- World Series of Poker
are finished in just over a month.
The winner of each event wins a
World Series of Poker braceletand a prize based on the number of entrants. Most of the major poker variants are featured, though in recent years over half of the events have been variants of Texas hold 'em.
The series culminates with the $10,000 no-limit hold'em "Main Event", which since 2004 has attracted entrants numbering in the thousands, with the victor receiving a multi-million dollar prize.
Like any event or sports league, the WSOP also has corporate sponsors and licensed products which pay fees to market themselves as an official sponsor and/or licensee and exclusively use the WSOP insignia and cross-promote with their events. Besides the Harrah's properties and ESPN, major sponsors have included
Miller Brewing's "Milwaukee's Best" brand of beers, Pepsi's SoBeAdrenaline Rush energy drink (sponsors of the 2005 TOC), Helene Curtis' Degree brand of anti-perspirant/deodorant, United States Playing Card's Bicycle Pro Cards, Bluff magazine, GlaxoSmithKline/Bayer's Levitra erectile dysfunctionmedicine, and The Hershey Company. Licensees include GluMobile, Activision(video games for different platforms such as Nintendo's GameCube, Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's PlayStation 2and PC featuring computer generated versions of stars like Ferguson among others), and products made by different companies ranging from chip sets, playing cards, hand held games and clothing like caps and shirts. The fees and licenses bring in more than a million dollars to Harrah's.
WSOP television coverage
The earliest filming of the World Series was a special produced by Binion's Horseshoe in 1973 and narrated by Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder.
CBSbegan covering the World Series in the late 1970s. In the early 1980s, the event was again broadcast as specials. In the late 1980s, the World Series returned to television as ESPNtook over broadcasting. Initially, coverage consisted of just a single one hour taped delay broadcast of the main event.
ESPN Classiccurrently airs many of the old broadcasts, especially from the mid 1990s and beyond. The most striking thing about the early coverage is how little was actually shown, since no "pocket cam" existed. Generally, ESPN used poker-playing actors such as Dick Van Patten, Vince Van Patten, and Gabe Kaplan, with either the tournament director (usually Jim Albrecht) or a poker pro like Phil Hellmuthjoining the team. Early coverage was relatively primitive compared to what ESPN does now, with no pre-taped interviews or profiles on the players. The commentators were actually on the casino floor itself. The 2002 WSOPwas the first with the "sneak peek" (later called the pocket cam, or hole cam). 2003 was the first year that the broadcast covered action preceding the final table.
Since then, ESPN has greatly expanded its coverage to include many of the preliminary events of the WSOP, especially Texas Hold 'Em. Also, their coverage of the main event now typically includes at least one hour program on each day. For the first two years of its existence, ESPN was broadcasting one hour programs of the "circuit" events that the WSOP has at various Harrah's-owned casinos, but ESPN did not renew these events. ESPN's coverage now includes many of the trappings of sports coverage, such as lighter segments (called "The Nuts") and interviews.
ESPN's coverage has been largely driven by Matt Maranz, Executive Producer for the WSOP telecasts. Maranz leads 441 Productions, which produces the telecast under contract to ESPN's unit ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE). Maranz has significant sports production experience, having previously worked on ESPN's football pre-game show, and has also produced taped segments for NBC's Olympic coverage.
In 2000 and 2001, the World Series of Poker was broadcast by The Discovery Channel. These hour long programs presented more of an overview or recap of the WSOP as opposed to broadcasting an actual live event with play-by-play analysis and color commentary. The Discovery Channel's broadcast also featured final table players interviews interlaced throughout the show. ESPN would resume coverage the following year.
ESPN's coverage in 2002 was typical of their coverage in the 1990s (recorded in video, little or no post-production commentary or player profiles, no card cams). However, the final table broadcast was expanded over two one-hour episodes.
In 2003, ESPN expanded their coverage to new heights with their coverage of the WSOP. They included coverage of the entire tournament, with a "Featured Table". At this table, the viewers could see the player's hole cards and subsequent strategy. The action was also broadcast as if live, though on tape-delay. This level of coverage arguably led to the popularity boom of No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em.
Coverage would increase in 2004 and 2005 to include preliminary events from the WSOP, in addition to the "Main Event".
ESPN has expanded poker to all-new levels, especially with their coverage of the 2006 WSOP, including providing the entire final table of the 2006 Main Event via pay-per-view airing.
In 2008, ESPN is experimenting with the idea of a delayed final table. This year's Main Event champion will not be determined until November. This idea presents greater sponsorship opportunities for the players and builds up a great amount of excitement that culminates in a recap of the Main Event and the conclusion of the 2008 Main Event final table.
*1973 (special) -
Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder
*1978 (CBS) -
Brent Musburgerand Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder
*1979 (CBS) -
Frank Glieberand Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder
*1981 (special) -
*1983 (special) -
Curt Gowdyand Bobby Baldwin
*1987 (special) - Ted Robinson
*1988 (ESPN) -
*1989 (ESPN) -
*1990 (ESPN) -
*1991 (ESPN) -
*1992 (ESPN) -
*1993 (ESPN) -
Dick Van Pattenand Jim Albrecht
*1994 (ESPN) -
Dick Van Pattenand Jim Albrecht
*1995 (ESPN) -
Dick Van Pattenand Jim Albrecht
*1996 - Was not televised
*1997 (ESPN) -
Gabe Kaplanand Jim Albrecht
*1998 (ESPN) -
Vince Van Pattenand Jim Albrecht
*2000 (The Discovery Channel)
*2001 (The Discovery Channel)
*2002 (ESPN) -
Lon McEachernand Gabe Kaplan; (ESPN Latin America - Spanish) - Gabriela Hill
*2003 (ESPN) -
Lon McEachernand Norman Chad; (ESPN Latin America - Spanish) - Gabriela Hill
*2004 (ESPN) -
Lon McEachernand Norman Chad; (ESPN Deportes/ESPN Latin America - Spanish) - Gabriela Hill
*2005 (ESPN) -
Lon McEachernand Norman Chad; (ESPN Deportes/ESPN Latin America - Spanish) - Gabriela Hilland Andrés Agulla
*2006 (ESPN) -
Lon McEachernand Norman Chad;
Phil Gordonand Ali Nejadin Main Event Pay-per-view; (ESPN Deportes/ESPN Latin America - Spanish) - Gabriela Hilland Andrés Agulla
*2007 (ESPN) -
Lon McEachernand Norman Chad; Phil Gordonand Ali Nejadin Main Event Pay-per-view; (ESPN Deportes/ESPN Latin America - Spanish) - Gabriela Hilland Fernando Alvarez
*2008 (ESPN) -
Lon McEachernand Norman Chad; (ESPN Deportes/ESPN Latin America - Spanish) - Gabriela Hilland Fernando Alvarez
World Series of Poker Europe
The World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) is the first expansion of the
World Series of Poker. Since 1970, the event has occurred every year in Las Vegas. In September 2007, the first WSOP championship events outside of Las Vegas, complete with bracelets, were held. [http://www.igamingbusiness.com/article-detail.php?articleID=12961 Harrah's Set to Launch World Series of Poker Europe] Feb 27, 2007. Gaming Business Accessed 7/25/07] The inaugural WSOPE consisted of three events held in Londonfrom September 6-17, 2007. The main event, a GBP 10,000 buy-in no-limit hold 'em tournament, was won by Norwegian online prodigy Annette Obrestadon the day before her 19th birthday. This made her the youngest person ever to win a WSOP bracelet, a record that cannot be broken in the Las Vegas WSOP under current laws because the minimum legal age for casino gaming in Nevadais 21. Obrestad could play in the WSOPE because the minimum age for casino gaming in the United Kingdomis 18.
While no definitive plans have been announced, WSOP Commissioner
Jeffrey Pollackhas indicated that in the next one to three years that other venues may start holding WSOP events.Fact|date=October 2007 Two locations that have been mentioned as possible expansion sites are Egypt and South Africa.Bambach, Mike. [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/poker/2007-06-28-poker-europe_N.htm?csp=34 World Series of Poker ups the ante, expands event to Europe] 6-28-07. USA Today. Accessed 7/25/07]
In 2005, a
video gamebased on the tournament, titled "World Series of Poker", was released for several consoles and the computer. A sequel called ' came out in 2006. In 2007, ' was released.
WSOP video poker machines now appear at some Harrah's casinos; the machines are standard video poker machines, but have a bonus feature which allows a player to play a modified game of Texas Hold 'em against the machine. [http://www.wms.com//game-detail.php?Themes=605]
Beginning in 2007, Harrah's announced the creation of the World Series of Poker Academy, a poker school aimed at providing poker players with the skills needed to win a WSOP Bracelet. The instructors for the Academy include Phil Hellmuth, Greg Raymer, Scott Fischman and Mark Seif. Initial academies were launched in Tunica, Indiana and Las Vegas.
* [http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com/ Official site]
* [http://dir.yahoo.com/Recreation/Games/Card_Games/Poker/World_Series_of_Poker/ Yahoo Directory: World Series of Poker]
* [http://www.launchpoker.com/hands-reviews/wsop-final-hands/ Commentary on numerous final hands at the WSOP main event] from launchpoker.com
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