Back in mid-May, when the World Series of Poker (WSOP) announced an exclusive content distribution arrangement with Poker Central, fans of the summer-long tournament festival were promised “expanded” coverage.
Poker Central, which was founded in 2015 by high-roller tournament aficionado and entrepreneur Cary Katz, signed on to provide live streaming of WSOP events through its newly launched PokerGo mobile app. Offering a monthly subscription priced at $9.99, and a yearly package for $89.99, the PokerGo app essentially replaced WSOP.com as the source of live streamed tournament action.
In a statement issued by Poker Central, executive director of the WSOP Ty Stewart teased the scope of Poker Central’s upcoming coverage:
“This year’s WSOP will deliver the most live broadcast coverage ever with ESPN and Poker Central’s commitment to premier poker.
We can’t wait to provide the new storylines, surprises, and amazing moments of the WSOP with the help from our talented broadcast teams.”
But when the full PokerGo streaming schedule was released on June 2, one day before the first stream aired, the poker community widely criticized the new format.
Previous editions of the WSOP streamed final tables on a nearly continuous basis, with last year’s series streaming 33 events over the span of 40 days. The schedule routinely included low-profile mixed-game events to supplement the usual diet of No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) – a fact more serious fans and players came to appreciate.
The extensive coverage provided by WSOP.com also came free of charge, with no subscription fees or costs of any kind required to tune in.
That’s a stark contrast to the slimmed down selection offered by PokerGo, which will stream just 14 bracelet events in addition to the $10,000 Main Event.
Of those 14 events, just three will feature non-NLHE tournaments: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E.; $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Max; and $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha.
Of course, PokerGo’s claims of expanded coverage are based on streaming multiple days within each event on the schedule, as opposed to solely final tables.
Even so, the first PokerGo stream began on June 3 – featuring the second day of play in the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop tournament – “poker Twitter” lit up with aggrieved fans wondering where their WSOP fix had gone.
While critiques from the rank and file are par for the course during WSOP season, comments posted publicly by high-profile pros also called PokerGo’s approach into question. Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Mike Gorodinsky captured the prevailing sentiment succinctly in a June 3 tweet, asking the question on most people’s minds of late:
“So PokerGO takes us from free final table streams of all the WSOP tournaments to a paid subscription of basically only NL events?”
WSOP-Circuit grinder D.J. MacKinnon, who regularly advises tournament directors on logistical issues, also posted a withering critique of the new streaming setup:
“Only broadcasting 14 of the 70+ WSOP bracelet events is kind of brutal, especially when you ask people to pay for it when it was free before.
Don’t see a reason why you can’t have multiple streams on multiple days, even if it’s just final table/hole cards with no commentary. It’s been done before.”
The first week of action has seen fan favorites Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth make deep runs, but only the “Poker Brat” saw the spotlight with his 10th place finish in the $111K One Drop event.
Conversely, “Kid Poker” – perhaps the brightest star in the game – was left off the streaming schedule during his third-place run in the $10,000 Tag-Team NLHE event.
For a full rundown of the 2017 WSOP live streaming schedule provided by PokerGo, see the table below:
2017 WSOP Streaming Schedule on PokerGo
|June 3||2:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST)||$111,111 High Roller for One Drop – Day 2|
|June 4||2:30 p.m (PST)||$111,111 High Roller for One Drop – Day 3|
|June 5||2:30 p.m (PST)||$111,111 High Roller for One Drop – Day 4|
|June 7||3:30 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 Heads-Up NLHE|
|June 8||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 Heads-Up NLHE|
|June 9||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 Heads-Up NLHE|
|June 10||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$1,500 NLHE Six-Max|
|June 14||11:30 a.m. (PST)||$1,500 NLHE Millionaire Maker|
|June 16||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$3,000 NLHE Six-Max|
|June 17||2:30 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 H.O.R.S.E.|
|June 18||11:30 a.m. (PST)||$1,000 NLHE (Senior’s)|
|June 21||2:30 p.m. (PST)||$5,000 NLHE Six-Max|
|June 23||2:30 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 NLHE Six-Max|
|June 24||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$5,000 NLHE|
|June 27||2:30 p.m. (PST)||$3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Max|
|June 29||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$1,500 NLHE|
|June 30||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha|
|July 2||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$5,000 NLHE|
|July 8||11:00 a.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 1A (Part A)|
|July 8||5:00 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 1A (Part B)|
|July 9||3:00 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 1B|
|July 10||11:30 a.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 1C|
|July 11||11:30 a.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 2A/B (Part A)|
|July 11||8:00 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 2A/B (Part B)|
|July 12||12:30 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 2C|
|July 13||11:30 a.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 3|
|July 14||11:30 a.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 4 (Part A)|
|July 14||8:00 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 4 (Part B)|
|July 15||1:00 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 5|
|July 16||3:00 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 6|
|July 17||11:00 a.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 7 (Part A)|
|July 17||7:45 p.m. (PST)||$10,000 WSOP Main Event – Day 7 (Part B)|