8 of 9 Inked in 2009 World Series of Poker

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Darvin Moon

When the World Series of Poker (WSOP) decided last year to initiate a four-month break between the time the WSOP Main Event final table is set and the time it is played off, part of the reason was to give the event four months of publicity.

The other part of the reason was to give the nine final table members the chance to ink endorsement deals with online poker rooms-in exchange for wearing a room's logo during televised final table play, the final table member earns a fee.

For the 2009 WSOP Main Event, the four-month break is again in effect-final table play resumes in November.

And so far, eight of the nine final table members for this year's WSOP Main Event have procured endorsement deals with Internet poker sites.

Flacking for online poker room Poker Stars (www.pokerstars.com) will be final table members Eric Buchman, who has the second-largest amount of chips at the table, Joe Cada, who is fifth in chips and Kevin Schaffel, who is sixth.

Shilling for online poker room Full Tilt Poker (www.fulltiltpoker.com) will be Phil "Poison" Ivey, who was already under contract with the room via a longstanding deal and is seventh in chips at the final table, Steve Begleiter, who is second in chips and James Akenead, who is ninth.

Antoine Saout, who is eighth in chips at the final table, has signed on as a paid mouthpiece for online room Everest Poker (www.everestpoker.com).

Jeffrey Shulman, fourth in chips at the final table, is editor of poker magazine Card Player (www.cardplayer.com), which owns online poker room Spade Club (www.spadeclub.com), so Shulman will wear that room's logos on his clothing when final table play commences.

The only member of the ‘09 WSOP Main Event final table without an endorsement deal with an online poker room is final table chip-leader Darvin Moon, who says he doesn't play online poker.

Nevertheless, numerous online poker rooms still want to hire him to endorse their rooms, but he said he isn't interested and won't be inking a deal with an Internet poker room.

At last year's WSOP Main Event, eight of the nine final table members had endorsement deals with Poker Stars.

Wanting to spread the endorsement wealth a little more in ‘09, the WSOP instituted a new rule this year limiting the number of final table members who could endorse the same room to three.

The rule is clearly a restraint of trade, and probably unconstitutional, but the WSOP doesn't care-it needs the publicity.

Thomas Somach, www.pokerhelper.com