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Dear Phil Ivey, (They said to write to Poker Santa but we all know you’re him)

I’d claim that I’ve been a very good boy this year but my editor that’s posting this letter would fall out of her chair laughing. (Editor’s Note: I would.) But why does it matter if I was a good boy this year. You used fake ID’s to play poker, so why do I have to be good.

Just give me what I want on my wish list and I’ll quit sending the gerbils to distract you while playing online poker. Deal?

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♠ What I Want for Poker Christmas : Part 1

♠ What I want for Poker Christmas : Part 3

Poker Central Expands Programming and to Other Major TV Providers

Poker Central became the first television network to broadcast 24-7 poker back in October. Presently, they are taking advantage of the online television revolution and are only available on streaming services such as Amazon fireTV, Xbox One and Roku TV.

I would like to see Poker Central expand to major cable and satellite providers during 2016, including Dish Network. I’m also eagerly waiting to see what new original programming they release in the coming year and am still waiting for my Late Night H.O.R.S.E. to become a reality. (It’s my Christmas wish list and I’ll ask for H.O.R.S.E. if I want to.)

Two or More States Regulate Online Poker in 2016

It’s been two years since the first regulated online poker sites launched in the United States. Only three states have regulated online poker and it is time for that number to grow and I’d like to see it grow to five by the end of 2016.

Pennsylvania is trying to get there but there’s no guarantee that it will happen. The only other state with a realistic shot (and yes I am channeling some major optimism here) is California.

My hope is that Pennsylvania gives the gift of regulation this Christmas season and that it amply pressures California to pull the trigger in 2016. If we can’t get two states regulated, I’d take Pennsylvania regulating online gambling and then forming some type of interstate network with New Jersey.

Poker Become More “Professionalized”

Alex Dreyfus has been talking about “Sportifying poker” over the last couple of years but I think it is also just as important that we professionalize the game as well. By this, I do not mean that we incorporate more pros into the ranks but rather that our pros and players in general act with more professionalism.

Jennifer Newell touched on it lightly in her Christmas wish list when she said that everyone should dress better at final tables but it should go beyond that. Poker pros are in the public eye constantly and should conduct themselves accordingly. One reason that some do not take the sportifying of poker as seriously as they should is because some of our “pros” hardly act like professionals.

With that said, the same holds true for some in the poker industry and the media. We all should strive to show a bit more professionalism in how we interact with the public, and each other, on the daily basis.

Are we presenting ourselves in a way that reflects positively on both poker and ourselves? If not, maybe it is time to invest in self-improvement.

Less Main Event Coverage – More Coverage on Other WSOP Events

I can’t be the only person tired of seeing almost nothing but the Main Event for the annual “coverage” of the World Series of Poker. The WSOP Main Event does not need 16 hours of coverage leading up to the final table.

So many events could have been taped and given an episode. Here are a few examples:

  • Robert Mizrachi Wins $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo
  • Phil Hellmuth with $10k Razz
  • John Gale Wins $1,000 Turbo NL
  • Mike Gorodinsky Wins $50k Poker Player’s Championship
  • Jonathan Duhamel Wins ONE DROP High Roller
  • Anthony Zinno Wins $25k PLO High Roller
  • Adrian Buckley Wins Millionaire Maker
  • Cord Garcia Wins Colossus

Personally, I’d also consider either of Max Pescatori’s Stud victories or Eli Elezra’s Stud win based on name recognition. The point is that there are plenty of stories out there that could have, and frankly should have been given air time.

For those that think that an hour may be too much for an event such as Stud, why not split up an episode and cover two tournaments? You could give each one 30 minutes. A highlight episode is another option. Maybe cover four or five bracelet events in non-Hold’em games but taken down by big names. Show a couple of big moments during the final tables and celebrate their win.

I almost never watch ESPN’s coverage of the WSOP Main Event anymore because devoting 16 hours for the Main Event before the final table is just too much of a commitment for a single tournament. Let’s expand the coverage and show players that the WSOP is truly a World Series of Poker.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.