Saturday, September 26, 2009

WSOP Extends Contract with IMG Sports and Entertainment, by Jessica Welman - 26th September 2009

Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment (HIE) announced Thursday that its World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand would be renewing its contract with IMG Sports and Entertainment for five more years through 2014. The two groups have worked together since 2005 and IMG has helped to bring major non-gambling sponsors like Jack Link’s Beef Jerky and Planters Peanuts to the popular tournament series.

Within a press release distributed by HIE, the company also placed emphasis on its efforts to grow the WSOP brand internationally into something larger than just an annual series of poker tournaments. “We are looking to emphasize the ‘World’ in World Series of Poker as our vision of the brand extends beyond the annual events in Las Vegas and London,” explained HIE Chief Executive Officer Mitch Garber. “By tapping the global reach and expertise of IMG, we are confident that together we can take the brand to new levels on the international stage through new international bracelet events and other WSOP licensed poker events.”

IMG has long been a power player in the representation game and has a client roster that includes Hollywood celebrities, Olympic and professional athletes, and several major athletic brands like Major League Baseball, the Ryder Cup, and the PGA. With offices in over 30 different companies, HIE is hoping IMG’s global presence will serve them well in the next five years.

“The World Series of Poker is an impressive property that we believe is well positioned to expand successfully into international markets given the increased activity in the online and offline poker business in key international markets,” said David Abrutyn, Senior Vice President and Global Managing Director of IMG Consulting.

Harrah’s has been taking steps to position itself for this transition into the international poker markets. First, it launched HIE earlier this year and hired former PartyPoker CEO Garber to run the operation. Earlier this month, HIE also announced it would be teaming with 888 Holdings’ business-to-business venture, Dragonfish, to develop online content for the casino conglomerate. Although the legality of online gambling remains up for debate in the United States, Dragonfish will supposedly create online gambling ventures branded for WSOP and Caesars Palace in European and other global markets. The WSOP’s longstanding relationship with ESPN was also renewed recently, with a contract guaranteeing coverage of the event on the ESPN family of networks through 2017.

HIE and the WSOP are not without their critics, though. Despite plans to make a grand entrance and participate in this weekend’s WSOP Europe, 11-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth recently spoke out against the company on the Hardcore Poker Show because of the steps being taken to expand the brand into online poker ventures. Hellmuth, like many other top pros, has a sponsorship deal from an online poker site and fears HIE’s attempts to create a WSOP-branded room will jeopardize lucrative television logo deals that players use to subsidize their income.

“You know, there’s going to be some mistakes made by Harrah’s and just mark my words - they’re going to risk losing the World Series of Poker, which is estimated at $200 million,” Hellmuth said in his interview. “It may actually become worth nothing if they force the players and all the great internet sites to say, ‘Look, we’re going to start our own deal because Harrah’s is restricting logos.’ They’re actually taking logo use out of the picture, or trying to press their position as a site owner.”

To date, there has been no official announcement of a WSOP-branded online poker site, but the hiring of Garber and recent steps taken by HIE lead many to believe that is the direction the brand is heading. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

Global Gaming Directory Profiles

World Series of Poker

Harrah’s Entertainment

Mitch Garber

888

ESPN

IMG

Las Vegas

News

Las Vegas News

Poker News

Casino News

Online Casino News

Global Gaming News

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WSOP Europe On The Way - 21st September 2009

World Series of Poker Europe kicked off over the weekend at the Empire’s Casino in London.

The player line up includes:

Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Peter Eastgate, and Ivan Demidon.

Global Gaming Directory Profiles

World Series of Poker

Poker Tournaments

Poker Tours

United Kingdom

Europe

British Gaming

British Casino

News

Poker News

Casino News

Online Casino News

Global Gaming News

Website Network

Global Gaming Directory

Poker News Media

Casino News Media

Media Man Australia

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Joe Hachem, Jeffrey Lisandro Featured on WSOP on ESPN Coverage, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 16th September 2009

Day 3 of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event hit television airwaves on ESPN on Tuesday night, with two hours of coverage dedicated to the festivities. Seated at the feature table were two Aussies, Joe Hachem and Jeffrey Lisandro.

Lisandro became the fifth player in WSOP history to take home three bracelets in a year and has logged 29 cashes since 2004. Hachem took down the 2005 Main Event and ignited a poker boom of his own in Australia. Joining the duo from Down Under was George Hardie, the former owner of the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. On the first hand, Lisandro raised to 3,600 with pocket eights and, after peeking down at pocket queens, Hachem made it 9,600. Lisandro called to see a flop of 10-4-2. Lisandro checked, Hachem bet 16,000, and Lisandro quickly released his hand, igniting chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”

ESPN announcer Norman Chad commented that, while Phil Ivey remains his perennial pick to win the WSOP Main Event, Lisandro’s heroics in 2009 make him a close second: “Let’s assume that aliens come down and lure Phil Ivey away to a cash game mother ship, then I must turn to Jeffrey Lisandro.” Ville Wahlbeck was the only player remaining in the field that could catch Lisandro for WSOP Player of the Year honors. However, he’d need a seventh place finish or better in order to do so. Wahlbeck was seated at Table Two during the 8:00pm ET episode alongside Kenny Tran.

Also found in the field were Ivey and Phil Hellmuth. “The Poker Brat” found that one of his tablemates, Lauchlin McKinnon, did not want to shake his hand. Instead, his opponent told Hellmuth, “I don’t respect anything you do. I think you’re a complete prick.” Hellmuth joked, “I think this is going to be a good day.” Elsewhere in the Amazon Room, Bodog pro Jean-Robert Bellande pushed with A-10 of diamonds for 20 big blinds and rivered a flush to double up. Chad labeled him a “survivor,” a reference to his appearance on the China installment of the CBS reality franchise.

Kent Senter, who is undergoing stem cell treatment for an incurable form of cancer, was all-in with pocket tens against Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier’s pocket jacks. The board ran out K-5-3-3-5, giving Grospellier the win and sending Senter home. He was met with a herd of television cameras upon his departure. Grospellier is a PokerStars pro; his site began sponsoring chip count leaderboard graphics on Tuesday night on ESPN.

The “Straight from the Pros” segment featured Daniel Negreanu battling against Sammy Farha in a hand during the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Negreanu folded a straight after a third spade hit the river to give Farha a flush. Negreanu, the captain of the Team Americas squad that will compete in the Caesars Cup, told ESPN cameras, “He’s either bluffing here or I’m dead.”

Negreanu’s comrade on Team PokerStars Pro, Hachem, was featured in the Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Wild Card Hand, in which the cards of one player are not shown so the audience can play along at home. Hachem raised to 4,100 pre-flop with the Wild Card hand and Claus Nielsen called with pocket threes. The flop came 8-2-5 and Nielsen checked. Hachem fired out a bet of 6,200 and Nielsen made the call. The turn was a deuce and Nielsen put in a check-raise to 32,000, causing Hachem to relinquish K-Q.

Also in the field was former November Nine member Dennis Phillips, who relived tossing out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. However, he wound up throwing the ball directly at the ground. Wahlbeck then hit the skids after running pocket queens into pocket kings, leading to an announcement from WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack that Lisandro had claimed Player of the Year honors. Ivey then moved to Grospellier’s table, leaving Chad to remark, “Poker’s superpowers clash.”

The second episode of Tuesday night kicked off at 9:00pm ET and continued coverage of Day 3 of the 2009 WSOP Main Event. David “Devilfish” Ulliott joined the cast at Table Two, while Hellmuth found himself flanking Josh Arieh. Former Main Event winners Peter Eastgate (2008), Greg Raymer (2004), Dan Harrington (1995), Hachem (2005), and Hellmuth (1989) all remained alive to begin the episode, but Raymer quickly found himself on the sidelines after running pocket tens into pocket aces.

Lunkin doubled up after rivering a straight, causing Chad to lament, “I know Lunkin has played good, but I can’t tell you how ridiculously good he’s run. He should be halfway back to Moscow on an Aeroflot flight in coach.” Meanwhile, Nielsen bet out on an ace-high board after raising pre-flop with just 8-4. However, Hachem laid down pocket queens and Lisandro released pocket kings, giving the pot to Nielsen.

The Full Tilt Poker sponsored segment “Deal Me In” featured Howard Lederer taking on Hellmuth in a hand from the 2004 WSOP Tournament of Champions, which was ultimately won by Poker News Daily Guest Columnist Annie Duke.

Hevad Khan cheerily smiled at ESPN cameras, leading to the following comment from announcer Lon McEachern: “That’s the first real sign of life from him we’ve seen in two years.” Khan finished sixth in the 2007 WSOP Main Event. His lively antics resulted in the “Hevad Khan rule” against excessive player celebrations. Elsewhere in the dwindling field, J.C. Tran and Joe Sebok doubled up, while L.A. Lakers Guard Jordan Farmar was eliminated. Also hitting the exits was “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander, whose opponent made trips on the river.

Finally, “The Nuts” featured Chad and Hellmuth taking turns in a dunk tank. After Chad, a southpaw, finally sent Hellmuth to a watery demise, he commented, “I took more pleasure out of dunking you than anything in my whole life. That was two honeymoons rolled into one.”

New episodes of the 2009 WSOP Main Event on ESPN air on Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET and are repeated throughout the week on ESPN’s family of networks. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

Website Network

Global Gaming Directory

Casino News Media

Poker News Media

Media Man Australia

Tiffany Michelle Gives the Inside Scoop on Amazing Race, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 16th September 2009

On September 27th, the 15th installment of the CBS reality franchise “Amazing Race” will kick off at 8:00pm ET. Appearing will be professional poker players Tiffany Michelle and Maria Ho, the last women standing in the 2008 and 2007 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Events, respectively. Michelle sat down with Poker News Daily to preview the season.

Poker News Daily: Congratulations on appearing on “Amazing Race.” Tell us how the opportunity came up.

Michelle: Maria Ho and I have been friends for a while and bonded even more recently. There was lots of talk of us doing a reality television show. We agreed that if we did anything, it’d be “Amazing Race.” We thought we’d be an interesting team. With the competition and challenge of the show, it’d be right up our alley. We could take our poker playing background and use it on “Amazing Race.” We had a chance to go through the casting process and were in Las Vegas playing tournaments when we got the call. It was definitely hard to head back to the tables during the WSOP knowing we’d be traveling the world soon.

PND: Had you watched previous seasons of “Amazing Race”?

Michelle: I hadn’t seen a full season, but saw the show on different occasions. It looked challenging and was out of my league. I think it looked fun.

PND: The cast features Harlem Globetrotters and a former Miss America. Talk about the competition that you’ll face on “Amazing Race.”

Michelle: We were surprised to learn that we were the only all-female team this season. We felt pressure to represent women and knew that no all-female team had ever won “Amazing Race.” We thought that our competition consisted of young, big, athletic people. That was going to be our weakness, but we knew that the race tests your mental and physical skills.

PND: Past seasons of “Amazing Race” have included stops in the four corners of the globe. Talk about being able to travel the world.

Michelle: It was a very life-changing experience. I live a wonderful and blessed life. I get to travel and stay in nice hotels. We have a life of luxury and don’t have to sweat it out. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, mentally and emotionally. I came home and had a whole new appreciation for my life. I feel like I’m so full after the experience.

PND: Talk about your relationship with Maria Ho.

Michelle: I wouldn’t have done “Amazing Race” without her. You have to trust and feel comfortable with your partner. I was excited to share this experience with her. We travel together on the poker circuit already. We’re 10 times closer now.

PND: Is there anything you can take away from Annie Duke’s appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice” that could have helped you on “Amazing Race”?

Michelle: “Celebrity Apprentice” is a different format than “Amazing Race.” You’re competing against different people on your own. On the race, you have a team. There’s not that direct competition and you have the opportunity to work together in a group. We wanted to represent poker well after what happened between Annie and Joan Rivers. We wanted to come off the best that we could. We wanted to play a clean game and give poker players a good name. Also for us, we’re controversial and wanted to show people a different side.

PND: You’re hosting a Hollywood premier of “Amazing Race” that will likely include Tammy and Victor, who won last season’s installment of the reality show. Did they provide any advice before you set out?

Michelle: We got to go to a Labor Day barbeque at Victor’s house. A lot of people who were on “Amazing Race” were there and you felt like a big family. These people know exactly what you went through. Within a few minutes of being there, I felt like I had known them forever. It’s wonderful being a part of something special.

PND: What preparations did you make before the show began filming?

Michelle: I ran out and bought running shoes. I got my cardio up because I knew there was a lot of running involved. Also, we learned how to drive a stick shift. Maria was much better than I was at that, so she was responsible. We watched past episodes and talked about them. We prepped for the unknown as much as we could. I got my butt in the gym and got in touch with the outdoors.

PND: You mentioned in a blog entry before you left that poker will always be around, but doing “Amazing Race” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Was it hard walking away from this year’s WSOP Main Event to film?

Michelle: There wasn’t even a doubt in my mind that I wanted to do the show. What I did last year in the Main Event was amazing. As hopeful as I could be to repeat that, I was happy with that punctuation. The Main Event comes around every year and poker is always there. Not only was this an amazing challenge, but it was also an opportunity to be a part of an Emmy Award winning show. To get to do it with someone else sounded like a fun time. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

Website Network

Poker News Media

Casino News Media

Global Gaming Directory

Media Man Australia