Belated Tuesday Pop Review- 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event

Hello all, and welcome to a belated edition of your Tuesday Pop Review.  I have been a busy boy of late, so my apologies for the late product.  I hope to have your Federal Employment Law Update today, but it may not come out until tomorrow; we will see. 

Today’s post could easily go in my Thursday poker blog, but still qualifies as a pop review so let’s just go with it!  Over the last week, for the first time ever, ESPN has show nearly live coverage of the World Series of Poker Main Event, the annual crown jewel of poker tournaments worldwide.  The Main Event is a $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament where each competitor receives 30,000 units in tournament chips, playing for several days straight until one remaining player has each and every chip in play.  For the last three years, the tournament has gone on hiatus until November when the field shrinks to the final table of 9 players, and the same holds true this year.

For the last several years (approximately 10-12), ESPN has covered the WSOP Main Event.  However, they have done so with exclusively taped coverage, meaning ESPN would take 10-12 hours of daily action and chop it up into an hours worth of critical hands, showing us at home the player’s cards as the hand is being played.  Until now, it was quite a flawed system but the best we had available.  For example, the time editing issues took most of the suspense out of the action.  Once a tournament is down to heads up, when you see a major hand being played at 10:55 pm and coverage is set to break at 11, it was easy to tell that the tournament was about to end.  Also, you often heard of the results in advance of the coverage. 

This year, the tournament is being shown on a 30 minute tape delay (to avoid the possibility of cheating or instant transfers of information), with hole cards not being revealed until after the hand is completed and certain other regulations agreed to by the Nevada Gaming Commission (i.e., no one table could be shown for more than x minutes such as not to reveal excessive information about individual players to the rest of the field). 

The result has been revolutionary.  Amateurs like me at home now get to see how big stack tournaments really are played rather than perceiving them to be rapid fire all-in fests.  We also see the difficulty of the players in making decisions because we are not mentally skewed by seeing each players’ hands before the hand’s conclusion, a deceptively strong factor in how we perceive players.  Most importantly, we get to practice our skills of reading players, perhaps the most important skill in poker.  And, instead of the usual string of mediocre one-liners from color analyst Norman Chad, we have top pro Antonio Esfandiari giving us his insight into hand-reading.  At times he’s been scary-good at it.

If you play poker, this tournament has been must see TV.  I would recommend dialing up episodes On Demand if you have missed them. 

Explore posts in the same categories: Pop Reviews

2 Comments on “Belated Tuesday Pop Review- 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event”

  1. The Ryno Says:

    You forgot to mention how GREAT the commentary is this year.

    Keeping the hands secret also lets you hear top-notch analysis rather than a series of canned one-liners

  2. Anna Svensson Says:

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    I really like your blog and would like to get in contact with you concerning an opportunity.
    If you are interested please feel free to contact me via email.
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