Is the world ready for live poker coverage? And for that matter, will it even work?
ESPN is going to find out as it announced Wednesday that the cable network will be greatly increasing its coverage of the World Series of Poker, which begins May 30.
The live part of all this is the most intriguing, and in truth, we’re really talking about “almost’ live
First, the network will cover the Main Event from July 14-19 while the tournament is underway (the main event begins July 7). In the past, the network waited until after the final nine was set to begin airing programs.
The key, will be that the broadcasts will be on a 30-minute delay, so that live hole cards can still be shown. That’s an important point. It wasn’t until the “lipstick cam” was invented and hole cards could be shown that poker became a popular TV show.
But of course, if you showed the hole cards completely live, the amount of signaling going on from the gallery would be dizzying.
The network is adding 32 more hours of coverage across its networks and Web site this year. Last year, we made the mistake of scoffing at the idea that the network could spread coverage of the Main Event over three months of shows. Yet, that’s just what they did.
We won’t make that mistake again.
Apparently, there is no end to how long they can milk this thing.
Here’s the rundown on the coverage from the WSOP.