Jeffrey Pollack, formaly the guy behind the World Series of Poker, often preached that poker could be anyone’s game. If you’ve got the skills, you’ve got the potential to make millions. Now, however, he’s changing his tune. No fish allowed!
Pollack is launching a pro league aimed at showcasing poker’s biggest names including Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, Vanessa Selbst, Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey and Daniel Negrenu. However, it’s not just poker celebrities that are going to be the stars of Pollack’s league. He is basing his league off of overall consistent winnings and cashes, which leaves out 2006 WSOP winner Jamie Gold. After Gold’s $12 million win, he struggled to earn cashes in the poker circuit.
“I think I coined, ‘Anyone can enter; anyone can win,’ ” says Pollack. “… That’s great, and that’s the mantra for every other poker tournament. …This is about celebrating the best live event tournament players in the world.”
The eligibility rules were set by poker pro Annie Duke, who will not be among the pros in the league, but will serve as commissioner.
“It’s not that I’m happy about giving up poker (in the league). It’s that I would make the trade in order to be able to be able to execute this concept. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do,” Duke said. “We put a lot of thought into it just thinking about what it is that would define one of the best live tournament players in the world.”
Players who meet the criteria will be given cards for the first season were announced, with cards awarded based on major titles, and cashes. Players have to have had a lifetime achievement of wins and to have won since 2008.
“We wanted to make sure that we were grabbing the best of the best today,” Duke said.
Therefore, also ineligible is Chris Moneymaker, whose 2003 WSOP win helped to reinvent the poker industry.
Duke acknowledges Moneymaker’s contribution to the poker world, however, adding, Moneymaker is “on the bubble.” The list will be updated after Aug. 1 following this year’s WSOP Main Event.
In the $20K buy-in league held at the Palms Hotel and casino, there will be four “Main Events” held in August, September, December and February. The top 27 players advance to the championship Feb. 13-14 where contenders will vie for the $2.6 million in prize money. Currently, there are 218 players with tour cards.