Joe McKeehen, 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, has a beef with the poker media and has been sounding off about it on Twitter. The reigning champ isn’t too happy with the new WSOP tournament start times. And he believes the changes were made to satisfy the media, not the players.
Many 2016 WSOP tournaments will begin an hour earlier than the traditional noon start times. According to McKeehen, 11 am is just too early for a poker grinder to arrive, but noon is just fine.
The reason for the change, in the mind of the champ, is because the media covering the WSOP can leave each day at an earlier time. He went so far as to call the players “slaves” of the WSOP, and is upset that, in his opinion, poker players are getting the shaft, while the media is getting what it wants.
Oh, the First World Problems of a $7.6 million man.
In His Own Little World?
McKeehen claims other poker pros agree with him, but few have made such a big deal of this seeming non-issue. In fact, many big name poker players have disputed his arguments altogether. One of those on the other side of the fence is the legendary Daniel Negreanu.
The dispute began following a Twitter post by the champ which called out the WSOP for allowing the media to control how tournaments are run. Kid Poker chimed in with a rebuttal.
“I can tell you with absolute certainty the media had absolutely nothing to do with it,” Negreanu responded, apparently not swaying McKeehen.
“What do you claim to know that I don’t?” Negreanu continued. “I was involved internally and am telling you media had nothing at all to do with it.”
Kid Poker brought up, in multiple posts, the fact that he was involved in decision-making, but McKeehen still refused to budge on his belief that the media is at fault for the issue at hand. Negreanu argued that Joe’s assertion that players are getting “screwed” is a stretch.
To prove his point, Negreanu ran a poll for his Twitter followers, asking them to vote on which WSOP start time is best. The poll mostly resulted in comments either saying they were fine with the new start time, or saying that Joe was making much ado about nothing.
There are many other poker players who also pushed back against McKeehen. That list includes PokerStars Team Pro Jason Mercier, one of the most popular players in the world and who has three WSOP bracelets of his own to his name.
“The WSOP is not an event set up to provide income for pro poker players,” Mercier told the defending champ. “Wasn’t it a public poll that made the change?”
“A public poll made by the media for the media?” McKeehen questioned. “Sure, that’s not biased or anything.”
Alex Dreyfus, founder of the Global Poker League, also felt the brunt of Joe McKeehen’s anger on Twitter. The businessman received a heavy dose of insults and curse words from the champ for sharing an opposing view.
Dreyfus suggested the change was made to attract more recreational players to the World Series. McKeehen’s response wasn’t exactly what most would expect of a public figure.
“You’re blatantly wrong and I want nothing to do with you,” he said.
After Dreyfus asked him to name specific individuals who are responsible for the start time change, the discussion became even more hostile.
“I don’t really give a (expletive) anymore and I’m going to pretend you don’t exist like I used to.”
At no point did Dreyfus insult or swear at McKeehen. He simply shared an opposing viewpoint. McKeehen, apparently, doesn’t like it when someone disagrees with his views, and that’s that.