Changes Coming for WSOP November Nine?

The Penn and Teller Theater
The 2010 WSOP Main Event final table.

Could the November Nine era at the WSOP Main Event be coming to a close within the next few years?

With the 2011 Main Event final table set to take place later this week, WSOP Communications Director Seth Palansky told PokerListings there have already been talks about tweaking the format.

Palansky pointed to the live coverage ESPN provided for the WSOP Main Event this summer as a potential game-changer.

ESPN offered 45 hours of live coverage at the 2011 WSOP Main Event and it appeared to be a runaway success with avid poker fans.

“If you’re doing something live do you really need to delay it four months and try to build this anticipation to get people to watch?” he said. “It doesn’t quite work.”

Since being introduced in 2008 the November Nine has seen three Main Event final tables delayed for three months in order to promote the event, increase ratings and give players a chance to secure sponsorship.

Prior to 2008 the Main Event final table was played without interruption.

“We’re committed to it but I think what we learned over the summer with the live and taped programming is that we’re going to have to revisit the concept after this November,” clarified Palansky.

The three-month delay format seems to have caught on with several other poker tours, most notably the Partouche Poker Tour in France. It’s not a trend the WSOP wants to see continue.

“We’re not happy to see other organizations try to steal the name and concept,” he said.

While the WSOP live stream this summer has been touted as an overwhelming success. It’s not completely without flaws. For one, it may hurt the viewership for the final polished broadcast episodes on ESPN.

“We’re still analyzing the numbers but it’s clear there is some cannibalization, which is expected,” said Palansky. “Our goal is to – in aggregate – get more eyeballs and that’s the case with the live stream. In our eyes we added 45 hours of additional WSOP programming on ESPN.”

The 2011 WSOP November Nine, which features Martin Staszko, Eoghan O’Dea, Matt Giannetti, Phil Collins, Ben Lamb, Badih Bou-Nahra, Pius Heinz, Anton Makiievskyi and Sam Holden is set to take place this weekend Nov. 6-8.

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