ESPN Confirms WSOP Delayed Final Table

by , Apr 30, 2008 | 9:38 pm

With a WSOP conference call on the schedule for tomorrow at 11am PST, I didn’t think much of it. I thought we might discuss media restrictions for the 2008 WSOP, other changes put into place since last year, etc.

Then a scoop came my way that Pollack will announce that delayed main event final table. If you recall, I was vehemently opposed willing to listen to both sides of the discussions here and here and here and… you get the picture.

It seems ESPN leaked the info before Harrah’s could have the conference call. USA Today has a story on it today.

Please excuse me while I figure out how to adjust to change and embrace this idea. Don’t wait up.


9 Comments to “ESPN Confirms WSOP Delayed Final Table”


  1. DanM
    says:

    Oops, I see I got scooped by Pokerati here.


  2. Earl Burton
    says:

    I’m with Jen on this one…don’t wait up for me to embrace this idea! Since I am currently a free agent in the writing world and have nowhere to air these thoughts, I thought I’d join in the conversation here.

    The idea of delaying the WSOP Final Table is perhaps one of the most ludicrous suggestions I’ve heard of. The possibilities of improprieties (chip dumping, side deals, death, inability to return to play and a wealth of others) are markedly increased with this decision.

    Tournament poker is meant to be a linear game…the players all line up at the starting point and play continuously until one is left. Note there is no mention of a nearly four month delay between reaching the final table and the eventual champion.

    This will have a significant impact on entries this year I believe as well. People can arrange to take their yearly vacation for the two weeks of the Championship Event. They may not (even with the possibility of winning millions of dollars) be able to come back in November to finish it off.

    And what about Joe Sixpack who does make this? He heads home, finds he can’t come back later and quits his job because he’s going to be “the next World Champion”. After finishing in 9th place when he pushes his OESD against a set and misses, he’s now sitting with a few hundred thousand dollars and decides to become a “pro poker player”. A year from now, when the money is gone, what is he going to do?

    I’d elaborate more, but I’ll save some room. The teleconference tomorrow should be interesting to say the least.


  3. California Jen
    says:

    USA Today scooped us all.


  4. DanM
    says:

    Earl, good to see you ’round these parts … but I gotta say, we’ll see in a couple months, but I think the main event entries will be even bigger as a result of this.

    Lots of hype, for one, and really, it’s even easier to take one week off of work as opposed to two, especially knowing that if you are fortunate enough to HAVE to come back, you’re doing so guaranteed something close to $1 million.

    While you may be theoretically correct about the tourney framers’ intent, it turned out not to be so bad when the strayed from it to allow players to sleep between days, and then when Day 1 itself got split into two days, and then three, and then 4.


  5. olivert
    says:

    I suspect ESPN publicist Rebecca Gertsmark was the one who was ordered by ESPN programming to leak the details. Notice that ESPN Senior Producer Jamie Horowitz was the one who was quoted.

    The 2008 WSOP ME Final Table will either be the turning point or the final nail in the coffin for televised poker as a rights fee televised “sports” product.


  6. DanM
    says:

    I see a betting line developing, or at least some futures trading.


  7. Mean Gene
    says:

    When this idea was first floated during last year’s WSOP, I thought it was madness. After watching the final table coverage on ESPN, a delayed final table now seems so obvious it was probably inevitable. You have a sporting event with the biggest first prize in sports…and 90% of your audience already knows who wins. How successful would American Idol be if everyone already knew who was gonna win?

    If this is handled well, if Harrah’s (or is that Caesar’s?) and ESPN do a good job of promoting this and making the final table truly interesting, this could be a boon to poker. If they screw it up, it really can’t be more anticlimactic than the ME coverage is now.


  8. Mojo
    says:

    No No NO NOOO NOOOO!!!!!!!!!111177711111111

    I made a detailed blog entry on my own but Earl’s comments here pretty well sum things up. The possibility of shenanigans and acts of God multiply exponentially under this new format.

    Consider the pressure on Semi-Pro Joe Blow, who plays in Bobby’s Room in September and doinks off several hundred thousand. He already had backers in the WSOP whom he has to pay off. Making a deal that would guarantee him enough to make everyone happy is a far superior option than gambling, maybe losing in a freak big-full-versus-quads confrontation, and not making enough on his payout to keep everyone happy. We’d be naive to say that deals don’t go down under the current system, but this just makes it far more likely. If you thought the stink over Jamie Gold was bad, wait until something like this comes out.


  9. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    “The possibility of shenanigans and acts of God multiply exponentially under this new format.”

    Exponentially? I do not think this means what you think it means. I’d say it’s more of a direct multiple of the amount of time involved.

    The current system (last 2 years) gives players a 36-hour delay before the final table. This new system gives players a roughly 2,856-hour delay. That’s a ratio of about 80-to-1. I’m willing to bump it to 100-to-1 because of the additional influence of air travel, media coverage, etc.

    HOWEVER, and this is a big however …

    The final nine players will also have the benefit of time and sleep. Under the old system, the nine final tablists were making sponsorship deals without the benefit of sleep, much less lawyers. If someone proposed dirty tricks, they might be more willing to agree when they are exhausted and euphoric, with the final table just hours away.

    Everyone who fears hit men and delayed flights is just being silly in my opinion.