According to the Capital Times, this week Harrah’s Entertainment, owner of several casinos and the World Series of Poker (WSOP), announced that the final table for this years WSOP Main Event will be moved back to November.
This 117 day break in the action is so ESPN can potentially provide a same day telecast of the final table, which provides the biggest prize in poker. Normally, given there are 30+ events in the WSOP, when the tournaments leading up to the Main Event have been televised, the Main Event is then shown months after it actually took place. This year, the Main Event will begin on July 3rd, around the usual time, and continue for several days until only nine players remain. The final table will then begin on November 9th and Heads-Up play will start November 10th.
“Our intent is to provide an even bigger stage for our players,” WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said. “Now fans and viewers will ask ‘who will win’ our coveted championship bracelet instead of ‘who won.’ The excitement and interest surrounding our final nine players will be unprecedented. The same day telecast will be a must see. Expect poker’s biggest names to come out, whether or not they’re playing. There will also be stars of film, television, and music.”
The rest of this years WSOP will remain the same, running from May 30th to July 14th. Coverage begins July 22nd and runs through November 11th. The November 4th telecast will be a one-hour final table preview documenting the lives of the final nine leading up until the final table.
This format for a poker tournament is unprecedented and is sure to garner mixed reviews. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. But, with the current poker-mania going on, this years Main Event is sure to be of Super Bowl-esque proportions.