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ESPN Begins Live WSOP Coverage With (Some) Hole Cards

Jul 14, 2011
Author: Michael Mancini
ESPN Begins Live WSOP Coverage With (Some) Hole Cards

For the first time ever, the Main Event at the World Series of Poker is being broadcast live to viewers on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com, giving players even more insight into the action at tournament poker’s premier event.

To be completely accurate, the action isn’t being broadcast live, but on a 30-minute delay. This is one of several conditions placed on the ESPN coverage in order to minimize the amount of information players will be able to gather by watching the hands during breaks, or by having friends watch and text them the hidden cards of their opponents.

In addition, not all cards will be visible on television. Players will only have their cards revealed after the conclusion of the hand (or when they reveal them to the table for a showdown or all-in situation), and only then if they were still in the hand postflop.

But despite these restrictions, this coverage is still the first of its kind for the WSOP, and will be available (for varying hours) through Tuesday’s Day 8, when the final table is reached.

According to a report by USA Today, production staff for ESPN who have access to the hole cams – and thus can see each player’s hole cards at all times – will be sequestered during the tournament, and are not allowed to have phones or other devices that could relay card information while in the production area.

The ESPN coverage will move between two feature tables – the main table, and a secondary feature table. Each table will be followed for about a half-hour, with special coverage of as many “all-in and call” situations as possible.

According to coordinating producer Jamie Horowitz, the new coverage is designed to make the Main Event into more of a sporting event, with a “big-time sports feel.”

“We're going to bring players into the booth to analyze the hands and tell you what the poker player was thinking when he made a particular play,” said Horowitz, “and that's something we've never done before.”

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