David Upsets Goliath Gus at WPT Championship

by , Apr 27, 2008 | 4:38 pm

David Chiu – Courtesy of World Poker Tour

Gus Hansen went into the final table with the chip lead and momentum to take down his fourth WPT title – this one being the sweetest of all. A WPT World Championship title was on the line, along with nearly $3.4 million. The start of the final table looked like this:

Seat 1: John Roveto 2,720,000
Seat 2: Gus Hansen 8,570,000
Seat 3: David Chiu 6,050,000
Seat 4: Tommy Le 1,950,000
Seat 5: Cory Carroll 6,670,000
Seat 6: Jeff King 1,305,000

The Great Dane took out players with a quickness – Jeff King, Tommy Le, Cory Carroll, and John Roveto. Suddenly, the player who had only played two hands at the final table thus far – David Chiu – was in the position he hoped for. An epic battle ensued… and to the shock of everyone including Gus, David played an incredible heads-up match and took it down.

BJ Nemeth wrote a first-class, first-hand account of the final table. Can’t wait to see this one on GSN!

Well-played, David. Congratulations, sir.


24 Comments to “David Upsets Goliath Gus at WPT Championship”


  1. Dan M
    says:

    The Chinese flag … very interesting. I wonder if that was his idea or the WPT’s.


  2. California Jen
    says:

    Aren’t we cynical? 😉

    I read in the live updates that someone he knew in the audience had it, much like the Canadians and South Africans at the 2007 WSOP final table. David simply grabbed it from his friend when he won.


  3. Dan M
    says:

    BTW, this does actually sound like some good poker going down on the Made-for-TV final table. WPT kickin’ it old school?


  4. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    Think about this for a moment — Who would have the foresight to make sure a flag was on hand from a potential poker market on the Asian continent?

    Those of you in the poker media should be able to figure out the answer to this question. But that’s all I’m saying. 🙂


  5. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    Oh, and thanks for the shoutout on the recap, Jen. I was up most of the night writing it, and then polishing it.


  6. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    To remove any doubt (as if there was any), head to http://tinyurl.com/69kdck


  7. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    Just to add, it was Chiu’s first WPT televised final table since the Invitational, there was the epic $5k WSOP limit holdem final table in 2004 on ESPN(w/ Ellix Powers, James McManus, John Hennigan, etc).


  8. Zero
    says:

    Why doesn’t the WPT turn these shows around and get them on TV faster? Aug 25th? Really? What a joke. There will be so many more Poker stories worthy of my time by then, I won’t care anymore and if I remember to watch it, I might.

    This stuff can be turned around in a week EASY, even with a small budget.


  9. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    @Zero: A week? These aren’t episodes of “South Park.”

    Yes, episodes could certainly be turned around faster than they are, but that’s not how television works. The question isn’t “How quickly *can* we get this on the air?” The question is “When do we *want* this on the air?”

    Most people who watch these shows on television have never heard of Pokerati, 2+2, or followed live tournament updates. Under the current broadcast model, timeliness isn’t much of a factor. GSN chooses the airdates based on other factors … like competing against a lighter summer schedule on other networks.

    Season VI of the WPT started airing on GSN in late March, and new episodes air weekly until late August. The WPT World Championship falls at the end of the WPT season, so it airs at the end of the television season. It’s as simple as that.

    @Kevin: Excellent recall on the ESPN event; Chiu didn’t mention it when we asked him about prior televised final tables (and I didn’t remember it). I’ll have to adjust the article to reflect that. Thanks for the info!


  10. Zero
    says:

    Poker is a niche hobby. I’d like to see the who the audience is of current Poker TV shows and what their target demographic is. I think the idea is to grow poker, yes?

    In todays information age, it is very sad that a poker MAGAZINE will have the results of a poker event before the event ever airs? Really?

    Maybe a week turnaround might be too much to ask for 12+ hours of poker tape, but I don’t think its overly unreasonable to get it turned around. Is there really a downside to turning them around in a more timely manner?


  11. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    Zero, you’re looking for a poker TV show that nobody is interested in making, with one exception — the controversial WSOP “plausibly live” final table. If that becomes a reality (this year or next), that sounds like it is exactly what you’re looking for. A quick edit of an important final table, broadcast within a few days of when it actually happened. Would you be happy with that?

    Other than that, the closest thing to what you’re looking for is the live webcams (without hole cards) of EPT events, or the live pay-per-view (again, without holecards) of the WSOP Main Event final table.

    The capability of editing a show in a week is irrelevant. Unless poker becomes more of a spectator “sport” and less of a “TV show” (which is what it currently is, even on ESPN), timeliness is not much of a factor.

    You asked if there was a downside to turning episodes around in a timely manner. Yes, there is a downside. Either the tournaments need to be rescheduled to coincide with the broadcast schedule (which might conflict with other tournaments, such as a little one coming up called the World Series of Poker), or the broadcast schedule needs to be rescheduled to coincide with the tournaments. So you might have a new episode one week, and then three weeks of nothing, and then another new episode the week after that, and then another, and then two weeks off …

    This is not a way to program a TV show.

    Yes, schedules like this work for spectator sports, which are broadcast live. Poker is not there … yet. The “plausibly live” WSOP final table is the closest option available that makes any sense from the TV side.


  12. 85nutz
    says:

    The problem with the live or next to live broadcast is that nobody wan’t to watch hand after hand of blind stealing and flopless poker. I think a lot of the TV audience might be shocked to know that not every hand is played all the way to the river!! My grandparents are a prime example, they love watching poker on TV (and can’t wait to see me on there one day) but have no idea when the tournaments they are watching were actually played nor do they care. They also have no concept of the grinding hours players put into the tournaments, all they care about are the exciting hands that get shown on TV.

    BJ you mentioned live webcams and live pay-per view broadcasts, other than the final table of the WSOP main event this is the first I have heard of any regular live broadcasts. Are these becoming more popular? Where can I find these live webcasts? I think this could be the beginning of a new market. I think there are a lot of poker players out there that would pay to watch a live or slightly delayed broadcast of a major tournament final table. If the WWE (or is it back to WWF) can make money on pay-per view don’t you think poker could too?


  13. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    Worldseriesofpoker.com did PPV coverage of several bracelet events last year (I was one of the “lucky” people to pay $50 for a year of broadcasts, then they decide to make the WSOP Circuit events totally free).

    ESPN360 will be doing 25 WSOP events (ones not done for ESPN TV), possibly with hole cards (if so, on a delay).

    worldseriesofpoker.com does the final table of $5k WSOP Circuit events (on a 60 minute delay), there’s one later this week from Caesar’s Palace.

    The European Poker Tour does live webcasts (no holecards) on events they televise, usually the final 2 days of the tournament.


  14. Zero
    says:

    Thanks for the info. I do see more issues than I thought of before, however I think they are all manageable for a quicker turnaround for the acutal broadcast, quicker than 4+ months. Like maybe a 2 week window or something similar, this could cater to people like me and still take care of the casual viewer too.

    I agree true Live poker will never make it on TV due to the length and boredom factor of all the folding.


  15. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    ESPN has been better about getting the bracelets events on TV in a short period of time. Last year’s first event was on TV about 6 weeks after it was played.

    Poker’s been live on TV many times in the US on the Fox Sports Network. The problem is that they have to use a fast structure since they need to fit the show into a 4 hour time frame. In regards to turnaround time, FSN was able to do a $10k buyin tournament in less than a week, the “Showdown at the Sands” from Atlantic City in 2003. The tournament I believe ended on a Monday, they showed 6 hours on Thanksgiving Day that same week.


  16. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    The European Poker Tour events are webcast at EPTLive.com.

    I don’t know for sure (insert BJ’s usual disclaimer here), but I would guess that one of the big reasons the WPT doesn’t offer live webcams is budget.

    The WPT is a TV show, designed to attract ratings for GSN (and previously the Travel Channel). That’s their business model. The EPT is effectively just a commercial for PokerStars.com, so they don’t care if you watch on TV or the web — and if you watch on the web, it’s that much easier for you to log into PokerStars and start an account, or play online while you watch. That’s their business model.

    Want an example? Go to http://www.eptlive.com and check out the size of the button that says “Poker Download.”

    The “quick” turnaround time for ESPN has nothing to do with giving poker fans near-instant gratification — it’s because they want their new poker content to run during the summer months, when their schedule is lightest (mainly non-pennant race baseball). ESPN has been lobbying to move the WSOP back to the spring, so they could produce the shows and run them during the summer.

    @85Nutz: There is *no* comparison between wrestling and poker. Wrestling is one of the biggest ratings draws on cable TV, and has been for years and years. No, it’s not a real “sport,” but it makes a *ton* of money and draws millions and millions of fans. If poker could draw fans like wrestling does, Dan Michalski would live in a solid gold house and have a rocket car in his driveway.

    I have no numbers on the ratings for ESPN’s live pay-per-view of last year’s final table. But if the ratings were good, they wouldn’t be pushing for the controversial “plausibly live” final table. And Bluff hasn’t been rolling in dough from their webcast deal for the WSOP and WSOP Circuit events.


  17. olivert
    says:

    Mainland China government-owned China Central Television (CCTV) Chinese-language news website has picked up the David Chiu story:

    http://news.cctv.com/society/20080428/102661.shtml

    Assists go to CCTV International (CCTV9) “Sports Scene” anchors/presenters in Beijing, Jennifer Hsiung (Canada) and Alistair Shewring (UK), who were given the heads-up on Monday.


  18. Dan M
    says:

    ***Why doesn’t the WPT turn these shows around and get them on TV faster? Aug 25th? Really? What a joke. There will be so many more Poker stories worthy of my time by then, I won’t care anymore and if I remember to watch it, I might.***

    This comment says so much more than you know, Zero. I think just about everybody in the poker TV biz realizes that what worked in ’04 won’t work in ’08, let alone ‘010. Yet — maybe I’m wrong — many don’t seem to realize that the reasons the poker audience has changed has more to do with the above than fancy lights.


  19. DanM
    says:

    ***David simply grabbed it from his friend when he won.***

    Not trying to imply he’s not from China, but there’s a difference between a guy who flies in to Vegas from Turkmenistan with his buddies and makes the final table and a dude who is a regular on the LV-LA poker scene.

    And no poop to the WPT either. They are the World Poker Tour … and conveying the international nature of the game can’t be a bad thing.

    I just couldn’t help but think, wow, I have seen that flag more times in the past three weeks than I have in the past 8 years.


  20. DanM
    says:

    ***I agree true Live poker will never make it on TV due to the length and boredom factor of all the folding.***

    You guys are SOOOOOOO wrong. Um, golf? There’s a game that has 4 days of what ultimately is very little action, and yet people tune in week-in and week-out. It’s a matter of logistics. Why should poker be any different? With a bunch of roving cameras, a hyperactive control room, lots of background features, the occasional delayed replay …

    Ever watch a golf tourney and see one guy shooting out of the sand, only to hear a huge cheer over the horizon? 5 minutes later they show you the hole-in-one. Hole-card cams of course make this process more difficult — so much harder to follow 8 or 9 video feeds as compared to two or three — but there’s so much other stuff going on at a tourney beyond what a player has in the hole. Hopefully no one from the WSOP or WPT will see this, because that would pretty much put us bloggers out of business.

    Wouldn’t it totally make sense to have a Poker Channel that airs all the “boring” stuff throughout the first two days, and then bigger coverage over the weekend?

    This is not undoable. It’s, in fact, inevitable.


  21. DanM
    says:

    Thanks for the link, Oliver, to the Chinese TV. (Do they have YouTube there?)

    I guess it is a World Championship — a $25k event no less. So why wouldn’t the Chinese make him a mini-hero?


  22. ItsOverJonny
    says:

    Golf coverage is very different. You have many more (18?) live streams to choose from, so it’s a lot easier to find something interesting. Even watching a big-name golfer drive off the tee, regardless of the result, is more intersting than watching a big-name poker player raise, only to have everyone else insta-fold, and then wait while they shuffle and prepare for the next hand. Unless someone attempts to do a live broadcast of an event that still has a significant number of players/tables remaining, you’re talking about a Final Table, which provides a single thread of entertainment. When you are a single-threaded application, it doesn’t matter how many different perspectives you have – there is still going to be idle time.

    Another angle – live, real-time poker is often boring EVEN WHEN I AM ONE OF THE PLAYERS. It’s boring to the Nth power when you are a spectator.


  23. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    I don’t play golf, and I don’t watch golf on TV. I do play poker, and I do watch poker on TV.

    Having said that, I agree with ItsOverJonny’s assessment than I agree with Dan’s. The poker-golf analogy in terms of live TV coverage simply doesn’t match up.


  24. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    The above comment should read “I agree with Jonny’s assessment *more* than I agree with Dan’s.”

    My bad! (It’s late.)