Monday, April 27, 2009

What’s Up with the WSOP? Check the Guide

2009 World Series of Poker Official Media GuideThe first event of the 2009 World Series of Poker begins exactly one month from today. In anticipation of the series kicking off, the WSOP put out its “Official Media Guide” last week, a 45-page document with lots of info about the schedule and other matters, along with a buncha tidbits that could occasionally prove useful to those who are planning to cover the sucker this summer.

Was leafing through and found a few items I hadn’t been aware of among the various “Did you know?”-style trivia included in the guide.

Did you know Tom McEvoy has four WSOP bracelets? Did you know Annie Duke has 33 WSOP cashes? Did you know a grand total of 731 gold bracelets have been awarded over the years, and that it wasn’t until 1975 that all event winners were given bracelets (not just the Main Event winner)? Except in 1982, when they all got gold watches?

Nations represented at the WSOP, 2004-2009Like I say, there are a few other things in there of which I hadn’t necessarily been aware. In 2008 there were a total of 124 countries represented at the WSOP. I knew there had been over a hundred represented, but didn’t realize what a jump that number represents since 2004 when players came from 24 countries. Indeed, the progression over the last five years, humbly represented in a little Microsoft graph, is amazing to consider, really.

On the news front, the guide includes this year’s ESPN telecast schedule for the WSOP, which I don’t remember having been publicized previously. Looks like a total of 32 hours of coverage is planned, starting July 28 and running through the two-hour packaged final table show scheduled for Tuesday, November 10.

When the TV schedule was announced last year, I wrote a post about it that noted how most of the coverage (about two-thirds) was devoted to the Main Event. There were a total of five other bracelet events that got some air time last year.

This year, if the schedule is followed as proposed, there is almost zero coverage of preliminary events planned. If my math is correct, a total of 26 of the 32 hours will be focused on the Main Event. And only one other WSOP bracelet event will be getting any coverage at all, that $40,000 buy-in 40th Annual No-Limit Hold’em event (Event No. 2).

So you’ll have to get yr coverage elsewhere if you want to follow those other 55 bracelet events. (Got yr Twitter account yet?) Also, I think this schedule probably ends the debate over whether mainstream television networks (or the general public) is interested in any game other than no-limit hold’em. No surprise there.

There will be two other events covered by ESPN, both non-bracelet events. They’re planning two hours on the Ante Up for Africa charity event which will attract celebs, athletes, and a few big names from the poker world. Then there will also be two hours on that “WSOP Champions Invitational,” the announcement of which is another piece of news one finds in the guide.

To commemorate the 40th year of the WSOP, all of the living Main Event champs have been invited to participate in a tournament near the beginning of the schedule (May 31-June 1). There is no cash prize (nor a bracelet), but the winner will receive something called the “Binion Cup” as well as a new car.

According to the guide, there are 34 total ME champions over the history of the WSOP, and 27 of those are still living. That means if they all show up, they’ll be staging a three-table sit-n-go (no word on the structure). Should be pretty interesting stuff, I’d imagine.

Russ Hamilton at the 1994 WSOP Main Event final tableOf course, the question that immediately popped up on the forums was whether or not disgraced 1994 Main Event champion Russ Hamilton would be there. The only person ever technically implicated in the UltimateBet insider cheating scandal (by the dubious Kahnawake Gaming Commission), Hamilton has yet to face any punishment for his misdeeds. Other than the occasional unsolicited phone call from 60 Minutes or getting harrassed on the golf course by Raw Vegas TV every now and then, that is.

The media guide speaks of how “the winner of the Main Event has gone on to serve as the reigning world champion of poker in the year after their [sic] victory and carried himself as an ambassador of the sport of poker.” Some champs have fit that bill more than others, to be sure. But it appears none less so than Hamilton.

So, yea, I think the chances are not so good that you’ll see all 27 of those former champs at the invitational. Will be interesting to watch, nonetheless. Almost the only thing to watch, actually, other than the Main Event.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Edit #1:

Worth noting in the guide:

They think Sailor Roberts is alive.
Greg is now "Grey" Raymer.
They misspelled Daughtery and Dastmalchi.

There's 25 living champions:

Brunson, Slim, Baldwin, McEvoy, Johnston, Chan, Hellmuth, Matloubi
Daugherty, Dastmalchi, Bechtel
Hamilton, Harrington, Seed, S. Nguyen, Furlong, Ferguson, Mortensen, Varkonyi, Moneymaker
Raymer, Hachem, Gold, Yang

The somehow forget that Moss and Ungar had 3 World Championships, Brunson and Chan have 2.

4/27/2009 8:57 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thx, man. Yea, I'd heard there might be a few errors in there.

Up there where I was calculating the hours of ME coverage, I actually came very close to typing "if my Kevmath is correct" -- no shinola, haha.

4/27/2009 9:47 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's the thought that counts Shamus :)

If the first prize is just a car and a trophy, I could see more than a few people passing on showing up for the Champions event. I can easily see at least Hamilton, Matloubi, Furlong and Dastmalchi not showing up for this.

I believe the conference call for the WSOP is tomorrow, I'd be curious if anyone asks if there's an announcement that since most of the other tournaments will not be televised, will they be offering streaming on the Internet to watch those final tables.

4/27/2009 9:54 AM  
Blogger Pauly said...

Mathers is ALWAYS on the ball. They should have hired you and Shamus to do the media guide.

4/27/2009 10:13 AM  

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