The final table actually begins on Sunday, November 9th. According to the WSOP site -- not the easiest thing to navigate, frankly, when searching for such info -- it looks like they plan to start the final table at 10:00 a.m. (Vegas time) on that Sunday and play down to the final two, at which time there will be another delay before the last two get back together to play heads up on Monday night, starting at 10:00 p.m. (also Vegas time).
ESPN will then broadcast its two-hour edited version of the final table on Tuesday, November 11th from 9:00-11:00 p.m. (Eastern time). Usually these two-hour programs manage to show around 25 hands altogether, so expect a bustout every three hands or so (i.e., about one per commercial break).
Between now and then, we have two more weeks’ worth of coverage of the WSOP Main Event. I assume tonight’s two hours will be devoted to Day 6 (when they played from 79 players down to 27), then next week will cover Day 7, the last day of play this summer. Expect a lot of Tiffany Michelle this evening, as she wound up Day 6 in third place out of the 27 survivors. She also spent a lot of time at the feature table that day, as I recall.
Having signed off on my last day of blogging for PokerNews on Day 5, I stuck around those last couple of days to watch some of the action with a friend of mine who’d come to visit and check out the WSOP. I remember hanging out in the Milwaukee’s Best Light No Limit Lounge some on Day 6, actually forcing down a couple of foul-tasting cans of the Beast with the Poker Brat’s mug on the side as we watched him finally lose the last of his chips to finish 45th. (Cheers!) I think eventually we worked our way down to the bleachers for a while that night, too. I know we were back in the bleachers on Day 7, surrounded by family members of the dozen or so players still alive.
After these last two weeks of regular ME coverage, on November 4th comes the one-hour final table preview show (scheduled for 10:00 p.m. Eastern time).
I realize in this age of DVRs, TiVo, and online tube-watching, folks generally don’t plan their TV viewing according to when networks actually air their programs. I suppose ESPN plans to repeat that preview show a few times on its various networks during the week leading up to November 11th. I hope they do, anyway. If they don’t, no one will see it. And I mean no one. Why?
’Cos it’s friggin’ election night, that’s why. And I think that might have already been on the calendar back in early May when the ESPN schedule was first announced.
I might be the last person in the country not to have TiVo or the like. I still have an old VCR hooked up to the teevee, but never use it to record programs. Can’t say I’m all that intrigued to watch the final table preview show, anyway. Three-and-a-half months of foreplay kind of takes one out of the mood for still more preliminaries.
I’m certainly intrigued to see how the whole thing turns out, having followed the story from 6,844 players down to nine as closely as I did. But I have to admit I remain fairly cynical about the whole final table delay idea. To be honest, I’m not even that interested in the two-hour final table show (although I’ll definitely watch). I’d much rather watch something like the live pay per view of the entire final table that was done the last two years than a two-hour highlight reel. And I’d much rather it all have taken place in July, back when the rest of the tourney was played.
I understand there have been certain marketing benefits for the players, and perhaps ESPN has also realized some sort of benefit related to its vision for how best to present the WSOP. But as a dedicated player and fan, I’m still not seeing any compelling reason to like the delay.
But that’s just me. I suppose we’re all being reminded here how patience is a big part of poker.