Mike Sexton Attacks WSOP, Ty Stewart Jabs Back

March 6th, 2015 | by Greg Shaun
Mike Sexton and Ty Steward debate the merits of the modern WSOP.

Has the WSOP changed for the better? (partypokr.com)

Mike Sexton has long been a support of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), but in his latest blog post the partypoker pro called out the organization for some of its recent practices.

Despite having somewhat of a conflicting interest with the WSOP (Sexton is the host of the World Poker Tour), the veteran pro believes his many years of attendance give him an acute insight into the evolution of the festival.

Sexton’s View of the WSOP

Entitled “My Concerns for the World Series of Poker“, Sexton’s article hinges on the four month hiatus players now have to undertake if they reach the final table of the WSOP Main Event. Asserting that the break doesn’t benefit the players or capture the spirit of the tournament, Sexton goes on to suggest that a two day break would be better.

Additionally, Sexton also seems concerned with the creation of more bracelet events in recent years. Despite many players applauding the recent efforts by the WSOP to add more variety for players of all skill levels, Sexton believes this practice is watering down the value of winning a title.

I’m worried, as the number of events continually grows, the value of each bracelet will diminish. My suggestion to the WSOP decision makers is to keep tradition in mind and not let their attempts increase the bottom line destroy bracelet’s value,” wrote Sexton.

As Sexton’s comments reverberated around the poker community, the sounds waves eventually reached Ty Stewart’s shoreline. After reading through the article, the WSOP’s Executive Director decided to respond in kind with a comment longer than the original piece.

The WSOP is Not Dr. Evil

Thanking Sexton for his input but disagreeing with him on a number of points, Stewart outlined that thanks to the advent of social media and live streaming, the best way to show the final table is to delay the action to allow ESPN to turn it into a TV spectacle.

Additionally, Stewart believes the WSOP has worked hard to maintain the core principles of the WSOP as well as open it up to new audiences by offering buy-ins at various price points. However, the main issue Stewart stressed was that the company is not “Dr. Evil plotting to exploit a community.”

Although Sexton believes many of the recent changes are a result of the WSOP wanting to boost its balance sheet, Stewart argues that his decisions have always been guided by a desire to do the right things for “the right reasons.”

Arguments on Both Sides of the Divide

In closing, Stewart revealed the reason for his the extended reply: “[Sexton’s] post really struck an emotional chord.” For his part, Stewart wants to “bring poker to the world” and that’s the reason the WSOP is constantly looking to innovate and try something new.

With the summer fast approaching the attention of the community is gradually turning its attention towards the WSOP and that’s likely to cause even more debates over how the industry’s largest tournament festival is organized.


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