Obviously, the most disappointing thing was that I wasn’t at the final table. Not far behind that would be how disappointing the coverage was.
First, the geniuses running the WSOP decide to delay the final table of this event until November, to match up with the ESPN TV schedule. Then, inexplicably, they don’t show the event live. Instead, it’s played a day or so before the broadcast, and the winner seeps out on the internet.
Now, I wasn’t one of those who mistakenly found out who the winner was early. But that didn’t make the broadcast any better. One brief illustration of the lack of suspense was the story of Kelly Kim. He was the short stack with 10 players left, doing everything he could to hold on this summer and make the final table. We see someone else bust out 9th, and ESPN does a great job showing us plenty of dramatic coverage with Kelly Kim holding on by his fingers. Fast forward to November. Kelly Kim doubles up early, and someone else busts out 9th. Kelly Kim is now a millionaire. We get to watch him celebrate. A real storyline. But wait, we come back from the next commercial break, and Kelly has busted out of the tournament. They don’t even show us the hand. He just stands up and leaves.
Peter Eastgate, from Denmark, beat Ivan Demidov heads up in a fairly uninspiring match. This isnt’ meant to take anything away from Peter. He played well, appeared to get the right amount of luck, and won a boatload of cash. But ESPN never really built a story around him. So, despite the fact that Jamie Gold was annoying, I felt more attachment to watching him win than Peter.
ESPN did a good job profiling Chino Rheem all along, so I’ll give them a passing grade there. The rest of the coverage blew.
Congratulations to Peter. More importantly, congratulations to my friend Matt Matros, who made two final tables at the Series this year, along with top 100 finish in the main event. Matt missed a WPT final table in Canada a few weeks ago, and has had a hell of a year playing poker.