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Thursday, May 01, 2008

How to destroy the WSOP

Harrahs and ESPN have been accused quite often in the past for destroying the WSOP (in the sense it was originally created by Binions Horseshoe). Well, some changes were good, some were bad. And of course the WSOP today is different from the WSOP in the past.

Change isn't bad in itself. Well, "Change" can even be a good slogan to run in the presidential race ... but there is also "don't fix something that isn't broken".

But today the WSOP and ESPN (which is of course the driving force here) made exactly that and announced a change that is the most horrible change in WSOP history I ever heard of: The final table of the main event 2008 will be delayed to November.

The reasoning behind that decision is to create more tension and bigger interest in the ESPN broadcasting. Unfortunately players like Daniel Negreanu and the Players Advisory Council are happy about this decision and approved it. Others like Doyle Brunson are skeptical.

Harrahs says that this is simmilar to the Superbowl which is delayed two weeks. But this comparison falls short as this is a single event while this decision will cut a single event into pieces. Imagine playing the Superbowl for the first three quarters and then delay the last quarter for two weeks and stop again to play the two minute warning another day later. Yes, exactly! They stop the final table at heads-up and play the heads-up one day later. Imagine what happens if this lasts only one or two hands...

But the worst of it is that it totally changes the dynamics of this event. You can can't change the cards but your personal confidence is a big part. And going into the biggest game of your lifetime the next day or over 100 days later is a huge difference.

Unfortunately we have to live with this decision ... but we don't have to like it.

What some Pro's say:

Vicky Coren: "I think it's an annoying and stupid change, breaking the essential nature of what a poker tournament IS."

Max Pescatori: "Is today April's Fool? I thought it's 1st of May."

Roland de Wolfe: "Is this really going ahead? It takes away so much from the integrity of the event."


pokerplatano 3:46 PM  

I believe alot of people are failing to see the positive impact that this change can have on the WSOP. People this is called business. It's about viewership, advertisment, and lots of $$$$ for ESPN, Harrahs, and the industry. ESPN will broadcast the tournament every week starting July 22nd until the final table in November. A 2 four "live" season finally. Leading up to the final table ESPN and many other media outlets will be promoting and hiping it up. This is called reality TV. The fact is that, there are stories to tell about the players in the final table. With all the "amatuers" now in the game, this makes for good reality TV. Just think, the bus boy at the local restauarant who makes $10.00 hr playing for some $25 million dollars. There will be millions of people who will tune in to watch this poker "superbowl". This is not about a players momentum leading into the final table, its about pure $$$$$. Poker is big and it'll get bigger, ESPN and Harrah see an opportunity here to go mainstream with this and it's a awesome idea for the industry itself. Now people ask, why not just delay it a week or so? Well folks, like I said before, it's about viewership and ratings. Summer time is the lowest rating TV season. October has baseball, so forget about drawing the audience ESPN wants, this leaves us with November. NFL football is not yet into the critical December games or playoff, so this is why we have the 3 months delay.
For the skeptics out there, open your eyes and look beyond the WSOP as a poker tournament. This is a huge money making opportunity. I surprised this wasn't done before.

Shadow 3:37 PM  

Well, after reading Oliver Tse's comments (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showpost.php?p=3970981&postcount=740) I can understand why a change was needed and I fully support that we have to consider economical interest. If the companies don't gain enough they won't support it anymore.

On the other hand there are various ways to gain this economial aims and keep the integrity of the game. Unortunately I think the way they try to do it this year isn't the right one!

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