If you’re genuinely curious about all of that, check out Negreanu’s own explanation of what happened (according to him, natch), as well as Haley’s overview of it all over on Kick Ass Poker. You could wade through various threads over on 2+2, too, for info, if you had even more time to kill.
The crux of the biscuit was the fact that in his latest video blog -- or “weekly rant” -- Negreanu used the first several minutes to advertise the new live-betting iSeries poker series in which he’s participating in Ireland next month.
The series involves poker tourneys shown live (with hole cards) online, with the players being sequestered and viewers being given opportunities to bet on the outcome as well as a host of other prop bets along the way. All but the Americans, that is, who are summarily excluded from participating in anything of this nature because we can’t be trusted to make adult decisions on our own.
It sounds like the first event is going to feature a 10-person, £10,000 buy-in, winner-take-all sit-n-go involving Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Faraz Jaka, Marvin Rettenmaier, Tobias Reinkenmeier, James Dempsey, Devilfish Ulliott, Carlos Mortensen, Maria Ho, and Eoghan O’Dea. Later events will feature bigger fields, although the overall concept will remain the same with viewers getting to bet on who they think will win, who will be the first to bust, where players might finish, and so on. Here are the live betting odds over on Paddy Power, if you’re curious.
One wrinkle of significance is the fact that the participants will be receiving a cut of the juice taken on bets placed in which they are involved. Thus Negreanu does stand to benefit from advertising the iSeries event and getting bets placed on him.
That appears to have been what bothered the powers that be at 2+2, as what had previously been just a weekly video in which Negreanu opined on various topics had this time literally begun with a commercial promoting iSeries followed by Negreanu’s further explanation and endorsement. Kind of funny the temp ban of Negreanu would come regarding a video in which he appears wearing a t-shirt that says “I'M KIND OF A BIG DEAL” (an Anchorman quote).
In Haley’s article she speaks of Negreanu’s video blogs as having “jumped the shark” after only a few weeks, with the iSeries promotion evidence to support that evaluation. I’m not as bothered by it, although it is tedious to have to sit through someone selling you something you either aren’t interested in or cannot buy at all. Kind of felt the same way in a previous video blog of Negreanu’s in which he drew us in with some poker talk, then included an anti-meat, pro-vegan segment.
That said, just as this is my blog and I get to decide what I post here, Negreanu can include whatever he likes in his video blogs, and if people don’t like it, well, they don’t have to tune in.
I get 2+2’s impatience with the spam-like nature of the video, although it’s also clear the forum benefits tremendously from Negreanu’s willingness to participate over there. That may well be a thing of the past, however, given the way Negreanu has reacted to his temp ban.
As far as the iSeries concept is concerned, in his video blog Negreanu talks about the current state of televised poker, noting that it is in need of something to rejuvenate it as a spectator “sport.” He likens poker to football and other sports on which betting is done, and suggests it is time for poker to offer something similar.
He may be right, although listening to this line of argument from within U.S. borders doesn’t really provide much cause for enthusiasm. We’re having a hard enough time over here getting our goverment to let us play poker at all, let alone bet on the successes and failures of others playing it. For us, this simply is not a road down which our over-protective overlords will allow us to wander.
So to address the iSeries in “big picture” terms, I’d say I hope it doesn’t make too big of a splash, if only because it further associates poker with outright gambling or sports betting, and thus makes it a harder sell to legislators on this side of the pond. That said, it could well prove something of a shot in the arm for poker in the ROW (Rest Of World).
In any event, I’ll probably be watching. Just as I’ll probably look in on Negreanu’s next video, too, in which I imagine he will be returning to rant mode once again, with 2+2 a likely target. I mean I gotta do something with all this extra time while I’m not playing, right?