PODCASTS

The Bernard Lee Poker Show (3/16/21): Craig Varnell and Matt Savage

By Bernard Lee
March 17, 2021

YouTube Video: Interview with Craig Varnell discussing COVID-19

YouTube Video: Interview with Matt Savage discussing COVID-19

Craig Varnell and Matt Savage

In this episode of The Bernard Lee Poker Show on the Cardplayer Lifestyle Podcast Family, Bernard Lee reminisces at the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown in the United States.

First, Bernard replays an interview with Craig Varnell, who took home 1st place at 2020 Shooting Star Bay 101 Main Event.  Due to the concern over Coronavirus, the final table agreed to a chop and named Craig Varnell the winner as he was the chip leader. Craig discussed the tournament, specially that final day which resulted in the final table chop.

Second, Bernard spoke with World Poker Tour’s Executive Tour Director Matt Savage, who ran three consecutive WPT Main Events during the early part of 2020. The final Main Event was 2020 Shooting Star Bay 101 which ended in an ICM chop due to COVID-19. Matt describes not only the details of the Bay 101 Main Event (March 11-13, 2020), but the weeks leading up to that WPT event.

Timestamps

0:00Welcome to The Bernard Lee Poker Show where Bernard Lee reminisces at the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown in the United States speaking with Craig Varnell, 2020 Shooting Star Bay 101 Main Event 1st place finisher and Executive Tour Director of the World Poker Tour, Matt Savage.
3:41Triton Poker Tables Ad
4:40Bernard replays the news about the COVID19 shutdown in March 2020 and the Bay 101 shutdown
8:44RunGood Gear Ad
9:27Bernard begins his interview with Craig Varnell.
9:58Craig joins The Bernard Lee Poker Show.
10:33Craig, who lives on the Las Vegas Strip, describes the eeriness of an empty Las Vegas during the Coronavirus pandemic.
14:00Craig discusses his decision to play in the 2020 Shooting Star Bay 101 Main Event.
17:11Craig recalls the events during the 2020 Shooting Star Bay 101 Main Event (March 11 to 13, 2020).
19:55Craig recalls the events during the final day (Day 3) of the 2020 Shooting Star Bay 101 Main Event (March 13, 2020) and the discussion of the eventual chop.
26:10Craig talks about playing poker online in Nevada and watching lots of television programs.
22:16Learn WPT Ad
32:22Bernard continues his interview with World Poker Tour’s Executive Tour Director, Matt Savage
37:19Matt joins The Bernard Lee Poker Show, as he recalls how the WPT LA Poker Classic began the process of COVID-19 slowly becoming relevant not only in the poker world, but the entire world as it became a global pandemic.
39:44Matt reveals that regular players, including Phil Hellmuth and Jared Jaffee, cancel their trips to LA Poker Classic.
43:43Matt describes the precautions taken by Thunder Valley Casino and the details of the event.
45:45Matt reveals some Shooting Stars begin to cancel: 8 of the 32 cancel due to COVID-19.
48:56Matt remembers the significant announcements on Day 1 of Bay 101, March 11, 2020 such as NBA shutdown and Tom Hanks testing positive.
49:27Matt describes Day 2, which included 8-handed play, unprecedented at Bay 101.  He also decides to play additional levels to reduce the Main Event to three days from the original four days.  At end of Day 2, Matt ran the ICM numbers in case Bay 101 closed down the next day.
52:39Matt remembers Day 3 an the eventual ICM chop due to COVID-19 concerns including one player not feeling well.  Prior guest of the show, Craig Varnell was declared the winner.  Later that Day, Bay 101 closed its doors becoming the first California casino to shut down.

Matt Savage Craig Varnell

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Bernard Lee poker author
Written By.

Bernard Lee

Bernard Lee is a professional poker player who has more than $2.5 million and ten titles since turning pro following his 13th finish in the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Recognized as “the voice of poker in New England” by Cardplayer.com, Lee is known worldwide as a poker media personality having written for ESPN.com, PokerNews, Card […]

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