[toc]Summer is blockbuster season at the movie theaters, but PokerGO unveiled poker’s version of an all-star cast when it announced its line-up of announcers for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) livestreaming coverage. In addition to basically every top poker broadcaster, the slate also features three of the most popular names in the game.
McEachern and Chad anchoring WSOP livestreams
If you watched any of PokerGO’s coverage of the One Drop High Roller bracelet event, you saw the changes from last year’s in-house WSOP coverage. The livestream has the production value of the ESPN broadcast. There are roving cameras, sideline reports from Tatjana Pasalic, and a break desk anchored by David Tuchman and a rotating cast of pros.
That is right, Tuchman is out of the booth after five years leading the stream. Instead, the ESPN poker team of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad are calling the action. The pair frequently have booth guests. For One Drop, the pros who popped in included Phil Hellmuth, Phil Galfond, Max Steinberg, and Jason Les.
Livestream schedule drawing criticism
When the stream is on, it is fantastic. However, the frequency of livestreams is drawing a fair share of criticism on social media. Instead of covering every event on one stream or another, PokerGO opted for a limited schedule. Here is the full list of remaining events:
- $10,000 Heads Up
- $1,500 No Limit Hold’em 6-Max
- $1,500 Millionaire Maker
- $3,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Max
- $10,000 H.O.R.S.E
- $1,000 No Limit Hold’em (Seniors)
- $5,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Max
- $10,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Max
- $5,000 No Limit Hold’em
- $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha 6-Max
- $1,500 No Limit Hold’em
- $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha
- $5,000 No Limit Hold’em
The good news is PokerGO does seem willing to call a couple of audibles. For example, Daniel Negreanu is heads-up with Abe Mosseri for the $10,000 Omaha hi-lo event. After missing Negreanu’s first final table of the summer in the $10,000 Tag Team event, PokerGO decided to stream it.
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 7, 2017
Even with the additional stream, there are still many poker fans frustrated by the one-two punch of the subscription cost of $10/month and a limited schedule. Several pros, like Jon Turner, voiced their frustrations on Twitter. The biggest criticism was a predominance of no-limit hold’em with very few mixed games. A big omission was the $50,000 Poker Players Championship event.
— Jon Turner (@PearlJammed) June 2, 2017
PokerGO going big with ESPN Main Event coverage
One thing you cannot criticize PokerGO about is a lack of star power. The livestream crew seems impressive, but the Main Event coverage takes it to the next level.
Chad and McEachern anchor the action for the Main Event coverage. This year, there will be same-day coverage of the entire event available on ESPN and Poker Central. Kara Scott will anchor the break desk and report on the sidelines, as she has in past years. Joe Stapleton, who calls the action for Poker Night in America and PokerStars live events, will report from the sideline as well.
Joining Scott on the break desk will be Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, two of the biggest names in the game. If that is not enough, Antonio Esfandiari will be in the booth providing color commentary.
Finally, for those who enjoyed PokerGO’s Super High Roller Bowl coverage, Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman will handle the booth duties for any additional coverage that goes on PokerGO, but not ESPN.
The product is clearly setting a high bar for quality. Now to see if the audience is willing to pay for the premium in limited quantity.
Photo courtesy of Joe Giron/Poker Central