The World Series of Poker was already the most followed poker event in the world. Now, the main event at the WSOP will receive even more coverage, thanks to the recent online gambling crackdown in the US.
ESPN has made the decision to air thirty-four more hours of coverage on this year’s WSOP main event. The coverage will come in several forms, but most notably for fans, a thirty minute delay before showing unedited action at the tables, while fans can see the cards the players are dealt.
In past years, the criticism of ESPN’s coverage of the WSOP has been that everything is edited and on a delay of several weeks to months. By the time the fans watch the aired footage, the tournaments have been completed and the fans know who won. It is unlike any other sport, where live television takes precedence.
“ESPN is making strides with their coverage, and trying to bring more up-to-date action to fans, but the reality is, until they get the delay down to a couple of minutes, fans will be disappointed,” said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. “Sports fans want to know what’s happening live, not a week or two later.”
The problem ESPN and other networks have when dealing with television coverage, is that poker is a game where the unknown plays a big part in the action. In football, baseball, and other sports, no strategy can be given away during live play. In poker, players hole cards are important, and live television cannot capture those cards in the middle of a hand.
A small delay is always necessary. The other problem for ESPN is that some players react differently to wins and losses, and edits are almost certainly needed with some players losing their cool and using foul language. It is a situation that ESPN has been attempting to balance since they started their coverage of poker.
The expanded coverage for this year’s main event will take place on ESPN’s family of networks. ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3.com will be the networks carrying the extra coverage.The main event will play down in July until the final table is reached, and then play will be suspended until November. At that time, the final nine players will reconvene in Las Vegas and finish the world’s richest poker tournament.0