WSOP Broadcasts


Introduction

The broadcasts of the WSOP are split into two distinct eras - the early years and the modern years. The early years are defined by a lack of production value and were not much fun to watch. Many of the older broadcasts presented merely an overview or recap of the tournaments as opposed to broadcasting the actual events with play-by-play analysis and commentary. Unlike today's coverage, there were no interviews or profiles on the players.

Despite this, after the poker boom took off around 2002, many poker players were interested in watching the hard-to-find broadcasts from the older years. Some of them bought some old VHS tapes or DVD-rips off EBay (if they couldn't find torrents). Many of them were interested in getting a look at some of the legendary players like Stu Ungar in action. Nowadays, some of these older broadcasts are shown on ESPN Classic.

The modern era is defined by a higher production value, including player profiles and interviews, and expanded coverage. The biggest change, by far, was the introduction of the hold card cam, which allowed viewers to play along with the hand, instead of having the hand (and all the relevant strategy) revealed at once at the end.

The Early Years (1970s1990s)

The first filming of the World Series of Poker was a special produced by Binion's Horseshoe in 1973 and narrated by Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder. CBS then covered the World Series for two years in the late 1970s. In the first half of the 1980s, the event coverage went back to being special broadcasts. In the late 1980s, ESPN took over the broadcasting of the WSOP and continued to coverage it until 1999 when The Discovery Channel took over until 2001.

The Modern Years (2000s)

ESPN began covering the WSOP again in 2002. This was the first year of "modern" poker broadcasting. Besides their expanded coverage of the final table broadcast, the 2002 WSOP was the first to use hole card cameras. In 2003, with the game of poker slowly becoming more popular, ESPN expanded coverage by covering the entire tournament and adding a "Featured Table", which was a table where a particularly popular player, or previous winner, was sitting at.

Around this time, ESPN's coverage now resembled the coverage of typical sports events, with lighter segments (called "The Nuts"), interviews, and an emphasis on the personalities of some of the popular players. In 2006, ESPN expanded coverage to new levels, including providing the entire final table of the 2006 Main Event via pay-per-view airing. In 2008, ESPN changed the Main Event format by creating a delay of the final table. In 2009, continued with this format. The 2011 WSOP featured "nearly live" coverage, with broadcasts being delayed by much smaller amounts of time. Caesars Entertainment, via their web site WSOP.com, streamed final-table coverage of all bracelet events on a 5-minute delay, although without pocket cams.

List of WSOP broadcasters

Year Channel Broadcasters
2012 ESPN Lon McEachern, Norman Chad and Kara Scott
2011 ESPN Lon McEachern, Norman Chad and Kara Scott
ESPN3 Lon McEachern, David Tuchman, Antonio Esfandiari, Norman Chad, Phil Hellmuth, Olivier Busquet, Johnny Chan, Vanessa Rousso
2010 ESPN Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
ESPN3 James Hartigan and Adam Schoenfeld, Phil Hellmuth, Gavin Griffin, Bernard Lee, Jonathan Aguiar, Joseph Cheong
2009 ESPN Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
2008 ESPN Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
2007 ESPN Lon McEachern & Norman Chad; Phil Gordon & Ali Nejad in Main Event Pay-per-view
2006 ESPN Lon McEachern & Norman Chad; Phil Gordon & Ali Nejad in Main Event Pay-per-view
2005 ESPN Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
2004 ESPN Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
2003 ESPN Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
2002 ESPN Lon McEachern and Gabe Kaplan
2001 The Discovery Channel
2000 The Discovery Channel
1999 The Discovery Channel
1998 ESPN Vince Van Patten and Jim Albrecht
1997 ESPN Gabe Kaplan and Jim Albrecht
1996   Was not televised
1995 ESPN Dick Van Patten and Jim Albrecht
1994 ESPN Dick Van Patten and Jim Albrecht
1994 ESPN Dick Van Patten and Jim Albrecht
1992 ESPN Chris Marlowe
1991 ESPN Chris Marlowe
1990 ESPN Chris Marlowe
1989 ESPN Chris Marlowe
1988 ESPN Chris Marlowe
1987 special Ted Robinson
1983 special Curt Gowdy and Bobby Baldwin
1981 special Curt Gowdy
1979 CBS Frank Glieber and Jimmy Snyder
1978 CBS Brent Musburger and Jimmy Snyder
1973 special Jimmy Snyder

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Poker Events - WSOP - Broadcasts

HPG ADMIN on March 5, 2013