This week on the Final Table radio show, Dennis Phillips and I talked with 24-year-old poker pro John Racener, one of the November Nine for this year’s World Series Of Poker Main Event, who explained:

  • how he debated with friends whether he’d fold a big hand earlier in the tournament when they were just a few players away from min-cashing;
  • why it took so long (5+ hours) to play down from 10 players to 9 ;
  • why so many of the players at the final table are under 26 years old; and
  • why lots of pros are now playing a lot more poker in Florida (his home state).

Next, we had a conversation with Norman Chad, commentator for ESPN’s coverage of the WSOP, which will air every Tuesday night for the next three-and-a-half months. He revealed what kind of stories they look for as the event takes place, why a goofy outfit doesn’t guarantee you camera time, which pros he knows he can turn to for a great interview, and what happened when he tried to get ESPN to show other games besides no-limit hold’em on television.

That interview took place in two parts, separated by a segment in which Dennis explained how and when the online poker sites approached Main Event participants to get them to wear their patches, and how much they were paid. We also updated the status of the Barney Frank internet gambling legislation that would clear up the legality of online poker

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Next week on the show: Gavin Smith talks about winning his first-ever WSOP bracelet this summer, and I’ll report on the World Poker Open in Tunica, Mississippi.