ESPN seems to have figured out what the mainstream television audience wants to see: recognizable professionals and massive prize pools.
Even though the decision to cut the televised events down to just three may have rubbed poker players the wrong way, it's ultimately a good thing if it gets more eyeballs on the screen while poker is being played.
The $40k anniversary event, airing tonight, certainly fulfilled the big-money part of the formula but, surprisingly, the final table wasn't exactly brimming with players that will be known to the layperson.
Isaac Haxton has had some TV time, when he finished second to Ryan Daut at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure a few years ago. He was the guy who unluckily transferred his $700,000 in winnings to Neteller the day before they froze all funds.
He had to wait something sick like six months before he got the money back.
Justin Bonomo could be the most recognizable of the online contingent, having made final tables on the WPT, WSOP and EPT. He became the youngest player to make a televised final table when he finished fourth at EPT Deauville in 2005. He was 19.
Dani Stern, known as Ansky online, is super well-known in the high-stakes cash-game world. PokerListings.com first met him over a few beers when he was sharing a flat with Brandon Schaefer at the last EPT event in Budapest, and he's the one we'd have most like to see take this event down.
Alec "traheho" Torelli was an established online winner and made the transition to live tournaments with huge success, finishing second in 2008's $10k Heads-Up event at the WSOP and amassing over $1.3 million in live cashes since 2006.
Lex Veldhuis, in addition to Vitaly Lunkin, made up the second half of the international contingent at this final table. He's apparently got some skills online but the thing we really respect him for is dating Canadian bombshell Evelyn Ng.
Not sure how much that helps at a final table but it's gotta make you feel better about busting out and going home.
Noah "fouruhaters" Schwartz is another player PokerListings.com has had its eye on for a while. He took down the Sunday Million a few years ago and has since had an awesome track record both online and live.
He also had a great online name, "Noahstredamus," which is enough to make us like him.
For a full rundown of all the action from the $40k event check out the live updates we did from the WSOP in Las Vegas in June.
The episode airs this evening at 8 p.m. ET.