The 2009 WSOP Main Event has played down to the November NineTM, which means it’s time for our second annual (sort of) Good for PokerTM, Bad for PokerTM, Meh for PokerTM list.
First things first, had Phil Ivey not N9’d it, this would be a turd of a final table on par with 2007. Probably even worse. Just like Cush would’ve saved all for Jerry, Ivey saved all for this final table from a marketing and general mass public interest perspective.
Anyway, we polled a number of people in the so-called “media,” industry types, and pros to gather opinions to go along with our own. Below is the general consensus. Note that just because someone might be listed as Bad for Poker, that doesn’t mean he is a bad dude (except maybe for Shulman). It just means they won’t do much to promote the sport and help the game grow, among other things.
For a more detailed “analysis” of this list, check out our column in next month’s edition of Bluff Magazine.
Meh for Poker
- Steve Begleiter: Are you excited about an ex-Bear Sterns executive in his 50’s winning the WSOP Main Event? Didn’t think so.
- Kevin Schaffel: Another average-looking 50-something white guy. Schaffler lives in Florida and has no real desire to play poker full-time. He’s this year’s Dan Nassif.
- James Akenhead: This one was the toughest for us to peg. Akenhead is a good young player from the U.K. He looks exactly like you’d think a good young player fro the U.K. would look like (this isn’t really meant as a knock, but the guy looks British). Everyone we spoke with in the industry, including the players, didn’t really have an opinion on the guy. Could be good, probably won’t be bad, so let’s go with Meh for now.
Bad for Poker
- Antoine Saout: Eff France.
- Eric Buchman: The guy is a straight-up mercenary who says he’s only in it for the money. Whoever wins the WSOP Main Event is the focal point of poker for a year. If Buchman wants no part of that, that’s his right, but it doesn’t mean he’s good for the game.
- Darvin Moon: Of every N9’er we asked our peers in the industry about, Darvin Moon caused the most amount of debate. Some argued he could be another Moneymaker. The problem with that is we’re not sure if Moon even knows what the Internet is. Others we’ve spoken with say Moon could be the worst thing that ever happened to poker. He’s another one that really doesn’t care about the “celebrity” attached with winning poker’s biggest tournament and he basically luckboxed his way this far. We say Moon, a ginger, is a ginger. So for now, we’re keeping the final table chip leader in the Bad for Poker column. Given his huge chip lead and chances of winning the final table, we hope he’ll change our minds.
- Jeff Shulman: Just reread this. Great storyline and we’re kind of glad he made it to the final table and is stirring the pot, but would be about as bad as it gets for a winner.
Good For Poker
- Joe Cada: The 21 year-old online whiz has a good attitude, could become the youngest ME winner ever, and doesn’t seem averse to doing the media tour. Works for us.
- Phil Ivey: Across the board, the only person on this list that everyone agrees is unequivocally Good for Poker. Great mainstream story here that the press will push about Ivey being the Tiger Woods of Poker. Big boost for the game if the best player wins its most prestigious (and televised) tournament. If Ivey wins and does the talk show circuit that Peter Eastgate turned down last year, maybe we see another Moneymaker-esque effect.