Since 2017, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has been livestreaming the Main Event final table, bringing the action to poker fans and spectators at home in real time. But that changed in 2020 due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 WSOP Main Event took place as a hybrid live-online event which featured a live final table for both the domestic and international portions. The heads-up finale between the winners of both legs was also held live at The Rio.
However, there was no available live video coverage for any of those final tables due to production and scheduling difficulties, though WSOP.com was able to keep fans in the loop about the latest updates through hand-by-hand reporting on its website.
The poker community can finally witness the actual action during the 2020 WSOP Main Event final tables via edited broadcasts which will be made available exclusively on ESPN2 starting February 28. This is reminiscent of the old editions of the festival when tape-delayed TV releases were the thing. The ESPN has been the official broadcast partner of the WSOP for 19 years now.
Poker fans will enjoy four hours of action, covering the highlights of the US and international final tables, culminating in the live heads-up battle between domestic winner Joseph Hebert and international victor Damian Salas.
Lou McEachern and Jamie Kerstetter To Commentate
Viewers can also expect some changes when it comes to the commentary format. They won’t be seeing the popular tandem of Lou McEachern and Norman Chad as this time around, McEachern will be joined by poker pro Jamie Kerstetter in the broadcast booth. Additionally, the edited program will only air on ESPN2.
The special finale will occupy significant airtime as it was an intense battle involving over 170 hands. In the end, it was Salas who took home the 2020 WSOP Main Event title, alongside $2.55 million in total winnings. Hebert also left the Rio as a millionaire, turning his $300 satellite ticket into more than $1.55 million for his runner-up finish.
Tim Bunnel, senior VP for programming and acquisitions at ESPN, said they’re delighted that they are still able to provide another fantastic WSOP broadcast to their audience despite the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bunnel assured fans that the action “remains captivating” despite major changes to the format. The WSOP’s Ty Stewart is equally happy about being able to deliver new content with exciting storylines and action to poker fans worldwide.