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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sin and The Delayed Final Table

Since my last confession, I have played zero hands of online (play money as far as you know) poker.

Although I have been tempted, the urge hasn't been all that strong. It was greatest on Tuesday night, when I arrived home about four minutes before the start of the Skillz Series. But then I remembered that I have a computer with Windows [censored] XP which takes at least five minutes to start up and that Full Tilt doesn't allow late signups. Plus, it was Razz. Eww.


So, rather than continuing my efforts to redefine the term FAIL as it applies to poker, I've been doing other stuff. One thing I've "accomplished" is going through all unread posts I had in Bloglines.

A hot topic of discussion around the poker blog and message board -ospheres is Caesars' decision to delay the playing of the final table at this year's WSOP. It's pretty much been discussed to death and nobody really wants my thoughts ... but I'll give them anyway.

In my (fairly humble) opinion, the delayed final table will go down as a short-lived experiment, something like playing the final table outdoors on Fremont Street. It's an interesting idea that isn't going to produce the hoped-for results. The goal is to boost ESPN ratings. The problem is that the delay doesn't really change the TV product at all - it will still be tape delayed. Results will be available in advance via the magic of the internet. Anyone with any level of interest will know how things turn out. The only difference vis-a-vis the existing product is that there will be a shorter lag between the action and the broadcast. So what? Unless you reduce that lag to something very close to zero you aren't going have the element of suspense that seems to me to be necessary to juice the ratings. ESPN and/or Caesars will decide that the results aren't worth the expense and will kill it.

[Edited. Thanks to the Luckbox for pointing out that the lag isn't going to be much - only a day or so. I don't think it changes my opinion, though. I will be surprised if ratings for the final table are appreciably higher than for the rest of ESPN's broadcasts - the delay is more likely, IMO, to cause people not already watching the coverage to forget about the WSOP than is it to make those same people anticipate the conclusion. Then again, I've been wrong before.]

Two year lifespan, max.

Speaking of killing, I wonder what the odds are of one of the final table participants dying during the delay. I'd have to think that they're pretty long - I'd say at least 2,500 to 1 - but shorter than they would otherwise be (statistically) because of the money at stake and because of the scumbags that hang on the peripheries of the game.

Hmmm, there are an awful lot of possibilities for prop bets with this final table delay. Odds that one of the final tablers is discovered during the gap to be a cheating online multi-accounter? 15 to 1. A final tabler outed during the gap as a recovering sex offender who whistles show tunes to his cats every morning? 285,000 to 1.

The possibilities are endless.

Tonight is the Riverchasers, 9 PM Full Tilt pw riverchasers as always. I have no idea what the game is. I may or may not be there, depending on whether my mood improves (currently: pissy), I make any progress cleaning carpets and if the game isn't fRazz.

1 comment:

Luckbox said...

The dealy will be just a day or two. The final table plays down to 2 on Nov. 9th. The heads up match happens on Nov. 10th. The finale airs on Nov. 11th.

Not zero... but close to zero.