POKER PROductions to Present New-Look WSOP

Chris Moneymaker vs. Sammy Farha
The new so-called "Thunderdome" at the 2011 WSOP.

Every year the World Series of Poker attracts thousands players, wallet-crippling prop bets and big name celebrities.

This year that entire experience will be captured and produced by POKER PROductions.

For years, the WSOP was produced for ESPN by the New York based production company, 441 Productions.

Aside from the WSOP, 441 Productions has produced non-poker shows like HBO’s Making the Cut, Champions of the NCAA and VH1’s Heavy: The History of Heavy Metal.

But this year the Las Vegas-based POKER PROductions has won the contract to cover the WSOP and they’ve decided to take an entirely new approach to producing the biggest poker series on the planet.

The company is trying to change people’s perspective on televised poker by focusing on the main reason people watch poker in the first place.  

“We know that the number one reason that people watch poker is to learn,” said Dan Gati, the Vice-President of Production at POKER PROductions.

“And once word gets out that the shows are a little different than in years past, we hope younger and casual viewers come back.”

Founded by former poker professional Mori Eskandani, POKER PROductions has specialized in televised poker since its birth in 2003.

If you’re a junkie for televised poker then you’ve probably seen one of their shows. 

POKER PROductions is the company behind NBC’s Poker After Dark, NBC’s National Heads-Up Championship, GSN’s High Stakes Poker and the World Series of Poker – Europe. It’s safe to say that they know what they’re doing.

But now they’re faced with producing the largest and most prestigious poker tournament in the world. They’ve already impressed the masses with their monumental final stage and intend on doing the same with their coverage this year.

Kara Scott
Kara Scott

One of the ways that POKER PROductions plans on doing so is by adding more in-depth hand analysis. For that, they have a new secret weapon, Kara Scott.

“Kara is great on-camera and knows poker as well, or better, than some of the players we’ll see,” Gati said.

There will also be a featured segment in every show where a well-known pro will provide his or her opinion and instant analysis of a key hand.

POKER PROductions will also go deeper into players’ lives.

“We’ve hired a producer who will exclusively track featured players and interview them at home,” said Gati. “We want to see these players in a different environment, away from the Rio.”

They hope these changes will help re-ignite viewer interest in the WSOP. Last year, ratings for the WSOP dropped and some fans felt coverage was starting to get stale.

We’ve already had a sample of what’s to come with their coverage.

The $25,000 Heads-Up Championship was broadcast live on on a 5-minute delay. There, lots of attention was focused on Jake Cody’s monumental Triple Crown win and his boisterous rail.

“The drama and the excitement was incredible,” said Gati. “It will be a great two shows to put together.”

If you missed the live coverage, the two shows featuring Jake Cody and the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship will air August 2 on ESPN.

But you won’t have to wait that long to see more televised poker from the 2011 WSOP. POKER PROductions is also going to provide live coverage for the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and Main Event.

Here POKER PROductions is entering uncharted territory.

Starting from Day 3 of the Main Event, viewers will be able to see live coverage of the main event including hole cards.

That coverage will start on July 14 with a 30-minute delay on

Stay tuned.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas be sure to check PokerListings’ Live Updates and News.

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