Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2009 world series of poker

We’re about to enter a big void in watchable television, at least for my tastes. All the television shows are pretty much finished for the season, and NBA playoffs are winding down. Football doesn’t start for another few months, and baseball was boring before we found out the most interesting players were cheating. The French Open is somewhat compelling, but usually not until semi-finals.

This year, however, there is something worth watching. ESPN and bluffmagazine.com will be splitting rights to 24 final tables, streaming them live on the web. Keep in mind that a final table can go all day, depending on the blind structure. That’s a lot of television, even for a poker junkie.

Of course, many of these games will be unwatchable. WSOP hosts some loopy poker tournaments that I barely understand, and that don’t translate well to television. And when you consider that live, streaming video precludes the standard use of “pocket cams” (the camera on or below the table showing viewers each players’ two cards), the nuances of games like stud and high/low are completely lost to most casual and poker fan viewers.

That said, I’m really looking forward to it. We don’t often get the opportunity to watch professional and semi-professional poker players play their game without the advantage of seeing their cards. I feel like NOT knowing what people have will help me work on my tells-reading skillz, or lack thereof.

I just hope some recognizable faces make some of these final tables. My all around favorite poker player is Daniel Negreanu, and I know I’m one of many who would say the same. His ability to read a person’s cards and his situation is uncanny, and somewhat eerie. You can’t go wrong with Phil Hellmuth – he’s an excellent player when he’s not acting out for the camera, and when he is acting out – even better.

So if you’re interested in poker – the first final table is June 2 on ESPN360, No Limit Hold ‘Em.

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