The 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) which is scheduled to commence from 30 May is the most popular poker tournament in the world and attracts the top poker players from across the globe who compete in the month and half long poker tournament. While the WSOP has made small changes in the past to its format, it has usually followed a standard format of being held at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada and having its popular WSOP Main Event Final Table taking place in November.
November Nine Concept Dropped
The WSOP Main Event is by far the most popular and lucrative event in the entire tournament and towards the end of the WSOP Main Event, the final 9 players are taken out and given a break till November. These 9 players are commonly referred to as the November Niners as they battle it out to determine the winner of the Main Event who is then crowned in the month of November.
The WSOP recently announced that it was making a number of changes to the 2017 WSOP edition in an attempt to draw more attention to the tournament, attract more players and increase its television ratings. The biggest change that has been announced as of now is that the WSOP has decided to drop its November Nine concept and remove the three month waiting period that it usually provided to the 9 finalists. This time around the WSOP Main Event finalists will get a two day break before they battle it out to determine who the 2017 WSOP Main Event Champion.
Poker Central & ESPN Team Up
The WSOP also announced that Poker Central has taken over the digital media and global television rights. Poker Central and ESPN have entered into an agreement whereby the two companies will oversee original broadcasting and live television programming throughout 2017. The agreement will be in place till 2020 and will see ESPN broadcasting same day coverage from Day 1 of the WSOP Main Event till the event is concluded and a champion is crowned.
WSOP executive director Ty Stewart was happy that the company could extend its partnership with ESPN for another four years as the two companies have been in partnership since 2002. Stewart stated that the new daily live coverage of the WSOP Main Event by ESPN and Poker Central would be greatly appreciated by poker fans who would now be able to view end to end coverage of the WSOP Main Event.
Poker Central was also happy to collaborate with ESPN and take over the official broadcasting rights of the WSOP. In a statement, JR McCabe, chief digital officer Poker Central said “We are thrilled to add the preeminent poker brand, the World Series of Poker, to our growing portfolio of poker-related content. We have major plans to reinvent the WSOP offering to greatly expand how, when and where fans of the game of poker can watch and engage with the game”.
WSOP Main Event Winner – Crowned In July
The WSOP stars on May 30 and finishes on 17 July – which means the WSOP Main Event winner will be crowned in July. Day 1 of the WSOP Main Event will commence from July 8 and is expected to conclude on July 17 with the final nine players being finalized.
They will get a 48 hour respite before they once again reassemble at the WSOP Main Event final table and battle it out on July 20 till three players are eliminated. The remaining six players will show up on July 21 and compete till there are just three players left.  The final three players will compete on July 22 till the Main Event winner is determined. The majority of the WSOP Main Event broadcasting will be done via ESPN and ESPN2, with Poker Central broadcasting on selective days.
Poker Central is putting together a detailed list of live streaming scheduling which the company is expected to release shortly before the 2017 WSOP commences in May.
WSOP expects the new changes and format to provide a further boost in popularity and coverage to the WSOP. The company is expected to reveal some of the other changes to the tournament in the coming weeks.