Monday, July 11, 2016

Tuning into the Main Event

The World Series of Poker Main Event is now well underway, and in fact the last of the three Day 1 flights is already edging over into its latter levels.

Back at the start of the WSOP I had predicted 6,613 for a total number of entrants this year, and for a while this afternoon and early evening it was looking like that might have been an uncannily close guess. They pushed past that mark, though, hitting 6,737 overall after a monstrous Day 1c field of 4,240 -- the largest single flight ever.

As has been the case the last three summers, I’m realizing as the WSOP Main Event gets underway that without any sort of live streams or anything beyond the hand updates and chip counts, it feels as though there’s a hole in the coverage. Too bad they cannot have an EPT Live-style stream running these first several days of the event -- say, up until Day 4 or whenever edited ESPN shows are going to pick up the story once they start airing later in the summer.

This is a point that keeps coming up every single summer. Matt Glantz tweeted about it a year ago (earning himself a block from the WSOP account for doing so). “Players would tell you that an absence of live streaming, in an event so big to the game, is a huge mistake that needs to be turned around for the upcoming year,” wrote Glantz. Alas, such a move didn’t happen, likely due to preexisting agreements with ESPN. Instead it’s almost as though with the Main Event the WSOP is already kind of over for the summer for those following from offsite. I’ll still eagerly check in on how things go from here, of course, particularly once the field shrinks to less than 100 and the pre-final table excitement starts to build. But it’s almost like mentally I’m recording everything to watch later, not fully focusing on it right now.

I’ve had fun again this summer listening to the PokerNews Podcast with Remko Rinkema and Donnie Peters, catching it nearly every day while doing barn chores or other outdoor activities. Has been a fun way to follow results, while also including a lot of interesting discussions about various topics having to do with the current state of tournament poker. (Remko’s also terrific with interviews -- I marvel at how good he is.)

The “PNPod” made me think some sort of live audio from the Main Event each night could be an entertaining and different way for audiences to experience the tournament. The final day in particular -- when they play from 27 to nine -- could be covered from start-to-finish as a radio show, interspersing interviews. I know I’d listen.

Then again, I might be a bigger fan of radio and “theater of the mind” than the average content consumer. Still, it’s starting to feel like in this age of the live streaming and all of our nonstop “feeds” that live updates might finally be slipping over into anachronistic status.

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