WSOP vs WPT
WSOP vs WPT
Warning: I may just be stating the obvious in the following post, and I’m sure someone else has brought it up before, so if I’m restating the obvious, I apologize.
I think it goes without saying that the two most popular poker shows on TV right now are the World Poker Tour, and World Series of Poker. In general, I feel like the WSOP is a more interesting, and prestigious event and all things being equal I think I would choose to watch the WSOP over the WPT.
Despite my obvious preference for the WSOP, after watching a few episodes of both recently, I’ve realized that the WPT is a vastly superior show. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that the WSOP was THE World Series, I don’t know if the show would even be watchable.
Here’s the problem. In the WSOP telecasts, they feature a final table of nine players, and determine the winner by the end of the hour long show. Assuming after all the commercials, and features, and other fluff in the show, there is maybe 40 minutes of actual poker broadcast that means they have to eliminate one player every 5 minutes, or maybe three hands. With such little time to actually show game play, the show becomes a highlight reel of the hands people went out on. The ratio of hands where someone is all-in, to those where someone is not is disproportionately high. You aren’t really watching poker, its more like bingo.
Now, on the other hand, WPT has only six players at its final table, and a two hour long show. I’m going to assume between 80 and 90 minutes of actual play, after the commercials and other crap, which means someone gets eliminated about every 15-18 minutes. This allows them to show many more interesting hands, rather than just those where someone gets knocked out. You actually see strategy and table image, and you actually feel like you are watching players try to outmaneuver one another as opposed to just pushing all-in and praying.
It’s tough, because there are so many events to televise, but ESPN really needs to rethink their format. They really need to change it so that they have less people at their final TV table, or increase the length of their shows. Or better yet both.
So it that might have been obvious to everyone, and if so I apologize, but after watching some poker shows recently it became really apparent. And if it was obvious, then why hasn’t anyone at ESPN figured it out?
On a somewhat related note, Phil Hellmuth was in the last episode of WPT that I watched. Is there anything more enjoyable than watching him lose a hand? Especially one where he was the favorite going in? Could anyone possibly to be a worse loser than he is?