In an effort to make televised poker broadcasts more exciting for viewers watching at home, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is encouraging players to engage in more table talk in discussing hands in progress.
Deciding that more back-and-forth between players makes for “good TV,” WSOP officials are hoping that in heads-up all-in situations being shown on television, players will verbally reveal their hole cards and thought processes prior to deciding whether to call the bet. In recent years, players had been reticent to discuss hands still in play in accordance with WSOP regulations. The WSOP’s flip-flop on the issue is aimed at livening things up and getting “a little more talking at the table,” said WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel.
“We’d like to see more players talk at the table because we feel it’s an integral part of the game,” Effel added, while speaking to media members via a conference call that outlined several changes to WSOP rules. “If no other player in the hand has a decision to make, you can speak freely.”
The WSOP has also flip-flopped its stance on exuberant celebration. Following a 2007 tournament event in which Hevad Khan became overly excited with joyful emotional outbursts, the WSOP rewrote the table rules in an attempt to tone down displays of emotion that were viewed as out of control. The rules have again been changed, citing the fact that “a poker room is not a church,” allowing players to show their excitement in winning large sums of money, said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.