Casual Fans Not Impressed by 2011 WSOP Live Broadcasts

Posted by James Guill on Jul 22, 2011 Posted in Poker News | 1 Comment »

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about the controversy around showing hole cards during the live coverage of the 2011 WSOP Main Event.  After the coverage began, viewers made their feelings known on our site in the comments section.  Granted, almost all of the comments came from casual fans, but it does give us some insight into what they want.  Note that comments will be posted in the way they appear on our site, so please credit any misspellings, etc to that fact.

Karen stated, “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.”

Kbcoop agreed with Karen stating, “I agree Karen. Watched for 2 minutes until I realized they are not showing any hole cards. Terribly boring.”

Poker players are not the audience for the broadcasts.  The casual fans are the ones that generate the majority of the ratings on ESPN broadcasts.  Many do not understand all of the nuances that go into playing tournament poker.  They have become accustomed to how poker has been portrayed on TV since 2003 and that is what they wnat.

Dkalish stated, ” 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…”

“GD Mallory” said “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.”

I will admit that, even as a player and fan of the game, I couldn’t watch the programming the entire time.  However, saying that it is like watching grass grow is a bit strong.  With that said, I will be interested to see how the rating for these broadcasts ran.  If they did well, expect it to be back next year.  If not, you will probably have to watch on

Steve Lee did bring up one of the major downsides to watching live poker.  He stated, ” Just wanted to tell you people what a bore it is to watch someone think for 10 min. plus. Will not watch anymore WSOP televised shows. Totally boreing. Way to go.”

Steve brought forth a great point and it was even discussed on the broadcasts about how that Matt Giannetti’s 10 minute decision seemed excessively long.  If they come back next year, I wouldn’t be surprised if some type of shot clock wasn’t used or the floor man given the green light to clock someone after a certain amount of time.  For many casual fans, this type of tanking will drive them away.

Stumpy also made an interesting point.  He asked, “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.”

The did trial this with the PCA Main Event final table, and on they did run live broadcasts of the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship.  Unless they trialed this on the $50k Player’s Championship, about the only other event that may have attracted enough fans to make the experiment viable is the Heads-Up Grudge Matches.  However, ESPN has always been an innovator with their WSOP broadcasts, so they decided to gamble on the Main Event.

Personally, I was a fan of the broadcasts and tuned in every day.  There are some things that can be fixed in the broadcasts but as a whole, I do believe that this is the direction a lot of live poker broadcasts are heading.  Of course, not everyone is going to agree and in the end, the ratings will ultimately determine whether this experiment was a success or a monumental failure.



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One Response to “Casual Fans Not Impressed by 2011 WSOP Live Broadcasts”

  1. Mark says:

    I will never watch wsop again if this its how there going to do it.I don’t
    even play but I enjoyed watching and seeing the players cards.

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