Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ADHD Onscreen (A WSOP Europe Review)

* The World Series of Poker Europe is one of the worst poker broadcasts I've ever seen. Consider my experience watching the first episode. The episode was mostly about Phil Hellmuth, but when they did show some poker... what was I watching? They didn't tell me (it turned out to be day 1a of the Main Event). They also never told me who the players at the featured table were, what their chip stacks were, or how much the blinds and antes were.

The show has perhaps the worst case of ADHD I've ever seen. Sit still for a minute! They're constantly flitting from table to table to show bustouts or the end of big hands. It's impossible to cover an entire tournament well: the number of hands off the featured table they show should be zero. When they're not flitting, they're interrupting the poker with non-poker content. I don't watch a poker show to hear Dave Ulliot telling jokes or Robert Williamson telling me how to fold. The number of nonpoker segments they show should also be zero (I might make an exception for brief biographical bits). This show is more a collection of unconnected clips than it is the story of the featured table.

Occasionally they do show a hand from the featured table, and it usually involves one or more high pocket pairs. They don't show the action onscreen, and there isn't competent play-by-play to make up for it. You may not even know if a player raised or called, let alone the amount. They don't show most of the hole cards either.

I've written extensively about the problems with WSOP telecasts in the past, and this show pretty much fits the mold. The production has no redeeming feature, other than that it covers an important event. If you feel the need to watch it, I recommend you watch only the last two or three episodes, which feature the eventual champion.

You can download or stream the World Series of Poker Europe from the usual places.

2 comments:

  1. The 2008 WSOP Europe was somewhat improved from the first one, but it still isn't good: they've made it about the same as the US WSOP broadcasts. You can read my opinions on those shows here. The best thing they could do would be to follow one table or player through the tournament. By trying to cover everything they cover nothing well.

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  2. A few comments on the final table of the 2008 WSOP Europe:
    - It did benefit from showing most of the hole cards, which the WSOP doesn't do. I did, however, see one bleeding chunk of a hand (where they only show the end of a hand).
    - They couldn't play it straight: there was no mention that this took place during the 4-month hiatus of the WSOP Main Event, when Demidov had made the final table but not yet played it.
    - At least they showed the passage of time during the long heads-up battle, which is better than pretending they aren't leaving out a huge number of hands.

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