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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Fox's Live Poker Broadcast
I really enjoyed the live broadcast of the Turning Stone "American Poker Chmapionship" on Fox Sports Network last night. As Maudie notes, it solved the two main problems with the WPT and WSOP: 1) Often you know who's going to win because you've read about the tourney results elsewhere, and 2) even if you don't know who'll win beforehand, you certaily know who's going to win before the final hands is played, because you can figure it out based on the chip stacks and how much time is left in the program.

I also thought that the live broadcast really gave the viewer a better feel for what the final table is like. One of the commentators said at the beginning of the broadcast that up til now televised poker has been like a highlight show, but in this live broadcast, instead of seeing just the fumbles and touchdown passes, we would see all the 3-yard runs and shorts outs in between. I thought that was a pretty apt comparison. (It was also helped by the unseasonably cool whether we're having in the Northeast--it feels like football weather!) Watching a final table live felt pretty much like watching a slow-paced slugfest of a football game. Just as you get a feel for the rhythm of the back-and-forth struggle that type of football game, last night it was fun to try to get a feel for which player had the momentum at any given point. And folding and blind-stealing are sort of the important-but-not-glamorous parts of poker, just as run-blocking and pass-protection are the important-but-not-glamourous parts of football.

Watching all the steals that John Juanda and Phil Ivey made with the worst hand was just great. I also really liked Howard Lederer as a commentator.

It was also cool that the commentators didn't try to overly dramatize every hand as Mike Sexton and VVP always do. Instead the drama came from the players themselves--Phil Ivey's 3-hour-continuous staredown of the other players added a certain intensity.

As with a football game, I started to get a little bored late in the 3rd quarter--in this case, in the early stages of heads-up play when it didn't seem that the blinds were big enough for the contest to end anytime soon. I fired up Absolute Poker (I've got a $100 bonus to clear) and unsuccessfully tried to beat the $1/$2 game while watching the FSN event. Lost about $35--doh! Some pretty bad beats there from loose-passive types. Then I lost another $10 at the Paradise .50/$1 7-Card Stud games (double doh, since I've been owning those games lately). Once poker on TV was over I then won a $5 sit-n-go on Absolute to finish out the evening down $20. There's a lesson I thought I had already learned: playing online poker + watching TV poker = losing at online poker.

Anyway, I really enjoyed watching this first-ever live final table and I hope we will see more live poker coverage in the future.

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