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Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Not Enough?

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

Imagaine the following scenario:

A bunch of television executives, wearing pricey three-piece suits and sitting around a spacious 54th-floor office, are discussing ways to make more money for their TV network.

“There’s not enough poker on television,” one exec exclaims. “Viewers like to watch poker. Poker makes us money. Let’s put more poker on!”

“Brilliant idea,” the other execs chime in. “More poker! More profits!”

Believe it or not, something like the above must have happened recently in the executive offices of cable sports network ESPN, because the network announced this week that it will be televising next month’s second annual World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) from London, England.

Not enough poker on television?

Apparently that’s what the ESPN suits believe, because in addition to all the hours of TV coverage the network has annually devoted to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) from Las Vegas, ESPN will now be televising eight hours of action from the WSOPE.

ESPN did not televise a single minute of action from the inaugural WSOPE in 2007.

But, with the popularity of the WSOP on TV in recent years and the good ratings it achieves, ESPN wanted even more of the poker pie and will now try to achieve ratings success from across the pond. ESPN has not yet announced specific details of what exactly it will televise from next month’s WSOPE, but since the WSOPE consists of just four events, it’s likely all four will get airtime.

The lion’s share of the airtime, however, is expected to go toward televising the WSOPE Main Event, the WSOPE’s fourth and final event, a no-limit, Texas hold ‘em tournament with a buy-in of 10,000 British pounds (about $20,000).

ESPN’s decision to televise this year’s WSOPE was likely influenced by the drama that occurred at last year’s inaugural WSOPE Main Event, which was won by a Norwegian teenager, Annette Obrestad.

At age 18, she was the youngest person ever to win a WSOP or WSOPE event, and ESPN wasn’t there to televise it.

The guys wearing the three-piece suits in that big upper-story office don’t want to miss the boat again.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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