- Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com
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Six days of the World Series of Poker will be shown in same-day coverage on half-hour tape delay with hole cards shown for the first time, ESPN announced Wednesday.
Days 3 through 8 of the WSOP main event -- scheduled for July 14-19 -- will feature 34 hours of "live" poker on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com featuring unedited play and hole cards.
The 30-minute delay coverage on ESPN2 (and simulcast on ESPN3.com) will only include hole cards postflop. There will be two feature tables, and coverage will shift between the tables every 30 minutes, but any "all-in and call" situations will be included.
The live coverage will precede ESPN's Tuesday night WSOP telecasts, which begin July 26 and run weekly until a main event champion is crowned Nov. 8. Norman Chad and Lon McEachern will remain hosts of the coverage on ESPN.
McEachern and David Tuckman will handle the play-by-play during the six-day run of live poker from the WSOP. Additionally, a rotation of poker players will serve as analysts during that stretch.
"For the first time viewers at home will have the best seats in the house for the World Series of Poker, poker's premier event. Fans will see hole cards postflop and get an inside look at all of the strategy, angst and competition of the world's best players vying for a seat at the most prestigious final table in the sport," said Matthew Volk, ESPN manager of programming and acquisitions.
"This is a historic milestone for ESPN and the WSOP," WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said. "The addition of live event-style coverage with hole cards in July and primetime shows leading up to the crowning of a champion in November provide our fans more access than ever before, and we are extremely proud to be with a company dedicated to realizing the potential of the game."
ESPN also will be broadcasting three additional events from the 2011 WSOP: WSOP Grudge Matches, the $25,000 Heads-Up World Championship and the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship. Those events will be streamed unedited on a five-minute delay on ESPN3.com, but will not feature hole cards. They will be broadcast edited with hole cards on ESPN beginning in late July.
"This is a long-awaited step to get live poker on television, and it represents another good collaboration between Caesars, the WSOP Players Advisory Council and ESPN to create a production format that maintains the integrity of the tournament while giving fans what they want to see," said Barry Greenstein, member of the WSOP Players Advisory Council.
ESPN enhances WSOP coverage plans
Want to watch the WSOP as it unfolds? The WSOP live main event telecast schedule is below. Click on the links to watch the coverage on ESPN3.com.
25mPhil Steele and Will Harris
19hMel Kiper Jr. and Mike Sando
20hMark Schlabach and Sharon Katz