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    Annie Duke & Jeffrey Pollack from the Epic Poker League | QuadJacks Poker Radio Podcast Wednesday August 3rd

    Posted by Quad Jacks August 3, 2011

    We are joined by Annie Duke and Jeffrey Pollack to talk about the Epic Poker League which is coming up this weekend at the Palms poker room.


    Right click save as to download

    Annie Duke:

    * Has barely slept in the last few days, been very busy organizing Epic Poker League.

    * Won’t be getting much rest until mid september, there is very short turnaround between events.

    * At the dawn of the TV era, saw an empty space in the poker world.

    * In 2002, when Howard won 2 WPT’s, player fields were less than 150.

    * There were more opportunities to get on television with such small fields. That all changed when the boom came.

    * Started having serious conversations with various people in the middle of the boom about this.

    * It’s always been hard to define what a pro is. In golf and tennis, this is clearly defined since there are qualification requirements.

    * Pros that got famous before the boom were given an advantage. They landed sponsorship deals and remained in the spotlight. TV shows were designed for them.

    * However, many amazing players have risen through the ranks post-boom, but aren’t receiving recognition.

    * The typical fan, if asked who the best are, would name mostly TV names.

    * Epic poker league is designed to give a platform and opportunities for the best in the world.

    * Eligibility: considered over a long period of time. Bounced ideas off of pros and media members. Tried to factor in both lifetime results as well as recent consistency.

    * Wants to avoid one hit wonders, as well as lifetime achievers that haven’t done anything recently.

    * Online results are not counted. It’s a controversy that’s non-existent. Some online players are terrible live and vice-versa. But the roster is filled with successful online players.

    * Hendon mod provides EPL with data because they have the best data. (doesn’t acknowledge FTP ads plastered on site when asked)

    * EPL combed through the Hendon Mob database to verify its accuracy, and actually helped improve it as a result.

    * Can participate in EPL events, and qualifies. But chooses not considering the commissioner role.

    * Focus is now on being commissioner of EPL, and not being a poker player.

    * Goal is to create a system that truly rewards excellence in the game.

    * Adore Mike Matusow. He’s one of EPL’s biggest supporters.

    * Tons of value in the events for players. It is rake-free (except for dealer tote), money added to prize pools, free premiums rooms at the Palms, and $100 food/beverage voucher each day.

    * WSOP has a different kind of value. Some top players might have 400% ROI in events. EPL brings value in a different way.

    * Close to a lot of people affected by BF. Lots of aspects of the industry grew around online poker, especially media.

    * Left UB months before BF. Felt she did as much as she could to help players get payed back and release HHs. Couldn’t do any more.

    * Knew she was going to be making a move with EPL, so the time was right to UB.

    * Doesn’t have access to accounting, so can’t assess the job done by UB to pay players back.

    * Was very unlucky with UB when superuser scandal hit. Balanced out by the fortune of leaving UB at the right time pre Black Friday

    * Told house committee “if cheating takes place, data can be scraped”. A few months later, UB scandal breaks. Felt obligated to stick with UB to ensure it happened.

    * Hopes everyone gets paid back. Thinks everyone at FTP has the same goal.

    * Not associated with FTP, so doesn’t have information. QJ probably knows more.

    * Relationship with Howard is brother/sister. Not business. Can’t speak to his motives for silence. They never talk business, it’s not appropriate to do so.

    * Howard must want players to get paid and do the right thing.

    * Loves Howard deeply. Any undeserved blame Howard gets is heartbreaking.

    * UB was around before FTP. Along with Phil, signed a long-term contract, so missed the opportunity to join FTP. Couldn’t violate the contract.

    * 100 pros have already booked rooms at the Palms for the EPL.

    * Enjoyed WSOP production. Was glued to the TV. Tweeted about it, which was shown on broadcast.

     

    Jeffrey Pollack:

    * Must work even harder than a typical series, since it’s a startup.

    * Got his start in Nascar. Had no experience/exposure to poker when Caesar’s recruited him.

    * Recognizes that the pro community in poker is a very special segment. Annie was one of the first he developed a business relationship and friendship with.

    * Epic was born from a combo of Pollack’s business experience and Duke’s ambitions and unique insight into pro community.

    * EPL is complementary to the poker industry. WSOP, WPT, et al. are well established. They fulfill their niches. EPL fills a different niche.

    * Federated Sports and Gaming is the corporate entity. It’s a company set up to be the umbrella for different ventures. It’s not a consumer brand.

    * EPL is a league under that company. FS+G also owns Heartland and a social network game.

    * Annie is Executive Vice President as well as Commissioner.

    * The Palms is home to EPL. The first season has 4 event weeks. Each event week has 3 components: Pro AM, Charity event, and Main event.

    * Each Main Event has a different variant of No Limit Hold ‘Em. Main Event of the 4th event week will be the Championship, which is a $1 million freeroll.

    * Decided to reveal elements of EPL over time instead of putting it all out there at once. Was more practical that way.

    * WSOP, WPT and NBC Heads Up isn’t going anywhere post-BF.

    * Was with WSOP for a significant time. This isn’t about EPL vs. WSOP. Both venues offer something unique.

    * At the time of joining WSOP, there were no sponsors. The deal with ESPN at the time wasn’t what it should have been. In 4 years, the situation improved dramatically.

    * Started Sports Business Daily in 1994. Was told it would never work. 17 years later, it is still the dominant trade publication in the industry.

    * Was told the same thing when working for Nascar, WSOP, and now EPL.

    * EPL business model is nearly identical to WSOP, WPT, NBA, NHL, et al. Haven’t sold any sponsorships yet, but working on it.

    * Should take anywhere from 3-5 years for EPL to be profitable.

    * For any TV show to work, even sports, you have to have characters and personalities.

    * In traditional sports, players get paid to pay. In poker, players put up their own money. That’s part of the beauty of the game. EPL emulates traditional sports, and that’s why it doesn’t have to be an “either/or” thing in regards to WSOP and other venues.

    * Black Friday didn’t change any plans. EPL was planned and announced before BF. Landscape in the US has changed, but the appetite for poker programming and content hasn’t gone away.

    * Would like to think that EPL is a bright light in the post-BF world as poker matures and changes.

    * Business is totally focused on what’s legal right now. Launching, integrating Heartland,

    * If online poker in US is legalized, EPL will take a look at opportunities. But until then it’s not a focus.

    * Was in a call with Duke when news broke of BF. Went to Starbucks to use wifi to see what was going on, didn’t leave parking lot for over an hour watching it unfold.

    * EPL has no connection with FTP. EPL shares data with Hendon Mob, but everything else on their site (FTP ads) is foreign to EPL.

    * Never expected every pro to participate in every EPL event. Some players won’t want to participate at all, which isn’t surprising.

    * Won the media event at WSOP. Won an iPad2 and a nice set of headphones as her own bounty. Gave headset to the dealer and the iPad2 to the prizepool of a EPL charity event.

    * The Palms was chosen because they know how to treat stars and understand the power of television. The relationship between Palms and EPL is mutually beneficial.

    * Focused on growing the business successful, and not so much on a set date marking that they’ve made it or not. Life’s focus is to make EPL a profitable business.

    * All plans project success. No “stop-loss” in place.

    * Don’t see the downside for any player to participate, especially in the first year.

    * Guarantees of 2-years are a myth. Focused on having success one event at a time.

    * Any entrepreneur that says “I’ll give this 2 or 3 years and that’s it” has no business being an entrepreneur. You must have a dream, a vision, a plan, a strategy, and be completely devoted to it.

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