FlopTurnRiver had the opportunity to interview the hosts of the 2011 WCOOP Radio Show – Joe “Stapes” Stapleton and Nick Wealthall. Stapleton is known for his co-hosting and commentator role on The Big Game, along with his outstanding sense of humor. Wealthall, host of the UK & Ireland Poker Tour, is also no stranger to the poker world. He’s been playing the game for over 15 years and has written many magazine articles and blog posts on the subject. The combination of these two should put on an entertaining radio program, making sure there’s never a dull moment.
We asked Stapleton and Wealthall about their 2011 WCOOP predictions, expectations, and radio show experience. Here’s what they had to say.
FlopTurnRiver: Anders “Donald” Berg is registered for 57 out of the 62 events. Any predictions for his run this year?
Joe Stapleton: As you know, Anders “Donald” Berg, was nicknamed “The Tournaminator” by us as a result of his performance in this past SCOOP.
Nick Wealthall: He’ll play great and run exactly to expectation.
FlopTurnRiver: Anticipate any sleeper successes for 2011?
Joe Stapleton: Yes, but if I knew who they were, they wouldn’t be sleepers. I think “The Help’s” got what it takes to be the sleeper hit of the summer.
Nick Wealthall: If I did they would stop being sleepers so no.
FlopTurnRiver: Which event are you looking forward to the most?
Joe Stapleton: I like those sick Omaha rebuy tournaments. The ones with like 3,489,458 rebuys. I like it when a guy’s got to finish top two to make any money.
Nick Wealthall: The main event – its’ the most prestigious online poker tournament in the world.
FlopTurnRiver: How do you feel about a lower-buy in WCOOP? Should they call it something like mini WCOOP or something not related to the WCOOP brand?
Joe Stapleton: I’m all for buy-ins that include a wider range of participants. Lower buy-ins help players build their bankrolls to become the Elky’s and the Jason Mercier’s of tomorrow. Tomorrow’s a metaphor, of course. Tomorrow’s final table is probably going to go to heads up between Jason Mercier and Elky.
Nick Wealthall: I wouldn’t like it – the Wcoop is the world championships it should be hard to get into and prestigious to win.
FlopTurnRiver: Which event do you think will have the toughest field?
Joe Stapleton: The main event will likely have the toughest combination of stiff competition mixed with a massive minefield of players to have to get through. Deadly combination.
Nick Wealthall: The 10k high roller.
FlopTurnRiver: Which event do you think will have the softest field?
Joe Stapleton: The tennis courts tend to get a little sloppy after a bit of rain, but I don’t think there will be one event in this thing that has a “soft” field.
Nick Wealthall: The main event – but I’m guessing due to the number of qualifiers.
FlopTurnRiver: Which country do you think will cash for the most money?
Joe Stapleton: You gotta like the Brits. Or the Germans. Also, you can’t count out the Russians. You’re right. I’m going with Modolva.
Nick Wealthall: The UK. We have the best players as evidenced every week on the UK and Ireland poker tour.
FlopTurnRiver: Tell us about some of the challenges involved in putting together a radio broadcast of an internet event. Are there any guests you expect to join you on the air?
Joe Stapleton: You can expect all the biggest PokerStars pros, as well as some big name pros who don’t necessarily fly our same flag. Coordinating technology, and schedules are two of the biggest challenges being faced by the producers – and they appear to be handling it brilliantly so far. I’ve been hosting “radio” shows about poker for five years now, and this is by far the most legit production I’ve ever been a part of.
Nick Wealthall: It’s very challenging but luckily people much cleverer than me are in charge of making it happen! We’ll have lots of great guests including Daniel Negreanu and Tony G but I’m also looking forward to talking to the average players who can call in.
FlopTurnRiver: What effect do you think Black Friday will have on the 2011 WCOOP?
Joe Stapleton: I think PokerStars is doing a great job of trying to reward those customers who are still able to play with programming like this. And if nothing else, the chatbox will probably see a serious decline in “ur moms” this year.
Nick Wealthall: Overall numbers might be lower but it doesn’t change the fact that this is the most important online series in poker.
FlopTurnRiver: How do you think the turnout will be for the 8 Game High Roller event will be?
Joe Stapleton: That reminds me, I forgot to send out the Evite for this event…
Nick Wealthall: I have no idea – good I expect.
FlopTurnRiver: Have any favorites picked for the WCOOP Leader Board?
Joe Stapleton: Sure. Plenty. Donald Berg – The Tournaminator – for one. Drawing Dad and George Danzer always seem to be contenders as well.
Nick Wealthall: The usual suspects who play a lot of events at a high level like Mement Mori and Anders Berg.
FlopTurnRiver: Which Team PokerStars players do you expect to make big cashes?
Joe Stapleton: Well, Elky is guaranteed to win at least four tournaments, and Daniel’s taken up residence in Toronto so he can play, so you know he’s pretty serious about it.
Nick Wealthall: The ones that specialise in Online play probably have a slight edge – wouldn’t be surprised if JP Kelly had a good series and Elky cashes everything.
FlopTurnRiver: How did the two of you get into poker?
Joe Stapleton: I can’t answer for Nick, but my friend Scott Huff got an internship with Card Player back at the WSOP in 2005. I drove him up to Vegas from LA, and when I arrived, upon seeing that I had brought not only one, but two literate English speakers – I was immediately hired by CardPlayer. After that it was off to the races. In the blink of an eye – a mere six years later, I achieved the pinnacle of my career: hosting PokerStars Radio.
Nick Wealthall: I’ve been playing for about 16 years and started because poker is cool. fact.
FlopTurnRiver: What are your proudest poker moments?
Joe Stapleton: There was one time in my home game where I had a hand hold up, and I wasn’t the first one out. It doesn’t get any sweeter than that.
Nick Wealthall: Hosting the UK and Ireland Poker tour.
FlopTurnRiver: Any words of advice for people playing in this year’s WCOOP?
Joe Stapleton: Practice your flips. Most under practiced skill in poker.
Nick Wealthall: If you never go all in you can never lose….think about it.