Caesars Entertainment have announced the schedule for the World Series Of Poker 2012, but different sources suggest that the “November Nine” format of the television programme will not be repeated.
The “November Nine” feature had been used for four years prior to this year’s event. The four-month delay was an attempt to build excitement for the final table and potentially increase ratings for their delayed television coverage of the tournament on ESPN.
It had its pros and cons from the beginning. Delaying the final table meant ESPN could cover the tournament and know that nobody from the public would be able to know the winner, ensuring viewers for their final-table episodes.
However, many players worried that the tournament was to become more for capitalism than for the players. It also meant that a player could acquire coaching or play in more big-money tournaments to improve. This brought the integrity of the final-table into question.
Despite this, it appears the key reason for the scrapping of the T.V delay is due to the progress of live-streaming. The WSOP live-streamed the last Main Event final-table in November at near-real-time and was deemed successful enough to repeat.
With Caesars having extended deals with poker firms Dragonfish (888) and Barrière (LB Poker), it seems that the gambling corporation wants to add the online world, both play and entertainment, to its already large list of operations by the time the US-market is available.