While some may be distracted with the activities of Super Bowl Sunday, poker fans will also have plenty to be excited about. Fresh from the ratings success that their Las Vegas World Series broadcasts earned through last summer and fall, ESPN will begin their first ever broadcast of the 2008 World Series of Poker Europe, held at the Casino at the Empire in Leicester Square, London.
While the Super Bowl plays out, ESPN will put up the first four hours of the planned eight hours of WSOPE broadcasting beginning at 6PM Eastern Time. After the first four episodes have run, ESPN sister station ESPN2 will rebroadcast the first two episodes at 10PM and 11PM. ESPN will also continue to feature the broadcast team of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad with the commentary of the action.
The tournament, which was a £10,000 buy in (approximately $20,000 American dollars), was played out for the second time between September 27th and October 1st of last year and drew 362 of the largest names in poker out for the second edition of the event. All were chasing the youngest World Series champion ever, Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad, whose victory at just one day short of nineteen in the 2007 tournament is a record that should stand for some time. In addition to battling each other, there was £3,620,000 in prize money at stake - with £868,800 going to the winner - and the prestigious World Series of Poker bracelet.
As with their broadcasting of the Las Vegas World Series, ESPN breaks down the episodes by what day they were played. In the first episode at 6PM Sunday, Day 1A features former World Champions Phil Hellmuth and Joe Hachem, with other “celebrity” players such as Australian cricket player Shane Warne. The true draw of this hour, though, is the running battle between two of Full Tilt Poker’s best professionals in Phil Ivey and Mike Matusow.
Hour Two is dedicated to Day 1B and the start of Obrestad’s run for a second title. ESPN will focus on how she went from playing online to sitting at the table with some of the most skilled players in the game during this time. Others who will also be featured on the broadcast will be World Champions Doyle Brunson and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, along with Howard Lederer, Phil “The Unabomber” Laak and Antonio Esfandiari.
After these first two hours, the field will be whittled down to the 179 players that survived the action last fall. The next two hours of play will take the viewers all the way to the top 36 players, who earned a minimum of £50,000 for their time on the felt. Featured during the final two hours will be such players as Daniel Negreanu, David “The DevilFish” Ulliot, Vicky Coren and Andy Bloch. This two hour segment will also feature the runs of two of the top online players in the game as Justin “Boosted J” Smith and Chris “Moorman1” Moorman get airtime.
By the time ESPN has finished the eight hour long episodes, a champion will be crowned in one of the most grueling final tables in poker history. Be sure to watch how it all started with ESPN’s historic broadcast of the World Series of Poker Europe starting this Sunday at 6PM Eastern. (Credit: Poker News Daily)
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