Thursday, January 06, 2011

Partisan Politics in Poker

PokerStars Caribbean AdventureLike a lot of you, I imagine, I’m giving a bit of attention this afternoon to the start of that $100,000 buy-in “Super High Roller” event down at the Atlantis Resort and Casino, the big kick-off to this year’s PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Appears they’ve attracted a larger field than many had anticipated. Registration remains open through the fourth level, but after a little over an hour of play it looks as though more than 35 players have bought in. Heck of a line-up, too, as one would expect, with just about every single entrant sporting a recognizable name.

Among those playing today are Humberto Brenes, Bill Chen, Antonio Esfandiari, Hoyt Corkins, David Benyamine, Jason Mercier, Daniel Negreanu, Eugene Katchalov, Bryn Kenney, Vivek Rajkumar, Scott Seiver, Ashton Griffin, Jason Somerville, Andrew Lichetenberger, Tobias Reinkemeier, Phil Laak, Andrew Robl, Nick Schulman, James Obst, Bertrand Grospellier, Tom Marchese, Sorel Mizzi, and Jonathan Duhamel.

Cirque du Soleil ringmaster (and everyone's favorite whale) Guy Laliberte is also there. So, too, is Mike "Timex" McDonald, whom you might recall announced last spring that he was taking a break from poker. Both David Bakers are there, too! And it appears Viktor Blom, a.k.a. the man who would be Isildur1 -- has sat down during the last couple of minutes as well.

Of course, one notices pretty quickly when skimming the list of entrants how none of the Team Full Tilt pros (Ivey, Dwan, Antonius, etc.) have signed up. One imagines some or even many of those players might’ve wanted to take part in this one, the final table for which will be televised on ESPN2. But unless something changes before registration closes, it is possible their affiliations with FTP have made it impossible for them to participate.

I’m reminded of Tony G’s comments near the end of his SuperStar Showdown match with Isildur1 this past Sunday. Tony G, a PartyPoker-sponsored player, noted in the chatbox how he appreciated being allowed by his site to play an “away game” (so to speak) at PokerStars. It’s a point he elaborated further during his interview on this week’s TwoPlusTwo Pokercast.

I suppose I understand in a general way the need for sites to segregate themselves (and their players) amid such a competitive industry, but from a fan’s perspective it still kind of stinks. Sort of recalls some of the stubborn, partisan politicking we are used to seeing in this country whereby a given legislator’s party affiliation sometimes rules out any form of negotiation or compromise.

Guess I’ll just have to watch the Full Tilt guys on “Poker After Dark” (where the PokerStars players can’t go). Meanwhile, I’ll follow everyone else at the PCA Super High Roller by checking PokerNews’ live reports as well as the PokerStars blog.

(EDIT (added 1/8/11): Ultimately two players from Full Tilt did eventually participate in the PCA Super High Roller -- David Benyamine [Team Full Tilt] and Andrew Lichtenberger [Red Pro])

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Blogger Sean G said...

I agree, these restrictions are ridiculous and it's hard to imagine how the cost of excluding their pros from a prestigious event like this outweighs the benefits of TV coverage and deep runs from their pros. FTP has built their image on the faces of their pro players, you'd think that getting them on TV (even in a PS sponsored event) would be good strategy overall.

I'd like to see them on the Big Game, as well, but barring pros from ad-buy shows like those is somewhat more understandable. Still, it'd be nice if they could bury the hatchet and go back to the way things were in 2009.

1/06/2011 2:43 PM  

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