Today marks the first day of the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. While most of us are familiar with ESPN’s weeks-long highlight coverage of the $10000 Main Event, few have seen the huge event play out live, and then only through questionable streaming video. This year, ESPN will be breaking new ground with hours of live coverage of feature tables at the Main Event, starting on day 3 and lasting through the final table.
The other night we ran live streaming coverage of Phil Hellmuth’s attempt at a 12th bracelet, capturing the attention of many in the club. We hope the same sort of interest will be expressed for the live coverage of the Main Event, which should be available on the screen in the poker room when it is running.
Starting July 14, there will be thirty-two hours spread over six days, as seen in the WSOP/ESPN schedule. Be sure to check out the action on ESPN 2 and help make this groundbreaking live coverage a success.
In a surprising turn of events, Phil Ivey today announced via facebook his intentions to sue Full Tilt’s parent company Tiltware, and to skip the 2011 World Series of Poker in a show of solidarity with those whose funds have yet to be released from Full Tilt Poker. Here are the poignant excerpts from his facebook page:
“I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. … I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot… on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts.”
This statement sounded almost like a hoax or a hack, but it has been confirmed by media site Wicked Chops Poker who contacted Ivey’s manager.
While Pokerstars has quickly returned funds to all players after reaching a deal with the government some weeks back, Full Tilt has yet to act on their side of the same bargain. I’ve been promoting an attitude of patience on this issue, but Ivey’s actions do strike me as a cause for concern. A big name like Ivey wouldn’t make a public stink about player’s funds if there wasn’t something to worry about. Let’s hope his actions prompt FTP to get the player funds back where they belong… if you’re like me, you’d like to have that online poker money available to play with in some great Encore Club daily tournaments or maybe a special event!
** UPDATE **
Tiltware has responded with a statement of their own in which they claim Ivey will do more harm than good in their efforts to restore funds. Their conclusion summarizes the statement well.
“Tiltware doubts Mr. Ivey’s frivolous and self-serving lawsuit will ever get to court. But if it does, the company looks forward to presenting facts demonstrating that Mr. Ivey is putting his own narrow financial interests ahead of the players he professes to help.”
What do you think, reader? Will Ivey’s actions get the Tiltware team to act, or is it another case of a sport celebrity using his soapbox to stir up controversy with what should be internal corporate business? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.