Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008, 9:53 pm
I’m watching ESPN’s broadcast of Day 2b of the Main Event and, as usual, vainly looking (in vain) for myself on the small screen. The last two years I’ve spent something like a zillion hours inside the Amazon Room and the only time I’ve spotted myself was during the $10K Pot-Limit Hold-Em event that kicked off this year’s coverage. When Kathy Liebert moved it they do a close-up of her in profile, and in the background there I am, looking up at the monitors above the table to see what the turn card is. That’s it. Don’t these people care about my fans? Next year I’m gonna get out from behind my desk and sweat Phil Laak for five hours. I’ll get my screen time then.
During the Main Event I spent a lot of time in the dark, back corner near the Final Table stage. It wasn’t easy keeping track of the big names playing there, because we weren’t allowed free reign of the stage to get chip counts, record the table talk, get the hand info, etc. At times some of the most famous players in the game would have their chip counts languish for hours, simply because we couldn’t get close enough for a tally. When Gus Hansen was playing at the feature table (which ESPN is showing right now) some people in the PokerNews shout box were bitching about the lack of updates. So I had to get a little creative:
I squeezed my way through the crowd hanging out in the Milwaukee’s Best Light Lounge, snapped a few pictures, zoomed close in the viewfinder and showed the image to Anthony. "What’s he got?" I asked, as I am the World’s Worst Chip-Counter. After 2.3 seconds Anthony came up with the count and we appeased Gus’s vast and vocal fanbase.
This is the…third week of the Main Event episodes? As I’ve watched I’ve found myself wondering if there’s any point in showing these first few days. I mean, who cares? Even the biggest pots on the four Day Ones had little impact on the eventual result (well, the Montgomery-Baldwin hand did, but only in forwardspect). Do we really need to see a hand where Chris Moneymaker is dominated by Diego Cordovez and the former champ loses a few thousand chips? Instead of showing a smattering of meaningless hands, why not spend the opening two-hour block doing features on the famous and/or interesting, interspersed with action from the floor. Show Hellmuth being Hellmuth, Matusow being Matusow. Do a quick montage of the big names who didn’t make it to Day Three, show the players who find themselves atop the chip count. Then being the intensive coverage on Day Three, when the entire field was in the same room and playing at the same time. That’s when things truly get dramatic–the money bubble comes into play, some truly big stacks emerge, the story of the Main Event starts to come into focus.
I’ve read or heard in a number of places that the marketing and promotion so far of the "November Nine" has been rather lacking. Of course, anyone who’s been watching ESPN’s coverage wouldn’t have any clue who among the throng is going to become a leading character in the story. We’ve seen a bit of Chino Rheem, a bit of Scott Montgomery. To be honest, PokerNews field reporter extraordinaire Zeke has been on camera far more than any member of the November Nine. That guy knows how to get in the shot. Whether anyone will care about the November Nine once the calendar moves past Halloween remains to be seen.
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