Federated Sports and Gaming (FS+G), the outfit that created the Professional Poker League (PPL), has acquired the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT). Created in 2005 by two guys from Fargo – Todd Anderson and Greg Lang – the HPT was intended as a low buy-in televised tournament experience for the everyman. And with a slogan like “Real People, Unreal Money,’ really, how could they miss? HPT programming is now available in over 100m homes across the US and more overseas. The HPT is currently midway through its seventh season, with action scheduled to resume Aug. 8 in Verona, NY.
The deal is a straight purchase, but Anderson, Lang and team will continue managing the operation. FSG chairman (and former WSOP commissioner) Jeffrey Pollack views the acquisition as a way to broaden FS+G’s scope. The PPL will serve the poker gods on Mount Olympus, while the HPT caters to the plebs. (Not how Pollack would phrase it, we’re sure.) Pollack was keen to emphasize the opportunities this top to bottom strategy offered FS+G’s planned Pro-AM events.
There are other ways for Joe Six-Pack to rub elbows (metaphorically, at least) with the poker gods. ExpertInsight.com is a new startup from Brandon Adams, Harvard Ph.D. and research assistant for Michael Lewis’ The Big Short. Expert Insight facilitates direct one-on-one video-chat interaction with an expert of your choice, be they economists, writers, sports coaches, chess or (aha!) poker players. They’re not cheap, mind you. Nobel laureate economist Gary Becker charges $5k an hour and Freakonomics author Steven Levitt is too embarrassed to even list his asking price (but you can call him and ask). Doubtful how many Joe Six-Packs can afford these words of wisdom. FYI, Adams is hoping to triple his experts roster by June 30, the site’s official launch. So, if any of you truly fancy that big brain of yours, there’s a handy submission button on the home page.
Poker pros account for a full third of Expert Insight’s existing menu, so the startup’s timing isn’t great, what with US players being denied the right to indulge their online poker instincts and all. Some of the poker names you can rent include (with hourly rate in brackets): Rafe Furst and Phil Gordon (each $500), Brian Hastings, Mike McDonald and Chris Sparks ($800) Cole South and José Maria Macedo ($1,000) Matt Hawrinlenko ($1,200); Ben Sulsky ($1,500), Patrik Antonius ($6,000) and Tom Dwan ($6,500). Damn, Tom… At that price, you better buy us breakfast, too.