Today it was announced that the World Series of Poker would be discontinuing the tradition of having the main event final table played after a 3 month hiatus.
Today it was announced that the World Series of Poker would be discontinuing the tradition of having the main event final table played after a 3 month hiatus. The November Nine format has been in place since the 2007 World Series, an event that was won by Jerry Yang. Up and coming network, Poker Central has acquired the rights to the WSOP and has reached an agreement with long-time World Series exhibitor ESPN to show same day live coverage of the event (with a 30 minute delay) beginning on day 1.
The final winner of the event, known as the world champion of poker, will now be decided on July 22nd, after a 3-day final table, which has become the television standard for the occasion. Under the new deal, ESPN will telecast an estimated 40 hours of coverage, on top of 130 hours of originally packaged shows. Any coverage not aired by ESPN will be streamed exclusively through Poker Central's digital distribution channels.
ESPN has been our home since 2002 and we're delighted to extend the relationship into the next decade
said WSOP executive director Ty Stewart.
Having everyday live coverage of the WSOP Main Event is truly a huge commitment on behalf of ESPN and Poker Central and we look forward to delivering to our faithful audience wall-to-wall action from the outset for the very first time.
We are thrilled to add the preeminent poker brand, the World Series of Poker, to our growing portfolio of poker-related content,
said JR McCabe, chief digital officer, Poker Central.
We have major plans to reinvent the WSOP offering to greatly expand how, when and where fans of the game of poker can watch and engage with the game.
The World Series of Poker has been a longstanding staple of ESPN programming,
said Dan Ochs, director of programming and acquisitions, ESPN.
We are pleased to reach an agreement to continue to carry the sport's most prominent event and modernize our coverage with the new same day live coverage throughout July each year.
Previously, the final table was delayed 3 months so that the players could obtain endorsement deals and the network could hype up the conclusion of the event by having a weekly, edited program showing the days leading up to the final table. With this format, they were able to create story lines, such as last year's Will Kassouf fiasco and keep people engaged. This year it will be interesting to see the changes they make to keep people entertained and watching a live, unedited program.
The planned ESPN schedule is as follows:
Date Day Time slot (ET)
July 8 1a 4pm-8pm
July 9 1b 2pm - 6pm
July 11 2a/2b 8pm-11pm
July 12 2c 8pm-10pm
July 14 4 8pm-11pm
July 15 5 2pm-4pm
July 16 6 2pm-6pm
July 17 7 7pm-9pm
July 19 Final table preview 10pm-11pm
July 20 9 down to 6 9pm-TBD
July 21 6 down to 3 9pm-TBD
July 22 3 down to 1 9pm-TBD
Change is Overdue
There is no day 3 because is coincides with the previously scheduled X Games 2017 opening night.
My opinion on the change is that it is long overdue. The November Nine was a clever promotion for a couple years and a good way to build the hype, but by the time the actual final table ran, the World Series was out of the minds of most casual fans and even the weekly television coverage leading up to the live final table left something to be desired. I am not saying the new format will guaranteed make for better TV, but it is certainly time to try something new. I also think it was unfair to have 3 months between day 7 and day 8 because it gives weaker players the opportunity to use their now virtually unlimited funds to hire a coach and improve their final table skills dramatically. I think the tournament should be decided based on the skills (and luck) that you have leading into the event.
People on the Internet mostly agree with me.
Facebook member, Ryan Langmuir, said "It never made sense at all to delay the final table, completely ruins the flow of a tournament."
Popular poker forum twoplustwo members are also overwhelmingly in favor of the change. A contributor who goes by UsedToBeGood wrote,
I think this set up is better for coverage and brings it more into a modern format, although as a rec player who won a main event seat this year managing the rare, but possible potential of taking two weeks off work is not easy to manage. Obviously, won't be complaining if I'm guaranteed a million bucks, but couldn't imagine trying to squeeze this in every year.
What do you think about the change?
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