Over the course of nearly four years and nearly 200 episodes, Gamble On has established itself as the leading gaming industry podcast, delivering news and analysis as well as interviews with the most influential names in gambling every week.
Episode 199, posted July 7, 2022, features an interview with PokerGO Senior P.R. & Communications Manager Donnie Peters, who, like the rest of the poker community, expected hiccups and growing pains as the World Series of Poker moved this year to two new homes — Paris and Bally’s on the Las Vegas Strip — only to be shocked by how smooth the transition was.
“This move to the new venue has been an absolute home run,” Peters said. “It’s really surprising, because generally people hate change. Not just in poker — in everything. People just don’t like change. You’re used to one thing, you’re comfortable, you don’t like to go outside of that box. This has really worked.”
Peters noted that there have been some complaints from players about such problems as having to pay for parking, air conditioning issues, and staffing shortages.
“But overall, things have been great,” the poker media veteran said. “I was worried going in, obviously had my questions, knowing how the poker people are. … But ultimately [the change] turned out to be a pretty good thing overall, and it’s probably only going to get better.”
Listen to “199: RIP Hank Goldberg, Pro Football HOF as sports betting applicant, WSOP talk with Donnie Peters” on Spreaker.
Peters’ money quotes
We’ll find out Friday afternoon whether this year’s WSOP Main Event will break the record of 8,773 players set in pre-UIGEA 2006. As of his midweek chat with Gamble On, Peters was extremely optimistic.
“I’m very confident that the record’s going to fall,” he said. “I’ve been saying I think slightly over 9,000 is where I’m at. Talking to a lot of people at the WSOP, whether they be tournament staff members, various players that are there, industry members, etc., people have been throwing around 10,000 as the number, which seems insane.”
Will the all-time #WSOPMainevent entry record fall today? Here’s what @Donnie_Peters predicted earlier in the week on the #GambleOn podcast with @EricRaskin @BergenBrennan. pic.twitter.com/Flhz7tLKbT
— US Bets (@US_Bets) July 8, 2022
Peters on his experience playing in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event for the first time and not getting the soft opening table draw he was hoping for: “I sat down, I was like, ‘OK, I don’t recognize anyone, this feels good.’ And next thing I know it’s raise, re-raise on every hand. I’m like, ‘OK, what is happening?’ It must’ve been a bunch of online guys.”
Peters on the impact of Phil Ivey returning to the WSOP in full force: “It kind of rejuvenated some fans, because at times in years past, when Phil Ivey has sat out, there’s a lot of people that check in and are like, ‘Ivey’s not even playing. Why should I even care?’”
Peters on Phil Hellmuth reaching heads-up play in pursuit of his record-extending 17th bracelet: “The place was electric. … He is Mr. WSOP with this record until someone catches him, and it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to catch him anytime soon.”
Podcast hosts Eric Raskin and John Brennan paid tribute to famed sports betting handicapper and media personality Hank Goldberg, who died Monday on his 82nd birthday. “There’s this generation — or multiple generations, really — of sports media types that he comes from, who managed to talk about point spreads on air before it was necessarily acceptable to talk about point spreads on air,” Raskin said. “And you needed some charm to pull that off. You needed to make it fun. You couldn’t get away with it if you came across as a degenerate or as someone who was all about making money. And Hammerin’ Hank threaded that needle on ESPN.” Added Brennan: “I think the industry is indebted to him for helping [promote sports betting] before it was officially kosher outside of Nevada.”
With the recent news that the Pro Football Hall of Fame has applied for a sports wagering operator license in Ohio, Brennan observed, “I’ll be interested to see how the sportsbook is integrated into the Hall. This is a place of reverence — maybe too much reverence — for a lot of diehard football fans who either don’t gamble or are actively opposed to it. Those fans don’t want to be looking at a bust of Jim Brown or Johnny Unitas or somebody while an LED ribbon listing Sunday’s point spreads and moneylines create a background distraction right behind them.” Added Raskin: “If a sportsbook gets into a Hall of Fame in Ohio while Pete Rose can’t because he bet on sports, that’s really something.”
A congressional caucus sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice, seeking a crackdown on offshore sportsbooks. Raskin observed that whatever the DOJ decides to do, progress is already being made via the combination of regulation and capitalism. “I used to hear ads for the offshores on tons of podcasts, whether sports gambling podcasts or even mainstream stuff that has nothing to do with sports, and I can’t remember the last time I heard one of those,” Raskin said. “As long as the FanDuels and DraftKingses and others are willing to spend money to advertise, it seems to be having the effect of diminishing the presence of the offshores.”
Brennan introduced a new option to the ongoing debate over how to pronounce “GIF.” Some go hard “G.” Some go soft “G.” Brennan — proud political independent that he is — elected not to provide ammunition for either side as he spelled it out, “G-I-F.” If that trend catches on, remember where you heard it first.
Closing thoughts: Brennan wrapped up the podcast with a commentary applying the maxim “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should” to his successful — but decidedly uncool — “under” wager on the number of hot dogs Joey Chestnut would eat on the 4th of July.
Photo: Malcolm Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Archive