World Series of Poker Live is a $50/year subscription that provides live internet streams of WSOP final tables, including the WSOP Europe and WSOP Circuit events (the Main Event live broadcast isn't included). This review is based on one show: Event 30 of the 2007 World Series of Poker. I've watched several live poker broadcasts in the past, with and without hole cards, on TV and on the internet: this was by far the worst live broadcast I've ever seen. I give it credit for showing every hand and many of the hole cards, but still can't give it more than a two star rating.
Howard David provides commentary, with a changing array of guest announcers. David is one of the worst announcers I've ever heard. He made mistakes regularly (e.g. getting players' names wrong, calling it PokerParty, and informing us that Doyle Brunson had won 10 Main Events) and added no value. He doesn't seem to know much about poker. For example, he didn't know what a shootout was and couldn't pronounce Phil Hellmyooth's name. Guest announcer Shawn Rice, on the other hand, did a fine job once he warmed up.
They only showed a subset of the hole cards (which was extremely frustrating), those they showed took a while to appear, the hole-card graphics sometimes changed during a hand, and the graphics jumped around at the bottom left of the screen. Three years ago I watched a live broadcast that used RFID to identify the hole cards (Turning Stone, perhaps the closest a poker broadcast has ever come to the ideal). Why are producers still using expensive, error-prone humans to read and input hole-card data? Poker show producers need to move to modern technology (example) for identifying cards and counting chips. After the initial investment, production would be cheaper and live broadcasts could be of higher quality.
I'd like to hear what was going on at the table, but the sound level there was much lower than for the announcers. The announcers didn't do a good job with play-by-play (and onscreen graphics didn't help), so I'd like some way to follow the action. Like all poker shows, they weren't good at showing position, making the action hard to follow. Good onscreen graphics could do the job, but they inadvertently showed me another way to convey position and action: showing the whole table. They rarely used that wide view, but what a relief when they did: I could see what position the players were in and follow what was going on much better.
The video quality was only fair. I could read the hole-card graphics fine, but the players' names were only marginally readable. As with many poker shows, the video of the board cards (as opposed to onscreen graphics) wasn't readable.
I noticed several misspellings in the onscreen graphics, e.g. Sean Rice was a poker playerr. As I see this review is turning into a long list of errors and things they did badly, I'll just tell you that the list could go on longer and stop here.
Technically, this is the worst poker broadcast I've ever seen. In fact, it makes me wonder if the people behind it are even committed to producing a quality broadcast. It earns two stars only because it shows every hand, which can be an invaluable educational experience, and they at least attempted to show the hole cards.