Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hey ESPN - Can we get some more time for Poker?

ESPN's television coverage of the 2009 World Series of Poker began a few weeks ago, on Tuesday, July 28th. Poker players from around the globe representing a total of 115 nations and territories showed up at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this summer. There was a number of broken records through the 57 events at during the 40th Annual WSOP, including the mark for most total player entries.

The 60,875 entries in this year’s 57 tournaments eclipsed the previous record of 58,720 entries established in 2008. The strong showing helped propel the total WSOP prize pool past $1 billion since the tournament’s inception in 1970. The total 2009 prize pool surpassed $174 million and, for only the second time in WSOP history, every member of the Main Event final table will win $1 million or more.

ESPN is back at it as the Television host for the 2009 WSOP, as they have been in the past, with Norman Chad and Lon McEachern calling the action with their witty banter. It's done VERY well, and is a very entertaining watch.

This coming Tuesday, ESPN begins airing the Main Event, with Day 1A showing 2 episodes back to back, which I'm eager to see. I mean, this IS the main event. But as I looked at the schedule of WSOP events, there was little else that saw television time. I mean, there will be 31 episodes leading up to the 'November Nine' and the final table of the main event, and of those 31 episodes, 25 of them are main event episodes. (For the records, there have already been 2 episodes for the $40k buy in final table which was won by Russian Vitaly Lunkin, 2 for the WSOP Champions Invitational which was claimed by Tom McEvoy, and 2 for the Charity Event for Ante up for Africa which was won by Alex Bolotin).

It bothers me that we're unable to see any of the 3 bracelets won by WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Lisandro, or the two bracelets each won by John Brock Parker, Greg 'FTB' Mueller, or November 9 Final Table Member - Phil Ivey. Those would all be really cool.

It would also be great TV to see Steve Sung's AMAZING final table run, and the capture of his first bracelet in that GIGANTIC No Limit Hold'em event. Or ANY of Daniel Negreanu's 8 cashes (mostly, his runner up finish in Event #14 or 4th in Event #18. And I would absolutely love to see the hilarity that ensued in the very first cash by ESPN Commentator Norman Chad, who finished a miraculous 32nd in Event #53, the Stud-8 event.

There was a ton of poker played this summer, that just won't make TV, and I think that it's a shame. There should be someway to broadcast these events and take advantage of the brilliant poker that was played. I wonder if I'm alone in wanting to see it.

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