WSOP 2011: Eight guys and ElkY
I have a plan to revolutionise poker broadcasting. It requires no further expansion of television coverage, no additional equipment, just a few extra microphones perhaps, some airwaves and reporters prepared to wear headphones and talk quietly all day. Let's make poker a radio game.
Now hear me out.
While edited poker is nigh-on-perfect for television it's widely accepted that what you see on the screen isn't exactly what you get on the tournament floor. Instead, the rigours of time and budget force the TV people to hand-pick key hands, leaving gaps in continuity for players spending ten hours at the tables. Radio could bring the true grit of the game to the regular fan not here with a few roving reporters darting between often forgotten outer tables.
The main stage - perfect for radio
It's not exactly new territory. In the United States, baseball has been on the radio for generations. In the United Kingdom cricket fans regularly turn down the TV commentary of Test Matches to listen to the wireless broadcasters paint the picture of Britain's glorious summer game. The beauty of it being that at the same time they can sit in the garden, wash the dishes or drive to the store without missing a minute's action.
Right now the only way not to miss anything of this main event is to be here in person. And that comes with a few obstacles.
It's remarkably easy to watch the main event from the rail, just remarkably hard to make any sense out of it, particularly when there are more than 200 tables in full swing.
Even on the main stage, a fantastic construction inspired by Spielberg and the Centre Pompidou, spectators sit at least 20 feet from the action. From here the reality is that they won't see much. Except for television screens showing the board, today's railbirds are simply watching ElkY and eight other guys. Only loved ones have that kind of staying power to watch nothing but a man's back until dinner.
Yet these people serve as a reminder as to how popular this game of ours is because, as this event has proven before, people do come and watch and, as proven before, when we get within sight of the final people will trip old ladies and vault mobility scooters in order to get a good seat.
So despite these hurdles - the distance from the table, the lack of a view - they still want to watch. As media it's easy to get cynical from our position in our ivory towers, but the main event was built and the spectators came, sitting hour after hour for a glimpse of the players they love from the television shows.
It's only the main stage where you see every hand, watch every decision, every fold, hear every riffle, notice every nervous foot bouncing or spot the repressed pain of a defeat - the very detail that TV can sometimes miss. For the poker purist on a day like today there's no better place to be.
Thanks for listening. Now back to the studio for the weather.
REGRET OF THE HOUR
@JosephHachem: "Going well, even though I'm absolutely wrecked. Still recovering from two nights ago. Silly me..."
CONFUSED OF THE HOUR
"I'm looking for a particular table number in the Tan section but the tables don't go up that far. Why didn't they make another Tan section?"- lost railer.
POTENTIAL CHIP LEADER OF THE HOUR
Andrew Chen is on 97,000
FAMOUS FACE OF THE HOUR
Mike Kosowski, winner of PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge in the field of Day 1D
STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Number of pounds of animal flesh Team PokerStars Blog will consume at the upcoming dinner break: Approximately 8.
TWEET OF THE HOUR
ElkY: "Pretty sick 14k lost QJhh to AJ on J43J6 :( was close to hero folding river to his 3rd barrel ... Come back time."
HANGOVER OF THE HOUR
Joe Hachem, still hurting after his 80-person Lebanese Dinner Party two days ago.