First of all, Congratulations to ONE DROP champion Dan Colman & runner-up Daniel Negreanu (who became the all-time money winner for tournament poker).

Both are truly amazing feats. And “Thank You” to Negreanu and former ONE DROP champion Antonio Esfandiari, for being such great ambassadors for poker.

Not One I Would Recommend

I didn’t play the ONE DROP this time, wasn’t there, and don’t really know who did/did not do interviews for ESPN and/or the media. I did, however, hear some things and saw this article in the Las Vegas Sun Word is that Colman opted not to do them and that certainly is his choice, but not one I would recommend or agree with.

This Boggles My Mind!

We’ve had players on the WPT who have chosen not to do interviews and honestly, it boggles my mind why they would choose not to. It can only benefit them and/or the sponsor logo’s they might be wearing (or perhaps get them one if they did a good interview & had a good result). In addition, media coverage helps the event (that you’re making big money in) and the industry benefits from local and national publicity. Players should recognize that the media will only continue to cover events if players do interviews and communicate with them.

My Concern is This

Suppose all players didn’t want to do interviews on televised events or speak to the media? This would dramatically hurt production value, lead to fewer sponsors coming into poker, and eventually, there would be no more televised poker. Those that can’t see the forrest for the trees say, “So what? They’re not adding anything to the prize pool, anyway.”

Think About More Than Yourself

Players need to realize that without televised poker, attendance for big-time poker events would go down and players would make far less money. I would guess that the net worth of over 80% of poker pro’s wouldn’t be 20% of what it is today had television not come into the poker world. Digest that a minute. Whether you care about publicity or not, think of all the people that work in the industry that could be without jobs if television departs the poker world.

TV is What Made Us!

Make no mistake about this: Home games, brick and mortar poker, AND online poker exploded 11-12 years ago because of television. Some are too young to remember, but trust me, the brainchild of Steve Lipscomb – The World Poker Tour – changed the poker world forever. And TV was the reason online poker exploded as well. partypoker was the first online poker site to do TV commercials (I did them) and within 30 days after the commercials aired, partypoker expanded their business ten-fold and never looked back, becoming far and away the largest online poker site in the world (and remained that until UIGEA was passed in 2006 where partygaming, a publicly traded company, felt they had no choice but to exit the U.S.).

So Listen Up Here’s The Real Deal!

Let me give you an undeniable truth – I don’t care if you’re talking about home games, casino cash games, tournaments, or online poker – there’s an attrition rate (i.e., losers eventually quit playing) in poker and to maintain the status quo and/or continue the growth of the poker industry, you continually need new players. And for the most part, where do new players come from? That’s right, from watching poker on television. It will not be good for players or anyone working in the industry if television leaves the poker world.

My suggestion: If you’re lucky enough to make any televised final table, do your interviews and help the production staff make the best poker shows possible.

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2 Comments

  1. I completely disagree. There’s very little sponsorship money available these days. It’s ESPN and Harrah’s that benefits from the player compliance. They add no money to the pot, and give no break on the rake. I know you yourself have made much money off the players being tv friendly. Some of us would rather toil anonymously in the trenches. Those that seek the limelight will find and enjoy it.
    Be honest Mike, Coleman dancing for the media benefits your interests the most.

  2. Talk To Slacks on

    You are preaching your own book here, Mike, and that is fine. We get it. What the rest of the older generation needs to realize is that youth see the great value with both anonymity and social media. With the Internet creep comes the desire to be able to unplug or go away. Europe calls this the right to be forgotten. Privacy has a needed function in ones personal life. Let ESPN, Caesars, WPT and the various corporations and their shills promote. They are not going anywhere. Lastly, realize you grew up with TV as THE medium. Players have twitter, Facebook, Youtube and tons of other ways to reach the masses. Social media has trumped TV and ink press. His word still got out. Just not in the way conventional old school media wanted it. Too bad, sucks to be them, they are already on life support. The tide has turned, and it’s time to adjust.