Many in the poker community were skeptical when the final table of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event was pushed back from July to November a couple years ago.  So far, it seems to have worked, and one great thing about it is that it allowed the WSOP to stay in the public’s consciousness for a much longer than it would have had the Main Event schedule never been changed.
The November Nine was determined less than two weeks ago, but already ESPN is set to broadcast the first of three and a half months of 2010 World Series of Poker programming Tuesday night.  So, just when we thought we were done reading about the 2010 WSOP, it’s going to be on television every week, and likely replayed many, many times.
ESPN’s WSOP coverage will begin with the $50,000 Players Championship, airing at 8:00pm ET.  The tournament debuted in 2006 as the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, with the late Chip Reese defeating Andy Bloch in a marathon heads-up match that saw the sun rise on a new day before it was over.  The event saw its numbers steadily decrease over the next three years, partly because of the prohibitive buy-in during rough economic times, partly because ESPN stopped televising it – the latter gave those on the fence about playing a reason to sit out.  Therefore, this year it was revamped, with three games added to the original five and the name changed to the Players Championship.  Something worked, as the field increased 22 percent, from 95 to 116 players.
The Players Championship final table was easily one of the strongest at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  Three of the players that will be seen on the broadcast tonight will finish in the top five in the 2010 WSOP Player of the Year standings.  Michael Mizrachi is the one in fifth place and he still has a chance to tie for the top spot on the Player of the Year leader board if he ends up winning the Main Event.  Two more players are in the top 20, and that still doesn’t include two of the strongest players in the world – David Oppenheim and Daniel Alaei.
The overriding story of this event, though, is that two brothers – Michael and Robert Mizrachi – ended up competing against each other at the final table.  Emotions must have surely been mixed with the two of them, as well as their friends and family, as both wanted to win, but both probably didn’t truly want to see the other eliminated.  At least one had to be knocked out, though, and while we have written about the results of the tournament on this site, we won’t spoil it for you here in case you didn’t read about it yet.
As mentioned earlier, tonight’s broadcast is just the start of three and a half months of weekly 2010 WSOP programming on ESPN.  The complete ESPN television schedule for the WSOP is below, with new episodes airing on Tuesday nights.  All times are Eastern.

  • July 27: Players Championship, 8:00pm
  • August  3: Tournament of Champions, 8:00pm – 10:00pm
  • August  10 – August  17: Main event, 8:00pm – 10:00pm
  • August 24 – November  9: Main event, 9:00pm – 11:00pm

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