Halfway through the Poker Masters players are raving and fans are gushing at the unprecedented schedule of events - all available exclusively on PokerGO. Commentators Ali Nejad and David Williams have seen just about everything in poker, but even they’re blown away by what’s unfolded at the ARIA Resort & Casino.
Nejad couldn’t get over the fields at the Poker Masters. “Man, it’s a treat for me after all these years into commentating to see literally a curation of the most successful, the foremost theorists in the game coming together, in my mind, strikes me as very poor game selection,” he said. “They’re willing to play at the stakes that they are for the quest of prestige.”
“It reminds me, that while money is first and foremost in everyone’s mind, because at the end of the days this is their career and livelihood,” Nejad continued. “That there are some intangibles beyond that, which is what delineates between the guy who is just grinding and the guy who is playing for something bigger.”
Williams agreed with his broadcast partner. “Yeah, that’s accurate, also poker players have egos,” he said. “While we can say ‘it’s some of the best’ or ‘there’s no spots’, I bet all these guys think that there are spots. Thinking, ‘Oh, this tournament is juicy!’ I mean everyone has ego and thinks everyone is worse than them.”
“I have a feeling they don’t view it like we do it. They’re not like, ‘Oh there’s no spots, but I’m just going for this jacket in this tough field,’ Williams said. “I think they’re like, ‘It’s tough, but these guys suck.’ That’s what people think – they always think their opponents are no good.”
Nejad nodded but then said, “If it’s silly for me to think it’s poor game selection by the pros, how good is Matt Hyman? He’s a businessman that plays poker and clearly has some chops.”
“He got in there and finished second [in Event #1] - it’s an even more formidable deal for him,” said Nejad. “It’s probably all part of the experience, I mean he certainly wasn’t there just to have fun. He was taking it seriously.”
“That speaks to what poker is – that’s why people love poker,” Williams replied. “It’s why you see businessman actually playing the high stakes – anyone can win on a given day. It’s not chess, it’s not a long run thing – we’re not going to play for a year and see who is the winner. It’s a week of tournaments where the structure is set up where it gives everyone an equal shot. People see that and they’re like, ‘I’m gonna play and take a chance, maybe it’s my day.’”
Williams commented on how relaxed and casual the environment has been. “Well I think it’s not like it used to be, where these stakes were few and far between,” he said. “These guys play the ARIA and Bellagio High Rollers and those things get up to $500,000 and a million. Life is all about experience and repetition, and so to these guys it’s not something new because they’ve done it before.”
Nejad credited the players for competing against each other. “Poker certainly suffered Post-Black Friday, but I see a rebirth - a genesis and a willingness from players to come out and put that amount cash on the line,” he said. “Back in the other time, during the boom, it was almost like a parallel universe. There were things where the eye deceived and you couldn’t really give things credit as what it appeared to be on the surface. But now those sponsorships and arrangements are much fewer and further between.”
“We’re bringing you the best of poker and if you’re into it, there’s no other place to go,” he added. “We appreciate people’s willingness to pony it up and get in there.”
Both commentators have been known for their personal style, but how would they feel about winning the Poker Masters Purple Jacket™?
“Well, it’s the only practical one [trophy], right?” Williams replied. “I have a bracelet but you’re not catching me wearing one of those. The Jacket is sweet, I’m not going to wear it all the time but I’ll find an event to wear it to – maybe next year’s Poker Masters.”
Ali Nejad prepping with Nick Schulman at the SHR Bowl. (Photo: Poker Central)
“Let me go on record saying I wouldn’t take the Jacket off,” Nejad stated. “I would Lance Bradley that thing – You’re going to know me when I’m coming. This means I beat all of you – all of you! It’s cool – it’s got the Poker Masters lining in it – you could just give someone a peek so they know it’s not a rental and the real deal.”
Catch Nejad and Williams call Event #3’s Final Table that kicks off Saturday at 3:30 pm ET only on PokerGO. The past two Poker Masters Final Tables are available in Event Replays.