WSOP Final Table Broadcast Airs on ESPN

On Tuesday night, two and a half hours of coverage on ESPN saw the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table play out. What took place over three days in real-time saw Joe Cada become the youngest Main Event winner ever and earn $8.5 million.

The opening sequence focused on Phil Ivey, with announcer Lon McEachern inquiring, “Is he the one?” Comments from poker pros Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Doyle Brunson aired before McEachern and Norman Chad recapped the chip counts. Cada started with just 7% of the chips in play, setting up an unlikely title run.

In one of the first hands shown, Jeff Shulman raised to 1.25 million with pocket fives with his coach, Phil Hellmuth, looking on and Ivey shoved for 8.7 million with pocket kings. Cada folded pocket tens and Shulman got out of the way as well, giving Ivey the pot. The media on-hand at the Penn and Teller Theater in Las Vegas thought Cada had queens and Ivey guessed the youngster had jacks.

After tripling up with K-Q against Eric Buchman, Brit James Akenhead was eliminated in ninth place after running pocket threes into Kevin Schaffel’s pocket nines. Schaffel rivered a boat before falling in eighth place with aces against Buchman’s kings. Buchman turned quads in the hand and ousted Schaffel from the Main Event. In real-time, players headed to dinner break when play was seven-handed and Mike Sexton became the newest inductee of the Poker Hall of Fame.

In a hand that had the crowd abuzz at the Rio, logger Darvin Moon raised to 1.3 million with K-Q and Steven Begleiter made it 3.9 million with A-Q of spades. The flop came 3-4-2 with two spades, giving Begleiter flush and straight draws and a 93% edge. Begleiter led out for 5.35 million, Moon raised to 15 million, and Begleiter shoved for his last six million. Despite getting over 7:1 on a call, Moon folded and falsely told his wife that he had queens and put Begleiter on A-K suited. At the time, Poker News Daily correctly reported that Moon held K-Q for what Chad dubbed “nuclear squadoosh.”

Cada doubled up Shulman to send his chip stack plummeting to just five big blinds. Frenchman Antoine Saout then blazed a trail of his own, doubling through Begleiter after turning a flush. The hand gave Saout the chip lead and then the assembled crowd in Las Vegas watched Ivey fall by the wayside in seventh after Moon’s A-Q bested the Full Tilt pro’s A-K. Chad, who perennially picks Ivey to win the Main Event, joked, “We’re going to need a medic to the broadcast booth.” Moon then sent Begleiter packing once again with A-Q, this time against pocket queens.

Cada spiked a set to double through Shulman before the latter fell at the hands of Saout after losing a race with pocket sevens against A-9. However, Saout would give a chunk of his stack to Buchman, who held pocket aces on a board of 2-10-3 when Saout flopped top pair with Q-10. Moon sent Buchman to the rails after drawing out with K-J of diamonds against Buchman’s A-5.

Cada flopped another set with a small pair against Saout when his pocket twos overcame Saout’s pocket queens to send his stack to 80 million. Then, Saout dropped in third place after his pocket eights fell on the river to Cada’s A-K. In an improbable run, Cada went from holding five big blinds to boasting 136 million chips heads-up against Moon. McEachern exclaimed, “That did not just happen.”

Motley Crue front man Vince Neil gave the “Shuffle Up and Deal” command to begin heads-up play and Moon quickly regained the chip lead. However, the youngster doubled up after calling for his tournament life with J-9 on a board of 10-5-9-10. Moon showed 8-7 for an open-ended straight draw, which missed when a three hit on the river. In the final hand of the 2009 WSOP Main Event, Cada’s pocket nines withstood Moon’s Q-J, giving the heads-up online poker specialist a monumental win and the tag of youngest Main Event winner ever, breaking Peter Eastgate’s one year reign.

Here were the paydays from the 2009 WSOP Main Event:

1. Joe Cada – $8,546,435
2. Darvin Moon – $5,182,601
3. Antoine Saout – $3,479,485
4. Eric Buchman – $2,502,787
5. Jeff Shulman – $1,953,395
6. Steven Begleiter – $1,587,133
7. Phil Ivey – $1,404,002
8. Kevin Schaffel – $1,300,228
9. James Akenhead – $1,263,602

Those who did not set their DVRs or Tivos to record more than two hours, the scheduled time that ESPN allotted for the WSOP Main Event, did not catch heads-up play. This irritated many viewers, one of whom posted on Poker News Daily, “With the [DVR] set to record the final table coverage I returned to enjoy a thrilling night of poker. The game was still playing at the two hour mark when the recording stopped. Another WSOP on ESPN disappointment. Again I know who won without seeing the coverage on TV.” ESPN’s “SportsCenter” aired at 11:30pm ET.

On the extra 30 minutes of coverage, an ESPN representative told Poker News Daily, “We went late to serve the sports fans tuned into the much-anticipated event that has been on their calendars for a long time. We regret that those Tivo’ing it were unable to see the ending, but we’ll be replaying it in the weeks to come.”

Check your local listings for details.

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This wasn’t a live show of American Idol. ESPN and in my case Direct TV knew this was going to be over 2 hours but didn’t change the programing? What year is this? I felt like I was using a VCR last night instead of a DVR. When I record a show I expect the show not 2 hours of the show. I was pissed!



I’m with you Doug. When the taping ended after 2 hours, there were 3 players. Where can we see the end of play without knowing the outcome?


I have watched this series for years and really enjoy it. Was really disappointed when I found I had missed the end because my DVR shut down too. What I really don’t like is the fact that the reruns of the poker series don’t always come in order and I can’t find the one I missed A better description of what is showing would be nice. I am disappointed that I don’t get to see the final table finish before it is all over the net. I feel like I wasted many hours of watching something only to have someone tell me the end of the movie just before I go to watch it.


I agree with Doug,
I work the 4-12 shift I depend on the DVR to record things as stated. BUT I guess I should be use to this by now none of the major sports give a damm about anyone that can’t sit down and watch there programs like the 9-5ers.

Art Manville

This was a travesty and I really don’t know how ESPN could screw up so bad. After months of watching and waiting for the final table, we get screwed out of the ending as our DVR cut off. The least they can do is show the entire replay ASAP.


For most events now on Tivo like races or games, the DVR will say “do you want to add 30 minutes on this broadcast”. Nice touch, TOO BAD IT DIDN’T COME UP FOR THIS EVENT! WAKE UP ESPN!


Way to go ESPN, just for that I hereby swear I will never EVER buy any Jack Link’s Beef Jerky…

Jason Kauflin

For the 2nd year in a row, all of my poker buddies met to watch the final telecast. I made sure everything else was cancelled on my DVR for the night so there were no conflicts. I made sure there wasn’t more than the 2 hr block on ESPN, so we should have been fine.

We started watching at about 8:45pm. I even went as far as to NOT fast forward through the commercials so we wouldn’t know how much time was left so there would be some suspense to how much longer it would take to crown the champ. By the time we hit the end of the recording, it was around 10:45 and Sportscenter was already on.

When that thing cut off with 3 players left I was in a FUCKING STATE OF SHOCK. Ten guys sitting in a room…beers, snacks….and then that complete disappointment. My god, it was one of the worst things I have ever seen.


Are you going to re-air the final table or what? Put a video up something~~ You all were able to leak out who won and who made the table, but no warning that it ran over??
RE AIR IT at least


I went out of my way to avoid all poker media so I would be surprised by the results. 2:01 show stops. 2:02 I am searching the web to find the rest of the show. 2:02:10 I know who won but still can’t find the &$%^@ video of it. LAME!!

We have cell phones the size of your thumb, high definition TV, lasers, etc. but ESPN can’t update a schedule by 30 min for a show THEY created. Nice work ESPN!!


I experienced the same disappointment as everyone else here; mine actually stopped mid-hand with four people left, so I assume someone busted out in that hand. I sequestered myself as best as possible so not to hear who won, but I had to find out how to see the end so I searched the Internet for the schedule. I found a site that was dated in April, and just showed the announcement of the full schedule, and could see that it was supposed to be over on the 10th (not a two parter) and was schedued for two hours. As I was scratching my head, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a headline for another story on the webiste which, guess what, told me who the winner was. I am just unbelievably pissed off.

It was bad enough ESPN kept advertising during the earlier stages that Ivy was in the November 9, which really took away the tension whenever he was all-in before the final table, but now, even if I can watch the whole show, I already know who won, so the whole thing is ruined. The main event is really the most exciting thing on TV to me, I yell and applaud louder than any Super Bowl Sunday lunatic on the big hands, so this really is totally devasting. And its not like there was 2 and a half hours of solid play to squeeze in, there was a bunch of backgrounds, interviews, etc that could have been cut to fit it within the 2 hours. ESPN just sucks!


Yes, this was ridiculous. My TiVo cut the recording at 2hrs, I wend online to see when they’ll be re-airing it (since the guide data continued to say that the thursday and monday re-airs would also be 2hrs), and inadvertently saw who won…

At least I could watch the final on, but the fun was already spoiled.


According to 2+2, Lon sent an email to the moderator in mid OCTOBER that it would run long…exactly how does ESPN not have time to fix the scheduled showing times with a MONTH to spare?

“Regarding the shows – very important for your 2+2’ers and DVR users: Due to us getting caught with our pants down last year with such a great heads-up match and little time to air it, the Final Table show will be longer than 2 hours! How much longer? We don’t know, but we will do 2 hours on 9 players -2, and the network has given us an open window for heads-up. Whatever the producers decide on site will be the length. So 2 hours plus the chosen heads-up hands. Don’t expect an extra hour but we are looking at some extra time so set your DVR’s accordingly.
Hope this helps the poker community. Enjoy.”


i was obv pissed .I found espns contact info and sent them a scathing email. Unfortunately at the end a autoresponse said we value your input but due to high the high volume of emails we recieve daily there is no way we can read or respond to all submissions…what a joke Well who do they have to answer to … thats right no one

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