ESPN has announced that they will once again offer live coverage of the World Series of Poker Main Event's Final Table live on Pay-Per-View on Tuesday, July 17th. From what I have gathered, the broadcast will be similar to last year's with Ali Nejad and Phil Gordon giving us the play by play and color commentary. Added to the broadcast this year is a "sideline" reporter who will be dropping in from time to time with interviews of the players' family, friends and fans. This year's broadcast will also be more interactive than last year's show as ESPN will also include surveys via text message and Q and A sessions where viewers from home will be able to e-mail questions to Ali and Phil to have them answered live on the air. According to www.directv.com, the event is being offered for $19.95 (I would assume the other cable providers will be offering the PPV at the same price) and will start at 3:00PM EST...that's 2:00PM CST for us Chicago folk.
I watched the PPV from beginning to end last year and really enjoyed it. No, you don't get to see hole cards. No, you don't see all in's every third hand. Heck, sometimes the chip counts aren't 100% accurate because they haven't had three months to comb over the video to make sure their figures are right. What you see is a classic poker tournament from hand #1 to the handing out of the bracelet. You get to see the deliberation and thought process players go through each hand. You get to listen in on all the table talk. It's the next best thing to seeing it live...which is the next best thing to playing in it.
I strongly encourage everyone to plunk down the $20 and enjoy 8 to 10 hours of some great poker. Kim and I may put a little something together and have people over and order pizzas or something (maybe I can even talk her into making her patented poker cupcakes!). If you're interested, you know what to do!