When the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event starts in November (after a lengthy break so ESPN can show the coverage almost live), all eyes will be on Phil Ivey, the celebrity poker pro who somehow fought through a field of almost 6,500 players to make the “November Nine” and have a shot at the $8.5 million first prize. But he’ll also be sitting on a very short stack, with about 10 million chips compared to the leader, self-employed logger Darvin Moon, who has almost $59 million in chips. (And how exactly does one freelance as a logger? Go door-to-door asking if you “need any pine trees cut down”?)
But while tournament organizers Harrah’s and ESPN will certainly be pushing Ivey in the media the next few months, they probably won’t be talking about Jeff Shulman, who sits in fourth place. Which might seem surprising, since he finished seventh in 2000 and is a known entity in poker, both as a player and editor of CARD PLAYER Magazine, one of the main mags covering poker. But as MLIVE points out, they’ll probably be backing away from him for one simple reason: he says he’ll take the bracelet and “throw it in the trash” if he wins.
The reason? He’s says he’s upset with the treatment of the players by Harrah’s, but then there’s also this little fact: CARD PLAYER lost exclusive rights to WSOP coverage this year to BLUFF, one of their major competitors, and WICKED CHOPS POKER says Shulman is miffed at the quality of coverage. (Apparently it doesn’t meet the exacting journalistic standards of their coverage last year.)
Whatever the reason, Shulman is acting like a petulant five-year-old, and is prepared to have the mother of all tantrums if he wins:
“It’s about my lack of respect for the WSOP and the management here and what they’ve done to the players,” Shulman said. “If I win, I’ll never play at the Rio or WSOP again. If I win, I’ll never play poker again.”
So to protest, he’d “renounce” the bracelet. Who does he think he is, George C. Scott? It would be more entertaining if he took a page from Marlon Brando and sent a Native American up to accept the bracelet for him. But there’s also the matter of the first prize, which Shulman hasn’t said he’ll throw in the trash. I guess it’s OK to be principled about a piece of jewelry, but not about $8.5 million.