No more November Nine

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No more November Nine

Postby DM101 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:23 pm


In breaking news from Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment officials have decided to do away with the World Series of Poker November Nine. What its replacement will be – if anything – remains to be seen, but WSOP officials posted on Twitter on Tuesday, “A few hints on WSOP schedule coming tomorrow... you won't find the November Nine returning.” The 43rd annual World Series of Poker dates were also released on Tuesday, and the festivities will take place between May 27th and July 16th.

An official announcement about the future of the Main Event, as well as the other tournaments that comprise the WSOP, will be released on Wednesday at 1:00pm ET.

While the 2012 WSOP schedule is not yet known, WSOP officials leaked a few details on Twitter throughout the day on Tuesday. Besides the news that the November Nine would be dropped, Caesars officials posted, “For the 2012 WSOP, an expected 470 poker tables will be utilized... nearly 100 more than last year.” The Amazon Room and Pavilion at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas housed the WSOP in 2011, and the event has been entirely held at the Rio since 2005.

There will be no day off during the 2012 WSOP Main Event. Instead, WSOP officials have vowed to make the entire tournament three days shorter, while at the same time ensuring that structure would in no way be “compromised.” The same WSOP Twitter feed explained, “All days will play the standard 5 levels guaranteed... except potentially the last day. Start play at 12 noon, finish 12:40 am.”

The reasons for the changes could center on the success of ESPN’s recent live coverage of the tournament, which aired on its family of networks on a 15-minute delay in 2011. In an interview with PokerListings in November, Caesars’ Seth Palansky evaluated, “If you’re doing something live, do you really need to delay it four months and try to build this anticipation to get people to watch? It doesn’t quite work.”

The November Nine concept was introduced four years ago in order to build hype for the Main Event’s participants and its final table, which coincided with ESPN’s airing of the tournament on television. In 2011, live coverage of the November Nine appeared to be a hit on the “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” which could embrace the concept even more going forward.

Palansky added in the same PokerListings interview that the live Main Event coverage also gave ESPN more television programming: “Our goal is to, in aggregate, get more eyeballs and that’s the case with the live stream. In our eyes, we added 45 hours of additional WSOP programming on ESPN.” Contrastingly, the 2008, 2009, and 2010 November Nines aired on ESPN in prepackaged episodes.

On TwoPlusTwo, poker players reacted to the loss of the November Nine. One member of the poker community pointed out that a player’s momentum would no longer be stunted if the tournament ended in July: “I think tournaments should be a continual process, and it kind of takes away the momentum if you have to wait 5 months just to finish. For the players and the viewers as well.”

Others questioned whether WSOP officials will actually move the final table back to July, or just alter the November Nine format in some other way. This camp included comments like, “IMO this is just WSOP trying to create buzz via Twitter. It's probably moving the final table to another month besides November.” So, whether we’ll see the “August Nine” remains to be seen.

Black Friday could have also impacted the WSOP’s decision to tweak its Main Event format. With ESPN losing sponsorship dollars from sites like PokerStars, the way poker is presented on television could change in the future. The post-Black Friday poker TV world has seen the loss of shows like GSN’s “High Stakes Poker” and NBC’s “National Heads-Up Poker Championship,” just to name a few.

What we do know is that on July 1st, the WSOP will host The Big One, a $1 million buy-in tournament that is capped at 48 players. A total of $111,111 of each buy-in will be donated to One Drop and the tournament is a bracelet event.

Players who have confirmed their participation in The Big One include One Drop Chairman and founder of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberté, four-time bracelet winner Bobby Baldwin, Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, businessman Andy Beal, and poker pros Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Chan, Tom Dwan, PartyPoker’s Tony G, Jonathan Duhamel, Bertrand ElkY Grospellier, and Dan Shak.

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