WSOP Stirs Controversy with Live Hole Cards during Main Event

Posted by James Guill on May 06, 2011 Posted in TV Poker, WSOP News | 11 Comments »

On Wednesday, the World Series of Poker announced extended coverage on ESPN that will include live action during the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, the WSOP Heads-Up Grudge Matches, and the 2011 WSOP Main Event.

The $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship and the Heads-up Grudge Matches will be broadcast on on a five minute delay without hole cards.  However, Days 3 through 8 of the Main Event can be watched on ESPN and ESPN2 and will indeed have hole cards available to viewers after the flop.  These broadcasts will be on a 30 minute delay.

The announcement of live hole cards during the Main Event has drawn a bit of controversy from certain players.  Jonathan Aguiar and Todd Terry have been among those the most vocal about live hole cards.  They contend that the live hole cards will affect same-day play during the Main Event.  In addition, Aguiar contends that people without a support team are at a huge disadvantage.  Players can pick up on information and then text it to a player at the table.

In all honesty, I do see where Aguiar, Terry, and other people are coming from.  The ability to pick up some information about a player and text it to someone else is indeed a possibility while at the table.  However, I think there are a few other considerations that need to be made.

First, these tables will be featured in 30 minute blocks with exception of all-in plays.  Even if a table is playing at warp speed, what is that going to equate to, maybe 15 hands?  That isn’t even two orbits of a table.  Also, hole cards will not be show except after a flop has been dealt and then only the players that are still in the hand will be seen.

Also, take into consideration that the non-pros at the table are going to probably play differently due to the fact that they are now on Television.  If they play more, they get more face time, and maybe a chance to get noticed.  At least, that is what they have in their head.  The same player may play entirely different outside of the table.

Next, aren’t poker players supposed to adapt their play and mix it up?  It seems to me that if a player is going to be at a disadvantage at having someone see them play 15 hands, then that play may want to reevaluate their game.  I don’t see very many players making Day 3 of the Main Event that can have their entire game dissected off of 15 hands of play.  If they can, they likely don’t have any shot of making the final table.

I will say that I am surprised that WSOP officials did not announce that they would confiscate electronic devices of players that are on a feature tables during live play.  That would help to reduce the amount of information that could be released.  Players would have to be manually given the information on breaks, or after they get off of the table.

Lastly, there is a simple fix for those that are upset about the showing of hole-cards on TV during the Main Event, and that is to not play in the event.  You have the choice whether or not to play in the event.  You have plenty of notice of what is to come, and plenty of time to prepare.

I personally applaud the WSOP for taking this step forward in poker coverage.  This will allow both casual and hardcore poker fans to experience the WSOP Main Event in a way that hasn’t been done before.  It is good for the game, and after all the turmoil in recent weeks, we should focus more on what is good for our game than what is inconvenient for us.

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11 Responses to “WSOP Stirs Controversy with Live Hole Cards during Main Event”

  1. GD Mallory says:

    This will be the only year for this. The average person wants to see the hole cards. If they can’t, they won’t watch. Go back to the taped version or you won’t be long for TV.

  2. karen says:

    It is incredibly boring without seeing the hole cards. I turned it off after ten minutes and I watched all the other World Series years.

  3. kbcoop says:

    I agree Karen. Watched for 2 minutes until I realized they are not showing any hole cards. Terribly boring.

  4. dkalish says:

    If you want this to be interesting to the viewing folks,,,,SHOW THE HOLE CARDS……. I’m watching it right now and it SUCKS……..unless you show the cards its boring as hell,,,,,,,might as well watch grass grow……I’ll bet you won’t do this next year,,,,,,,,,,,,if you do you won’t be on tv……….

  5. Nix says:

    Why not ban cell phone use and other things like that?

  6. Stumpy says:

    Couldn’t they have trialled this somewhere other than the Main Event? I’ve watched it for many years but not this time. Hand after hand of the commentators saying “ooo, I wonder what he has got” then making bad guesses does not make for compelling tv. Please, someone tell me they’re not going to do it for the final table too.

  7. cote says:

    The most boring thing ever with hole cards, hope the players enjoy it, I will pass. Once again the whiners get their way. ESPN ratings will be down to zip on this stupid move.

  8. 3piecechickendinner says:

    I have watched the WSOP since 2003 for hours at a time. When I watched today I thought they were doing an beef jerky moment. Then I realized that they were never goiong to show the hole card. Turned off immediately, its like watching paint dry

  9. DeadRabbits says:

    Totally concur, being able to see the Hole Cards was always the factor that made watching TV Poker fun and interesting ,without the view of the Hole Cards the event was just boring and I’m an avid fan, even the Humour of Norman couldn’t save this… Trust WSOP and the NGC are listening and sort it out for next year !

  10. unwatchable says:

    Bad decision not to show hole cards on “final table” of WSOP main event. I feel i wasted my time watching all shows leading up to this with the cards being shown. The final show was unwatchable.

  11. George Londono says:

    Terrible idea I never complain about much but its poker and entertainment leave your cell phones away from the table, you have to see the hole cards incredibly boring and disappointing , once again a couple of F***ing whiners ruin it for millions of viewers ” get a grip” and keep it exiting .

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