the age of 72. My condolences go out to Brian and his family. If you'd like to offer your support for Brian you can checkout his myspace page at www.myspace.com/fidzgotskills.

I never had a chance to meet his father, but in spending so much time with Brian over the last few months we have become friends and I wish him the best. He is a big part of the FCP community and always will be.

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