WSOP Live Coverage draws mixed reviews

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  • Published July 26th, 2011 in WSOP

With ESPN preparing their regular Tuesday night broadcasts of the 2011 World Series of Poker tournaments it seems the jury is still out on this year’s groundbreaking idea to broadcast full coverage of select tournaments including the WSOP Main Event on a 30-minute delay. The “live” stream was available at and on ESPN 2 and ESPN at select times.

Not only was the WSOP shown in its entirety, and virtually live, but neither the viewers, nor the announcers, would see the hole cards until the hand was over -something I have been calling for some time now.

A lot of people were skeptical of the idea at first, but once the finished product was unveiled most of the skeptics had become true-believers, and saw the 30-minute delay as the wave of the future for televised poker. Hardcore poker players found the stream extremely interesting and I must admit that I was glued to my computer screen during the Main Event live stream -I even managed to pick up a few tells on a couple players.

On the other hand, many poker players felt the idea of broadcasting hole-cards 30 minutes after a hand would compromise the integrity of the game, with some becoming more adamant as people used the live streams to their advantage by employing superstar players and body language experts to watch the stream and text the player information on their opponents.

More casual fans, who do not understand the nuances of the game, disliked the coverage because only hands that went to the flop would be revealed at the end of the hand -casual fans could no longer “play along” with the players and were forced to watch the hand blindly.

While I found the live stream intellectually stimulating; formulating my own opinions about the relative strength or weakness of a player’s hand, I can see why some players would find the live stream troublesome, and I also understand that for the average poker viewer the only thing that makes poker the least bit interesting on TV is the fact that they know each players’ cards and the hands are edited down and inconsequential hands are not shown at all.

The debate between poker players as to whether or not the “Live” stream compromises a player, or offers an unfair advantage to players with a higher financial net worth will likely rage on, but as was pointed out numerous times on the broadcast itself: The hole-card camera itself went through a similar debate when it was initially introduced.

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  • Posted in: WSOP
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