It’s now official that the World Series of Poker final table will be shown on a tape delay, and a major tape delay at that. 117 days will have elapsed between the time that the nine people who will play at the final table are decided till the point at which they actually finish out the WSOP Main Event.
There have been many opinions on whether having the Main Event, which begins in July, conclude all the way in November is a good idea or not. But opinions aside, the administrators of the WSOP have made their decision.
The primary reason for the choice was voiced by WSOP Commissioner Jeffery Pollack when he said, “Our intent is to provide an even bigger stage for our players. Now fans and viewers will ask who will win our coveted championship bracelet instead of who won.”
Besides just increasing the excitement of the WSOP for the fans sake, another reason for the switch is that it will give the players involved with the final table a lot more time to secure endorsement deals. Under the normal format, players wouldn’t have time to get extra endorsements between the play leading up to the WSOP final table and the final table. Also, the organizers of the event will be able to get more sponsors in between the play too.
Another oft-cited reason for the delay is that amateur players will be able to practice their game more and possibly even enlist the help of professional coaching. 2004 WSOP champ Greg Raymer, who has mixed emotions overall, mentioned this coaching aspect by saying, “I am very torn over this proposal. It might be huge for the continued growth of poker, however, the downside is that this long gap allows the players to become completely different people between the time they make the final table and when they play it. You know that all nine will get coaching, and especially they will get coaching tailored to each of their eight opponents. If the chip leader is somebody you play against regularly, either online or at your local casino, of course I am going to come to you for advice.”
Tom Schneider, who was the WSOP Player of the Year in 2007, has a different outlook as he said, “I think it is fantastic idea, and I can’t wait to make a final table like this. Two years ago, who came in fourth? You probably don’t remember. In this format, everyone who makes the final table will be remembered. They will get promoted properly and everyone will get the attention that they deserve for such an accomplishment.”
Other supporters of the move think that it will help the sinking ratings of the Main Event and possibly even start another online poker boom that would bring more Chris Moneymakers onto the scene. But what will really happen remains to be seen. The WSOP idea sounds pretty good and is backed by some decent reasoning, however, we won’t know if it is a positive until November.