It doesn’t seem like six weeks has gone that quickly, but the poker world is on the precipice of arguably its greatest event. The World Series of Poker’s $10,000 World Championship Event – also known as the “Main Event” – will begin on Saturday. For the first time in the history of poker’s premiere tournament, there will be live broadcasting of the event from start to finish over several television and streaming networks.
Beginning on Saturday afternoon at 2PM Eastern Time (11AM Pacific Time), the subscription network PokerGO will catch the “shuffle up and deal” for Day 1A of the event. PokerGO will broadcast the first two hours of the tournament over their means before turning it over to ESPN2 at 4PM. From 4PM to 8PM, ESPN2’s coverage will take over in its “live-delayed” format (all broadcasts will be on a 30-minute delay per Nevada Gaming Control Board stipulations) before turning it back over to the PokerGO folks from 8-9:15PM.
Sunday’s Day 1B has a slight adjustment to the broadcast schedule. From 2PM to 6PM, ESPN2 will take the lead to start the day, with PokerGO picking up the evening schedule from 6PM to 9:15PM. On Monday, Day 1C will be completely in the hands of PokerGO, which will start broadcasting at 2:30PM until 9:15PM Monday night.
The real fun for fans of poker will come after the Day Ones are out of the way. Tuesday will be full of poker, with Day 2A/B being broadcast from 2:30PM to 7:30PM on PokerGO, then switching over to “The Mothership,” ESPN, for the first time during the 2017 schedule. ESPN will carry Day 2A/B from 7:30PM until the start of SportsCenter at 11PM, at which point PokerGO will resume coverage for a half-hour before calling it a night. Wednesday will feature the final Day 2, Day 2C, with coverage from PokerGO (3:30PM-8PM) and ESPN (8PM-10PM).
Thursday’s Day 3 – the first day the entirety of the field will be together – is entirely in the hands of PokerGO, covering Day 3 from 2:30PM until 9:15PM that night. Then it is back to PokerGO and ESPN2 taking coverage on Friday for Day 4, covering nine hours – and that isn’t the longest day yet. After Day 5 (shared coverage between ESPN2, from 2PM to 4PM, and PokerGO from 4PM to 9:15PM), the final two days of the Championship Event will be shown in their entirety. Until they end – on July 16 with roughly 27 players and July 17 with the determination of the final table – ESPN2 will have primetime coverage, which switches over to PokerGO until 3AM each night.
After two days off (July 18-19), ESPN2 and ESPN will handle the broadcast of final table play. Beginning at 9PM on July 20-22, the cameras of ESPN will take viewers from nine players to six to three, ultimately crowning poker’s next World Champion on July 22. For the entirety of the broadcasts, Lon McEachern and Norman Chad will be on the call, with additional help from Kara Scott, while there are a host of top professionals who will be making guest appearances throughout the next two weeks of poker.
“This is poker’s Olympics and we are thrilled that ESPN and PokerGO have joined forces to bring viewers around the globe inside access to our game’s most prestigious event, the WSOP Main Event and the spectacle that it is,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “We can’t wait to get started on July 8 and look forward to sharing this event with a massive audience.”
PokerGO is using the Championship Event broadcasts as a major push for subscribers to its channel. Covering 60+ hours outside of ESPN/ESPN2, PokerGO will offer their service for a $10 yearly discount by using the code SAVE10. Viewers can also sign up just to watch the next couple of weeks by purchasing a monthly pass to PokerGO for a $10 fee (no promo code required).
If you would like to print out the broadcast schedule for the WSOP Championship Event, you can find it here. With ESPN/ESPN2 covering it for 40+ hours and PokerGO for another 60+, there’s plenty of poker for even the most ardent fan and it starts tomorrow.