The 2008 WSOP telecast has moved up from rock bottom.
On the night after cable television had the most viewers in all its history (nearly 12 million) with the Dallas-Philadelphia game on Monday Night Football, the World Series of Poker had a tough act to follow.
Did you watch Tuesday night’s show? What an improvement, don’t you think? Although the 441 Productions people - who have filmed the WSOP for the last many years - are my friends (well they were until I started criticizing their broadcasts), they aren’t changing the show’s format because of anything I’ve written. These decisions are made well in advance based on the quality of taping the producers and camera operators are able to catch in the gigantic Amazon room. Then the commentator’s voices are dubbed over the chosen clips.
We got very lucky that ESPN decided to devote both of their scheduled two hours Tuesday to Day 2a rather than cram both Day 2’s into one evening. The difference in the quality of the broadcast was striking. We got to see the field shrink from over 1,200 starters to under 600 Day 3 qualifiers. And we did it without being trapped on the Feature or second tables all night. Congratulations to the ESPN production crew for an entertaining two hours.
Of the 40 famous players I’d suggested deserved some face time before heading for the exit, eight got that exposure.
More importantly the directors, Dave and Matt, decided to show a few more tables in the field even though we couldn’t be shown the hole cards, as the tables didn’t have lipstick cams. Dramatic showdowns with all-ins are more than enough compensation for the missed betting sequences of dull hands like the ones for the Planter’s segments.
Equally we were shown several players who - we now know - went deep into the tournament. Including some time with David Rheem one of the November Nine. It was informative to see how his early days helped lead to the most famous and infamous final table in history.
With more time for each day until November, I won’t have to apologize to ESPN anymore. The telecasts are that much better.
What do you think?
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