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Back Poker World Poker TV 2011 WSOP Coverage Starts Tonight on ESPN

2011 WSOP Coverage Starts Tonight on ESPN

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poker videosHaving trouble coming down from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) high?  Not to worry, as ESPN’s taped coverage of the 2011 WSOP begins tonight.  Two episodes will air every Tuesday night from today through November 8th, leading to the Worldwide Leader’s slogan, “Tuesday Night is Poker Night on ESPN.”

Unlike in previous years, tonight’s episodes do not represent the first televised broadcast of this summer’s World Series of Poker.  ESPN and ESPN2 aired more than 30 hours of play from the Main Event starting on Day 3, Thursday, July 14th, while ESPN3.com had even more.  The coverage was “semi-live,” trailing half an hour behind the live action.  Hole cards were shown on a limited basis at two “featured” tables; they were never shown if the hand did not reach a flop and were only shown when the hand ended if a flop was seen.  Commentary during the “semi-live” broadcasts was provided by Lon McEachern, Norman Chad, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth, David Tuchman, and Olivier Busquet.

The episodes from now through the Main Event final table will be the edited, more polished shows that poker fans are used to from ESPN.  They will almost certainly cater more to the casual poker fan and feature a very high proportion of “action” and all-in hands, personal interest stories, and camera time for well-known pros.  Unlike the “semi-live” broadcasts, there will not be much, if any, air time given to hands that never get to a flop, and we definitely won’t have to watch the full ten minutes of Matt Giannetti deciding whether or not to call Ben Lamb’s four million chip river bet on Day 8.

This will be the third year in a row in which barely any preliminary events will be seen.  In 2007, ESPN broadcast ten preliminary events, cut it to seven in 2008, but then slashed that number to just three in 2009.  In that year, only one of those preliminary events – the $40,000 Special Anniversary Tournament – was even a bracelet event.  The other two were the WSOP Champions Cup Invitational and the Ante Up for Africa charity tournament.  There were just two preliminary events shown last year: the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship and the non-bracelet Tournament of Champions.

This year, aside from the Main Event, only three other events will be televised: the special“Rematches” heads-up battles, the $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up event, and the$50,000 Poker Players’ Championship.  ESPN’s telecast will run from 8:00pm ET through 10:00pm ET every Tuesday night through September 27th and will be pushed back an hour from October 4th through November 8th.

The complete ESPN television schedule for the 2011 World Series of Poker is as follows:

July 26 – 8:00pm – Rematches: Johnny Chan vs. Phil Hellmuth
July 26 – 9:00pm – Rematches: Chris Moneymaker vs. Sammy Farha
August 2 – 8:00pm-10:00pm – $25,000 Heads-up No-Limit Hold’em
August 9 – 8:00pm-10:00pm – $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship
August 16 through September 27 – 8:00pm-10:00pm – $10,000 Main Event
October 4 through November 1 – 9:00pm-11:00pm – $10,000 Main Event
November 8 – 9:00pm-11:00pm – $10,000 Main Event Final Table