Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Media Banned from Playing WSOP Bracelet Events

Via a tweet from Lee "@Chingster23" Davy it leaked out this morning that an "unwritten" WSOP rule forbids credentialed members of the media from playing WSOP bracelet events.

"Just been informed by WSOP that I cannot play in a WSOP event if I am also going to carry out Media work. Just saved myself a lot of money," he wrote.

I guess the year of the poker media is over, at least when it comes to World Series events.

I've spent the last five summers doing nothing but promote the WSOP. I've spent every June evening since 2006 grinding out live updates, and now the powers that be are telling me and everyone else who has worked their ass off on media row that their money is no longer welcome in the Amazon Room. And in such a circuitous way. When, exactly were we going to find out about this "unwritten rule" had Chingster23 not brought it to everyone's attention? Before or after we picked up our credentials three weeks from now?

Playing in a WSOP event is the highlight of the summer for many members of the poker media. It's a needed reprieve from the grind of reporting and a rare opportunity to live in the world we spend our days writing about from the sidelines. Sure, Harrah's will gladly take the media's money when they charge us $8 for a stale pizza at 1 AM, but should they want to plunk down a grand to take a shot at the dream they are really selling-- a bracelet-- that money is no longer welcome. Or, as Pauly said to me a few minutes ago, "Poker is a game of skill. They don't want you to play that. But they have no problem with you donking off your paycheck at craps or pai gow. Or in my case, they'll gladly take your sports bets."

A lot of us in the media rely on poker to supplement our income. We make barely enough to get by as it is. Even those lucky to have jobs or a few paying freelance clients have seen our paychecks shrink up significantly over the last year. Now, with online poker no longer an option for those of us living in the U.S. (as well as the foreign media working at the WSOP-- they can't play from Vegas either) we're left to make that money up in live games. I know I was planning on grinding a lot more this summer to cover my expenses. Now I'll just have to take my business across the street to the Venetian.

Oh, wait! But satellites and cash games are OK! Hold on... I can play a satellite for a WSOP event, but I can't play the event itself? What the fuck am I supposed to do with my lammers then, since selling them is technically illegal? There's another "unwritten rule" for you, or at least that's what I was told both times I was busted by security last year for doing just that-- a practice as old as WSOP satellites themselves. Why, then would I choose to give Harrah's my rake in the cash games when there are plenty of other options?

The WSOP knocked over a hornet's nest with this one. They broke the cardinal rule- don't upset people with pens or a platform. Just as I was getting excited about my annual sojurn to Vegas, that "pilgrimage" Ty Stewart so elegantly described on this morning's media conference call, I'm finding nothing but a bad taste in my mouth.


2:42pm: Well that took only ninety minutes. See what happens when the poker media actually works together? I got a voicemail from WSOP pooh-bah Seth Palansky just a bit ago reassuring me that I'd be able to play bracelet events this summer. He followed it up with this two-part tweet from the @wsop account:
"Is it too late to say April Fools Poker Media? (j/k) I screwed up. I hear you. We'll come up with an alternative that lets u do both. Give me a day to vet, but I think there's a way to do this that is more fair. Will provide details as soon as we can, but please rest easy."
Thank you, WSOP for listening. And thank you, poker media for a quick, decisive response.


Random Table Draw said...

I was going to write something on this, but you summed it up. I'm really crushed now. Not only did most of my freelance work dry up (making it a (at best) zero sum game for me this year, but if I can't play, why the hell should I even go? Given, the cash games have always paid me better than writing about the tournaments, but it was my "big one" for the year. I guess I'll just see if Ty, Seth or Jack know me well enough to yank me out of a seat or pull me off a final table.

Snuffy said...

I was going to say 'I'm glad I didn't go the credentialed media route' but then saw the update. At least they listened. First time for everything I guess.

jamescorbin13 said...

From what I'm reading on AVP the side games, especially 2/5 NL, at the Rio are so juicy the good players are not even bothering with the tournaments, just soaking up all the loose cash at the side games.