PokerNews recently announced that it will be the live reporting partner of the 2017 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this summer. The poker media outlet handled the job from 2007 to 2014, but the WSOP took over its own live reporting for the past two years. However, by popular demand, PokerNews is back in the driver’s seat for the upcoming series.
The team at PokerNews is typically a well-rounded group of veterans and amateurs, with enough experience among the former to make sure the live updates and all reports are timely, informative, and as accurate as possible. And of course, there is always some well-placed wit in post titles and such to break up the monotony that can take over with poker reporting.
There are some overused phrases, however, that creep into the live updates. As a former live reporter (not for PokerNews) and now an avid updates follower, I have some suggestions for terms and phrases to avoid at the WSOP this summer.
Table of Death
Death rarely happens at a poker tournament. A table of death implies a level of seriousness and danger that is simply not there. And as is the nature of a poker tournament, table changes and player bustouts tend to happen quite regularly, which means that any table is likely to be less deathly in an hour or so.
Suggestions: Pro-filled tables, table of recognizable faces, railbird favorite, or fan photo-op table.
The same goes for the stacked table reference. Since players are seated next to each other and not neatly atop each other like chips, they are not stacked. Again, table changes and player bustouts change the makeup of tables all the time. And in addition, the winner of that particular tournament is most likely at a non-stacked table. Take a look around and write about the sights and sounds of more tables than the ones featuring the most well-known pros.
Suggestions: See number one above
When the WSOP first expanded the ESPN production stage with bigger lights, more audience seating, and a grand entrance tunnel, the poker media dubbed it the mothership. It looked out of place in the otherwise cavernous and dark tournament rooms, and the nickname was fun for a few years. That time has passed. If reporters aren’t able to get creative with a new term, there is no shame in referring to the stage or final table area.
Suggestions: Stage, final table area, where the fans are, poker theater, or friends and family resting area
Phil Ivey is Here!
Since Phil Ivey rarely shows up to poker tournaments these days, it is natural that people might get a little excited if he turns up at the WSOP. However, the media should try to keep their fan-boy pants on and resist the urge to act like newbies. Keep the exclamation marks out of it, and simply report on Ivey as with any other player. Also, every movement taken by Ivey is not newsworthy.
Suggestions: Phil Ivey is here, as are x and x and x
Phil Hellmuth Antics
It is inevitable that Phil Hellmuth will put his over-the-top antics on full display. He is likely to insult other players, boast about his own accomplishments and poker knowledge, and pace the room. Reporting on his actions is part of the job, but none of it needs to be written about as if something unique has happened. His antics are as common as bad beats, and both are exhausting to hear about in too much detail.
Suggestions: Phil Hellmuth paced the room, and the rest of the players continued with the poker
Per the Nevada law, players must be at least 21 years of age to compete at the WSOP. That means boys and girls are prohibited from the tables. Men and women, however, are permitted to play. Call them males and females – or better yet, players – but leave girls out of it. It is also not important to note what any of the women are wearing at the tournaments unless the men’s incredible fashion statements are also reported. Remember that poker is not a gender-specific game.
Suggestions: Women, female players, players, competitors, or people
Yes, there is luck in poker. Players can make all of the “correct” plays and still get lucky or unlucky. However, without knowing all of the facts, it is a bit of a judgement to call a hand result lucky or unlucky. And since poker needs to be promoted on all levels as a game of skill, maybe leaving the luck factor out of reporting can be a good thing.
Suggestions: Interesting, surprising, shocking, unexpected… use a thesaurus