10 takeaways from ESPN’s WSOP final table coverage

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Nov 05, 2013 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

WSOP Nov 9Hot Take #1: Live poker still has a disgustingly slow pace of play

All-in-all, the pace of play by the November Nine was pretty good, but it still demonstrates how unwatchable live poker is for your average viewer at home.

As much as I LOVE the live stream, for a casual viewer it’s probably close to what it would feel like if CBS followed one golfer through his entire round, step by painful step, instead of cutting away to the rest of the field.

Hot Take #2: I went to a poker game and a NASCAR race broke out.

Good news poker fans, after something of a bye-year in 2012 NASCAR is back at the WSOP poker tables… and apparently in the crowd as well–what the hell was going on with Mike Mizrachi last night? He looked like a human corkboard at the local community college.

I understand these guys want to squeeze every nickel out of their final table runs, but there is something to be said for tasteful advertising. Sylvain Loosli is the perfect example: he had on a nice Winamax shirt that clearly showed who he was representing, but then added several Winamax patches to his ensemble, because apparently he looked to “normal” without them –or as normal as a guy wearing sunglasses and scarf indoors can look.

Kudos to Ryan Reiss and David Benefield for being patch-free last night, and if you need to find a roommate or sell a dirt bike just stick a post-it note on “The Grinder.”

Hot Take #3: The level of dress has deteriorated

Beyond the patches, when the award for best dressed at the final table is between a player in a Calvin Johnson jersey and a player dressed like he is getting ready for a trip to Whole Foods (David Benefield) I’d say there is a bit of an issue with the dress at the final table… but at least nobody was wearing a hoodie.

Hot Take #4: It’s too bad for poker viewers that Antonio won One Drop because his true calling is obviously as a poker commentator

Whether it’s his snide remarks to Norman Chad or his ability to breakdown hands in a clear, simple manner, Antonio was made for poker commentary –too bad he doesn’t need the money.

Hot Take #5: Poker as a spectator sport is not doing it for me

I absolutely abhor the loud rails, the chants, the cutaways to an emotionally distraught family member/girlfriend/friend. Not only does it make the WSOP final table seem like it is being played in a frat house, but the level of noise drowns out any table talk we might be able to hear (see Hot Take #7).

Hot Take #6: The level of play in recent years has been off the charts

As boring as certain aspects of the telecast can be during a live stream of a final table, the level of play at the WSOP final table has been nothing short of stellar in recent years.

Hot Take #7: If anyone wants to talk at the final table I’m all ears.

So, I’m assuming table talk during hands has been banned?

Hot Take #8: Ryan Reiss or Jay Farber is exactly what poker DOESN’T need right now.

If I had to pick two people I didn’t want to win the 2013 WSOP Main Event before the final table started it would have been Ryan Reiss and Jay Farber.

Understand, I think they are both terrific people and I have nothing against them personally, the issue I have is that the last thing poker needs right now is another champion that could double as a guy holding a Viva La Stool sign on College Gameday –they need this like they need a young, barely-sees-the-light-of-day, mathematician type to win.

Hot Take #9: Norman Chad delivered the line of the night pretty early on in the broadcast.

When discussing live simulations of the final table as a means to practice in the lead up to the November Nine, Norman hit one out of the park David Ortiz style with this gem… which I may be misquoting since I was laughing so hard:

“It didn’t work for me. I did a live simulation of my second marriage.”

Hot Take #10: Jesse May won Twitter even earlier.

Last night Jesse May was showing people how to tweet during the WSOP live stream right out of the gate with these two tweets that came in just minutes apart:


You have Chino Rheem and Mike Matusow on your rail. You have officially been around too long. Now rooting for Newhouse.

You’re being coached by Ben Lamb and Jesse Sylvia. You have officially not been around long enough.


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