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Welcome to our weekly Weekly Burn & Turn, where we discuss the latest poker updates published during the week.

Vidcast for the week of: Sunday, November 29, 2015

The One With The Predictions

Thank you so much for watching.

If you would like to read the articles discussed in our vidcast, please see the links below!

(1:04) PokerStars Players Plan to Strike Dec. 1-3

(6:10) 5 Poker Predictions for 2016: Part 1

(9:40) 5 Biggest Poker Losers of 2015

(13:16) Is There a Dress Code at the Poker Table?

Have an idea of something we should discuss? Drop us a line at [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!

Transcription Below

On this episode of the Weekly Burn & Turn, we talk about the biggest losers at the poker table of 2015; also, a bunch of predictions in poker for 2016; is there a dress code at the poker table; and the biggest issue going on right now: a strike on PokerStars. Be sure to tune in, right after this.


Welcome everybody, back to the Weekly Burn & Turn for the week of November 29th, 2015. I’m Robbie Strazynski.

And I’m Shimi Weiss.

Happy to be here once again for another week of poker entertainment. Are you ready?

I’m ready. Let’s get started.

Let’s get right into it. This is a topic that everyone in the poker world is talking about, or are they?

They should be talking about it. It’s a very big topic.

The poker playing community is definitely talking about it and they’re “doing nothing about it,” so to speak.

I see what you did there.

A big strike, a sit-out if you will, on PokerStars.

It ends today, right?

I believe so. It started on December 1st and had to go through until December 3rd.

We’ll have to see if it has any real effect. I mean, to be honest, I don’t think it was the right move. Let’s be fair, it’s very good to be able to take a step back.

One second. Let’s explain what the strike is about.

Well, if you’ve been watching our previous episodes I’m sure that you’ll know about what’s going down with PokerStars. They’re switching things up and it really hurts the professional players.

A lot of changes to the VIP Scheme, which relates to frequent player points that players earn. We can compare it to the Frequent Flier Program that airlines have. This was in the middle of the year, during the agreement, PokerStars were offering certain rewards for a certain amount of play, and now they’re completely changing the rules.

They definitely pulled the rug from under their feet, let’s be honest. So the strike is coming as a result of them wanting to basically show PokerStars what they’re going to be losing if they upset them.

For sure, these are their highest volume grinders, people who are playing all day, everyday. They live on the PokerStars site, so they’re banding together and I guess their leader is Dani Stern, and it’s all over the Two Plus Two Forums. This is all they’re talking about at the moment, and there has been a sit-out.

I think that the goals are wrong. I’ll be honest with you, the goal of the strike (from what I understand) is to actually push off the changes until 2017 to give them a time to transition because they did it all at the last moment. I think they should be more doing the strike to tell PokerStars that there should be better communication.

Yeah, there was actually a really good podcast by Joey Ingram, where he had Daniel Negreanu on. As we know Daniel is a paid spokesperson for PokerStars, he’s the face of the company. Later on in the podcast he had Dani Stern as well. I think that was the major thread, that was around two hours long, and they kept talking about failure to communicate. What we have here is a failure to communicate. I mean, PokerStars are really good. They’ve got a PR department but unfortunately there’s been a systematic decline with the pro community. Now of course they’ve still got their PokerStars Blog going and they do talk. They have a representative on the forum, but an announcement like this could have been communicated better.

There had to have been more of a warning.

Yes, something like that they’re not going to change it now, but soon. It still would have sucked but they would have been able to prepare for it.

You have to have more recognition for the players’ feelings. They’re going to be upset about this and you have to reach out to the players and let them know about this. It shouldn’t be a surprise.

You can’t help but take action. You’re not going to just sit there and take it, and I feel that the strike is very justified actually. The thing is, is the strike going to have the desired effect? I think, like you were saying, of course they want some action to take place. Will it, won’t it? I don’t know. Amaya is a public company and maybe they had certain plans and they have to follow through and they can’t just roll it back because a bunch of pros said so. At the very least, whatever happens, I think what’s good is that the pro community has united. There are 2,000 or 2,500 players who have taken part in this. The fact is that they are a legit, identified community and they can go ahead and move and when they want to make a statement, they’ll make it with power. That’s good and I think PokerStars should be aware of that and treat them respectfully as such.

On a personal note I’m happy that they’re striking. This is the time for me to hit the tables. That’s it! This is my moment, my chance to shine and actually win some money.

Well done. What am I supposed to say about that? What I will say, in terms of related developments in the industry, is that 888 Poker has stepped it up and they are having rake decreases and big promotions to try to draw in some of those regular grinders. Kudos to them, and what else can you expect? The fact is that it is a competitive industry and of course the companies are in it to make money. They’re not in it to provide a living for the players but there needs to be a lot more communication in general between those who play and those who run the company. In general, when there’s communication good things happen and when there is a failure to communicate we have problems like these.

Do that impression again, the failure to communicate one.

What we have here, is a failure to communicate.

We need Robbie to be doing more impressions. I mean Robbie, come on man, it’s going to be a good new year. Any predictions for 2016?

It’s a good segue. I predict I’ll do some more impressions, actually, so we’ll see. There is a great article here by Jennifer Newell: 5 Poker Predictions for 2016. One of the things that she predicts is that more Twitch Stars are going to emerge. I think that she’s spot on there.

Absolutely. I mean so long as they’re good, they’re going to attract the public that they’re looking for.

I believe so, and it’s not just that we have Jason Somerville and Jaime Staples. Yes, we know about them and we talked about them but I think that more people are going to jump on the bandwagon. The key is, that it’s going to be Twitch Stars, not just people who are on the bandwagon, but people who really come out of their shell and become Twitch Personalities. I think it’s obviously good for poker in 2016 and I think it could certainly help grow the game. I think that if they’re anywhere near the influence that Jamie Staples and Jason Somerville are having, it will bring more people to the game.

I really liked what she said. She said that we’re going to start seeing actual events streamed live with Twitch. This is going to be a really exciting year.

That’s what fans want. I mean, it’s not 2003 anymore. Yes, we do have post production and edited episodes of the World Series of Poker, but now you have more of the hardcore, diehard fans and they’re following hand for hand online. They want to see the final table as it happens. They want to live in that moment. People are live streaming everything. We’ve got Periscope, Twitch, and all these sort of things, and people are interested in it. I do think that more live streaming and ‘as-it-happens’ type of poker content are going to be out there.

What predictions would you give?

I am glad you asked, Shimi, because we have some predictions here for 2016.

I do not know anything that is in that envelope. Bring it on, let’s go.

This is not Johnny Carson style, nothing like that, but let’s see what predictions we have for 2016. Okay, here we go. This was handed to me before the show. 1) Phil Ivey gets into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Oh, that’s easy money. If you want to make a prediction, you’d want it to come true. That is our prediction.

Did you write this?

I can neither confirm nor deny.

Okay, that’s not a prediction, that’s a lock. That’s what we call a ‘lock’ in poker. Okay, 2) Phil Hellmuth plays in the WSOP Seniors’ Event and loses heads up to Doyle Brunson. That is a creative prediction.

I mean, you’re predicting that Phil Hellmuth is going to lose. That’s not really a big prediction. Ooohh!!

Ooohh!! Interestingly, he is 50 years old, so he is eligible to play in the Seniors’ Event.

50 years old! Wow.

Imagine how many complaints that is. ‘Honey, Honey! I lost again!’ – 50 year of that, my god.

Jeez, wow.

I don’t know, but we’ll see if that prediction comes true. Another prediction here, 3) The WSOP drops the ‘Last Woman Standing’ thing for the Main Event. I actually think that’s been a long time coming.

Yeah, absolutely. I’m sure they’ll rename it to something like ‘The Last Female Standing.’ Well done, well done.

Who wrote these? Seriously!

I would love to see a little bit more equality at the tables.

We need to see some better predictions. Interesting, but definitely read that article by Jennifer. Let’s move from 2016 and talk about this year. The biggest losers of 2015.

And we’re not talking about Robbie’s bankroll. Oh, I’m sorry man.

So who were the biggest losers of 2015?

It was a really good article. I think that first of all the November 9 was a very good one.

Well, they did not all lose!

It’s not that they lost, it’s that it was clearly less popular with the viewers.

Oh, as a concept you mean!

Absolutely. It actually hurt to say because I love the November 9. That’s a highlight for me but they weren’t doing themselves a good service this year.

I feel that poker has lucked out, and also ESPN has lucked out. There has been a really big name pro each year. You had a Michael Mizrachi, or Scotty Nguyen almost made it, and if Negreanu made it that would have also increased the ratings. The concept is sort of past its prime I guess.

That would have been amazing! Once Negreanu was knocked out, everyone was like “Oh, well I don’t care anymore.”

I wouldn’t say everybody.

There were 10 people who still cared.

They had to work a lot harder to create those stories, but congrats to everyone that did make the November 9. I think for the concept, it’s time to go the way of the dodo.

Yeah, or not to push it off that far, I think you need to find a different angle to make it more appealing and I think what James wrote was very, very interesting in terms of the different factors that caused it to lose in popularity, such as the fact that it was such a foregone conclusion who was going to win. I mean close to all the chips in play were in Joe’s stack.

I mean anything could happen. I think the bottom line is that something needs to change and unfortunately the November 9 has seen better days. Also, biggest loser of 2015: Phil Ivey. Of all people!

I think if we look back overall he’s still doing just fine.

Yeah, but we’re talking about him not having done well online lately. I’m not too worried about Phil. As far as I know he’s in Macau taking everybody’s money over there. So he’s doing fine, but according to the stats and the databases he hasn’t won that much money. Hopefully he’s going to appeal that case and get the money back, that he rightfully won! Good luck, Phil, for next year.

We’re rooting for you.

Any other losers for 2015?

Well, I like the last one that was listed. It talks about basically the environment of poker and that it’s a little misogynistic. I think the women are really losing out because of the environment they’re forced into. It’s a little problematic.

So you’re saying the losers are the misogynists?

No, I’m saying the losers are really the whole poker community in general because if you push women away, you’re taking out a huge factor of the game. If you follow through and actually read up on it I think that what they said was very interesting. The number one thing that we could be doing in this new year to try to help reduce this problem is to just open our ears and listen to the fact that there is a problem. We have to stop ignoring it and the women players should speak out and tell us about their playing experience.

You know, 75% of the audience of the Weekly Burn & Turn are women.

There you go! And it’s not just our wives.

There’s four people, and two of them are our wives, then your sister, and that’s 75%. Okay, last topic for this week’s episode. Is there a dress code at the poker tables? Take it away, Shimi.

No. Absolutely not! I hated that I even have to put on a specific type of shirt, although I do love this PokerUpdate shirt. I’m the type of guy who gets up in the morning and doesn’t get out of his pajamas. I’ll take my kids to school in my pajamas.

So you’re saying that if you made the final table….

I would be there in a t-shirt and sandals.


Absolutely! Although I would make sure that there is a little bit of advertising room on my T-Shirt.

For PokerUpdate!

For PokerUpdate, or you know, Pepsi.

Perhaps. I don’t know. I’m more on the side that you need to dress it up a little bit. It’s going to be filmed, and it’s on TV, and one of the things that Jennifer wrote in this article is about basic hygiene. Shower, wear socks. Socks would be great. Shoes, at least.

But don’t make us wear suits and ties. I mean, all the respect to the players that do that, but I never liked suits. It’s so uncomfortable, and to sit there for 10 hours playing poker while wearing a suit doesn’t seem appealing to me.

I mean I don’t know. At the end of the article they put a little capture of me wearing my suit – the poker suit. I would totally wear that to the final table. Full suit: Tie, jacket, pants. The whole deal.

I was a little worried to hear about some casinos that do not allow you to sit at the table in shorts. You can’t take away my cargo shorts. I need those pockets. That’s important to me.

I don’t know. I feel like there should be some basic rules. Not too skimpy or sleazy or anything like that, just dress normally how you would when you walk around the streets I guess.

Okay, take out pajamas. I’m willing to get a little dressed up in a nice solid t-shirt, no? Marvel Comics t-shirts or something like that.

Wait, hold on a second, I forgot about this. Shimi will make the Final Table and not wear his pajama – another prediction for 2016.

Well that’s definitely not coming true. I’m going to totally be there in pajamas.

We’ll see about that. As we wind the year down, we want to remind you that if you’re watching the show here on YouTube, be sure to subscribe and comment. If you’re watching on Facebook, like, share, and tell your friends about it. You can contact us via email on [email protected] Give us a shoutout on Twitter, @PokerUpdate, and messenger pigeon, fax machine, anything! We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode and we’ll be seeing you next week. I’m Robbie Strazynski.

And I’m Shimi Weiss.

See you later.

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