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Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Time Event
2:25p
Good Idea, Bad Idea
Good Idea: Finally getting rid of Norman Chad in the WSOP broadcasts. He was cute for a while, but it's been old for years now.

Bad Idea: The whole "showing the WSOP live" thing. Maybe I'm not doing it right, but I Tivo-ed a bunch of it, and tried watching it last night, and man. I was hoping that "live" would mean "we jump around a lot and show you cool things around the room as they're happening", but instead they keep the action at one table for a half-hour at a time, and you're stuck there. Watching the dealer shuffle. Watching hands get folded around to the blinds. Watching an occasional flop taken down by a c-bet. Watching the dealer shuffle some more. And the worst part is that they don't show the hole cards during the hand, and often don't show them afterwards either. I've heard rumors that it's because of some kind of Nevada gaming regulation, but it really drags from the enjoyment.

Now I'm not the first person to talk about this (see, for example, here and here), but I was watching it, thinking it would be cool to have "live" action (even if it's "DVR live"), and about5 minutes in I said to myself "Gee, this is all the excitement of sitting down at a poker table for hours at a time and not playing a single hand!". The other problem that I haven't heard much about, though, is that these broadcasts are long. Recording the shows from Day 3 through the final table pretty much killed the storage space on the Tivo, and each day has 6-8 hours of stuff. Who is the audience for this? If I had 6-8 hours a day to watch poker, I'd spend that time.. well, I was going to say "I'd spend that time playing poker", but that's not true anymore. I'd spend that time doing something fun, though! And if the point is to get a feel for the table dynamics and things (which I can't imagine the casual fan wanting to do) then you really have to pay attention and can't be doing something else while having this on in the background.

So, I don't know. Maybe it would be a fantastic thing if we could see the hole cards. I do see the problem they're trying to solve- you don't get a sense for how the match is really going if you just show a few giant pots. But I don't think this is the correct fix.

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