The end of the November Nine era came as a shock to some poker fans when the World Series of Poker powers-that-be decided the three-month hiatus in the middle of the Main Event was coming to a close. The format lasted nine years, but was nixed this May in favor of a more traditional style that will see a winner crowned by the end of the month.
For years, the Main Event would convene in July, the final nine would be determined and then they would break until the beginning of November. The format was intended to ease the stress of players and give fans a chance to get to know the final nine.
This year’s change is largely accredited to a new deal with ESPN and Poker Central that will see live coverage of the Main Event for the first time. The trio has agreed to a four-year deal for the updated coverage model, and ESPN will broadcast an estimated 40 hours of live main event coverage with a 30-minute delay. ESPN has also committed to 130 hours of produced TV coverage, which has been the norm for the last 14 years.
“The World Series of Poker has been a longstanding staple of ESPN programming,” said Dan Ochs, ESPN’s director of programming and acquisitions. “We are pleased to reach an agreement to continue to carry the sport’s most prominent event and modernize our coverage with the new same day live coverage throughout July each year.”
The $10,000 Main Event will kick off on Saturday, July 8th with the final nine determined by Monday, July 17th. The event pays out approximately 15 percent of the field, and last year’s first-place winner walked away with over $8 million.
After the 17th, players will get a two-day hiatus for ESPN interviews and tapings, and will return on Thursday, July 20th, where they’ll play to six players before breaking for the day. Friday, July 21st will play from six to three players and the winner will be determined July 22nd.
Photo credit: Photos by flipchip / LasVegasVegas.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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