The World Series of Poker Main Event got underway today, July 8, 2017, and with that, the coverage of the event on ESPN. The coverage is as live as live can be during a poker tournament, with a 30 minute delay. Lon McEachern, Norman Chad, and Antonio Esfandiari are handling the main coverage and Kara Scott, David Williams and Maria Ho are handling the desk during the breaks.
Andy Kazen and I have been asking, actually, begging and pleading for some Main Event Day 1 coverage and now we have it! It’s not the slick, pre-produced shows like in the past, (although we may get that in the fall) but a look more like the live final table of the November 9.
It’s a poker fan’s dream to see Day 1 action, with the Amazon Room filled with poker tables. The play by play is more like banter unless a relatively exciting hand is dealt, like flopping Quads. (which happened) But we get to see every hand.
There’s a featured table with 9 players I’ve never heard of and a secondary table with defending Main Event Champion, Qui Nguyen. By the way, Qui went to the registration line and high fived everyone in line. Qui is being a good defending champ.
Lon, Norman and Antonio are being their entertaining selves and they invite some players into the booth.
Actor James Woods spent some time with the boys and was wildly entertaining. He spoke about making his first WSOP final table in Event #4: $3,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em Shootout, beating Doug Polk (arguably the best heads up player in the world) to make that final table. Then James said the magic words that Andy and I have been asking, actually more begging and pleading for; more ESPN coverage of the mixed games like Razz, 2-7 Lowball, PLO, Stud and Stud 8. Thank you James Woods!!
Here’s the solution: ESPN needs to launch their own Poker channel, showing mixed games as well and Hold ‘Em (limit Hold ‘Em would be fun to watch too) And let’s throw in Circuit coverage. Now granted Lon and Norman can’t commentate on all of these events (Andy and I are available to do it!!)
The coverage will continue every day right up to the final table and crowning a champion on July 22.
Now here’s the bad news: There are four hours of coverage on ESPN, (not every day though) and then the coverage moves over to PokerGo.com which is a subscription site for $10 a month. But I’m not going to complain. We’re seeing Day 1 like we prayed for so I’m happy!