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Old 07-09-2017, 12:02 AM   #1
Ramon Scott
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ARTICLE: PokerGO was good, but only when they chose to broadcast

As the World Series of Poker has tried to adapt to the latest means to deliver its championship product this summer, the series went a new direction for 2017, agreeing to a deal with a partnership formed by ESPN and PokerGO, a re-branding of the Poker Central network.

The agreement called for several webcasts on a pay-per-channel format at PokerGO, including some of the WSOP's best events leading up to the new coverage on ESPN during the main event, which starts Saturday.

PokerGO is a subscription format, charging subscribers up to $10 per month to access exclusive programming including the World Series, The Super High Roller Bowl and a reprisal of Poker After Dark, which was announced on Thursday and will be broadcast live on PokerGO.

The webcasts have been nearly network-smooth, including a top lineup of poker broadcasters including the WSOP's long-time duo of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad. Joining them and other recognizable co-hosts, including top-level analysts that make hand-by-hand coverage quite worth the investment to avid fans of televised poker.

Some of the events this year from the Rio including the $111,111 HR For One Drop, the $10k Heads Up Championship, the $1.500 Millionaire Maker, the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. and the 10,000 No Limit Hold'em 6-Max, as well as a handful of others.

The biggest question many viewers had this week, however, was the omission of the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship, widely regarded by professionals as the most desired title to win outside of the main event.

Twitter had dozens of PokerGO subscribers threatening cancellation if they didn't find a way to stream the pro's marquee event.

Just as quickly, it seemed, many were going to reconsider that PokerGO was going to bring back a new series of Poker After Dark, which would likely include many of the biggest names in the game today.

It is going to be up to PokerGO to create programming willing to sustain the subscription format.

PokerGO does have some original content, including profiles of some of the game's more popular faces.

But they will certainly need to sustain the pace to attract an audience without any other announced partnerships at this time.

An average watcher could have easily digested all the WSOP content so far for the summer.

In fact, it could easily be argued that this has been some of the sparsest coverage of the WSOP in many years.

Dating back to the poker boom, the desire of the hardcore poker public to watch live final tables has seemingly increased over the last 10 years.

For several years, different incarnations of production efforts had far more coverage of WSOP final tables in all sorts of disciplines over the past several years until this year.

Granted while the production quality has steadily improved over the last decade-plus, most all of the non-ESPN produced coverage pales in comparison to what ESPN brought to Las Vegas with its side event coverage in recent years.

And even though we know the hole card technology has increased ten-fold just over the last couple of years, the deal didn't call for coverage of roughly more that 75 percent of the series' final tables.

Now, the WSOP will find out if its biggest revamp is successful when the $10,000 Main Event begins Saturday.

ESPN and the World Series has scrapped the November Nine format for a straight play-out until a winner is crowned on July 22.

Instead of canned, narrated highlights each week, the network will air several hours of live coverage each night.

This might pose a problem to an average viewer that could easily get bored of the long decision-making process sometimes associated with bubble play and payout jumps.

But rabid WSOP TV fans will likely hail the coverage that shows what really goes in to winning a poker tournament.

And really for the first time, those fans will get to see something they have been clamoring for and that is seeing live main event tournament coverage in the early levels.

PokerGO has stepped it up in terms of main event coverage.

In addition to the 40-plus hours scheduled for ESPN and primarily ESPN2, PokerGO will broadcast an additional 60-plus hours of main event coverage.
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