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Televised Poker History Made with Live PCA Final Table

16 January 2011, By: compncards
Galen Hall 251x300
Galen Hall 251x300

For the first time in the history of televised poker, ESPN2 on Saturday ran the final table of a major event live when they ran the PCA Main Event complete with hole cards.

This was a stark change from past attempts at running an event live on the internet.  There were no delays in the broadcast and we actually got to see the entire match.

Sadly, there weren't any big names at this final table to draw in casual fans, but with that said, the broadcast was still very memorable.  The poker was fairly entertaining to watch and we got to see a great heads-up match between Galen Hall and Chris Oliver.

Oliver had a monster chip lead at the start of heads-up play and Hall sat back and played a solid patient game until he got in a cooler situation against Oliver.  Then, shortly afterwards,  Hall picked up pocket queens and was able to take the chip lead when Oliver decided to commit with A-9.

The final hand was actually a suckout by Hall when his A-8 outran the pocket queens of Oliver.  Hall walked away with $2.3 Million while Oliver walked away with a not-too-shabby $1.8 Million.

While this historic final table was entertaining to watch as a poker fan, there are still a few things that I would like to see changed between now and the next time they do this.

1. Please learn how to randomize you commercials.  At the start of EVERY commercial break there was a commercial for PokerStars Home Games.  And 6 out of 7 times, it was the same one. I started calling this the PokerStars Repeating Commercial Torture Technique.  I am sure that some viewers are contemplating therapy after this.

2. Can we please stop stroking egos?  Yes, Daniel Negreanu is a great player, and it is fine to mention it once or in a way that isn't blatant ego stroking.  For example, if they were to say this is Joe Blow and 4-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu, that is fine, but there were multiple times where they went on and on about Daniel and his accomplishments. Also, during one of the breaks when they were talking about greatest moments of 2010 in poker, David Williams had to plug his win at the WPT World Championship.  If they are going to be analysts, let them be analysts.  Give them props sure, but don't sit there for 5 minutes gushing about how great they are.

3. Who was managing the sound on this program?  Lon McEachern sounded like he was talking from a hole and there were several other times during the broadcast that we just sat there and went "seriously?"  For example, Oliver had a cold and multiple times blew his nose into the mic.  Don't those things have mute buttons? The same goes for the commentary crew.  There were a couple of times where we could hear conversations that should have been muted, such as James Hartigan telling backstage that their monitor was down.

4. More features are needed for the casual fan.  I think that other than the break segments with Lon McEachern and David Williams, there were two or three interviews over the course of the entire program.  No stories, interviews with players, or anything that might keep the fans interested. Live poker is somewhat boring unless you are totally a diehard fan.  More features are needed should they hope to draw in more fans.

Personally, I did enjoy the program overall, but at the same time I wonder if this is something that ratings will sustain.  If the program is tweaked, it very well might, but as it stands right now, I don't see anyone but true diehard fans tuning in.

Hopefully they will as I would rather that this historic night isn't just a "footnote" but rather the beginning of a new trend in televised poker.

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