Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

ESPN Creates Poker Drama, Then Spoils It For Everyone

Illustration for article titled ESPN Creates Poker Drama, Then Spoils It For Everyone

ESPN has spent months building up to tonight's broadcast of the final table of the World Series of Poker. They even convinced organizers to take an unprecedented 117-day break before settling the final table so that they could broadcast a "plausibly live" show tonight, just hours after the champion was decided. It was an incredible effort to turn an extremely tedious and dull spectator sport into a dramatic TV event—until Josh Elliott gave away the whole thing on SportsCenter this morning. World Series of Poker broadcasts have typically aired months after the actual event took place, after producers have had time to edit the contest down to only its most essential and interesting moments. Unfortunately, that means poker fans have known the outcome of the contest long before it shows up on television. So ESPN came up with the ingenious idea to delay the playing of the final table, air all the coverage leading up to it, then finish the whole thing off in one glorious burst. Play resumed on Sunday, as they pared the final nine down to the final two. Those two then went head-to-head last night in a four-hour showdown, which will be broadcast (in highlight form) tonight on the WWL. Of course, even though this was a year-long made-for-TV event, ESPN is still a news organization so they did feel it was necessary to report the winner to anyone who might care. (Even if anyone who cares probably doesn't want to know until tonight.) If only someone had told Josh Elliott that SportsCenter is not broadcast on radio, his spoiler warning might have been a little more effective. Those waiting for Josh's "high sign" to resume watching probably also noticed the graphic that gives the store away. Again, DO NOT CLICK on this video if you don't want to know who won, but do click if you enjoy the charming bungling of Bristol's finest. WSOP Final Table (SPOILERS @ Casino City Times)

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