Pros and cons of the WSOP coverage IMHO.

It was great to see such thorough unedited coverage. Below are some  observations for next time.

In no particular order:

We keep saying poker is more like chess, something thoughtful, and it was presented like a boxing match. The rail was super distracting and added nothing positive. Why would the production team allow that constant drunk rowdy stupid behavior?   After Hevad Kahn, the “excessive celebration” concept was put in place and I think it’s so cool now when players take huge pots, beats…whatever, and don’t go batshit.  Just hated the rail element. It demeaned the game, was hard to watch, and I can’t imagine that it helped the players. But I’m wrong half the time, so who knows.

Anxious to see what’s on the forums, but I didn’t like what the 15 minute delay/show did to the strategy.  Sure it added another level to the game, and yes, every player had access to the information, but it added a team element that I didn’t like i.e. people had “their teams” working on getting and parsing the info. There’s always a hand you fold that haunts you (remember the game where, when Joe Cassidy got knocked out, he went up to John Aglialoro…2004 I think, and asked “what did you have?” Or when you show one card?  I think the strategy element the delay/show added isn’t nearly as interesting as the elements it eliminated. I wish #wsop would tape live and show in a few days. We’re watching more to see how the game went down than to learn who won IMHO).

The commentary was great…..a real course in poker strategy and how to break down hands. Every guest commentator had so much to add, and #normanchad and  #lonmceachern were terrific as always.  I wouldn’t have minded some quiet time. It’s hard to fill all of those hours and we can only hear the stats so many times, but all in all, everyone rose to this ground-breaking occasion.

On another topic, remember how online players were called “internet kids” and not in a good way (think Hellmuth playing Dwan HU the first time). In this recent telecast, someone said the internet wizards.  Yeah, it’s about time. I’ve loved them from the start and love to play them live. These players are machines with huge brains and heart.

Who would watch a poker show with no hole cards? Me and every poker player I know.

Totally loved the WSOP first-ever slight delay stream of the entire Main Event. I don’t think I’ll ever want to see a game with hole cards again. What fun to test my skill of reading the bet amount and other tells to put a player on a hand, then see at showdown how good I am.  I do think, however, that the WSOP missed a few opportunities that, as a marketing exec, I can’t help but point out.

Basic marketing 101: Know your audience.  I  don’t think anyone who isn’t familiar with poker is going to choose a 6 hour multi-part extravaganza shown without hole cards for entertainment.  (Remember, showing what the players had is what gave televised poker its start.) Yet the show seemed to be geared to the total novice.  We who would watch this event know what blinds are, we know what a three bet is, we even know what a C-bet is.  And  I’d much rather hear what’s going on at the table then hearing about what Johnny Chan did 10 years ago, or how many bracelets Hellmuth has.  I think McEachern was just too afraid of dead air and of boring us watching players do nothing, which really was the good part…seeing  the flow of the game.” Nothing happened, then I lost” is something Jimmy Fricke tweeted, and that’s what’s fun to see. I think Lon and Norman together with Kara are the best poker announcers/interviewer going, and I’m only suggesting that for this type of an event, maybe a little less announcing and more table coverage is okay. We’re poker players. We don’t get bored watching people think.

I was so frustrated wanting to hear the table banter, only to have Lon and Antonio gushing about this being the life-changing WSOP Main Event. We get it.  Once, when it was down to 10 players and the game was in “raise, everyone fold” mode, the raiser said, “Ill show”, and the coverage didn’t even catch the hand being shown being too busy reminding us that this was the Main Event. The exception to this non-stop commentating was when Olivier Busquet was on.  He would even say , “let’s watch the hand, then we’ll talk”. He knew why we were watching. Even he was interested. And his comments were a strategy course geared to the audience. He gave me a lot to think about.

Not that the WSOP is one of my 5 readers, but if they were, some advice:  Twitter presents a terrific opportunity to do free and immediately what companies pay upwards of 20K to do and it takes weeks:  ask people to let you know what they think? Who was their favorite commentator team? What was their favorite part of the show.   Get feedback. The WSOP could get immediate results and adjust accordingly, even mid-way through the series if they wanted to, but definitely for next year.  If you do this WSOP execs, just send me a free entry for next year:

A great first presentation and I look forward to an even better show next year.