Calling the decision a “groundbreaking change” Harrah’s Entertainment will officially announce today that the final table of the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event will be delayed until November 9-10.
ESPN will edit the two-days of final table action and televise it in a two-hour program from on November 11, just hours after the winner is crowned. The format is similar to coverage of the Olympic Games where, due to time zone differences, events are shown with same day coverage.
Under the new format the final nine players will play on November 9 until only two players remain. Once the action is heads-up play will be stopped until the following day when they will return to the Rio to play to a winner.
“Our intent is to provide an even bigger stage for our players,” said Jeffrey Pollack, Commissioner of the World Series of Poker. “Now fans and viewers will ask ‘who will win’ our coveted championship bracelet instead of ‘who won.’ The excitement and interest surrounding our final nine players will be unprecedented.”
The change in format has been rumored for months now and some of the game’s biggest names are backing the concept. In fact, the WSOP Players Advisory Council was heavily involved in the decision-making process.
“This is a huge step forward for poker and more specifically poker on television because it will help create more buzz around the final table and that is good for all of us,” said Daniel Negreanu, who sits on the PAC. “Not only will this innovative step create more buzz for the final table, the added time prior to the final table will help get poker mainstream media attention.”
ESPN will begin its coverage of the 2008 World Series of Poker on Tuesday, July 22. Viewers will see two hours of original poker programming every Tuesday through November 11 (except November 4 when a special preview of the Final Table will be aired at 10 p.m.). Telecasts will be aired at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. July 22 through September 30 and at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. from October 7 through November 11.
Players who make the final table will all be paid 9th place money in July. Airfare and accommodations for two will be provided to the players to return to Las Vegas for the final table play.