The coverage this year seems to be similiar to years past, but ESPN should start consulting with poker players to see what information we want to keep track of while watching.
There should be regular estimates of # of players remaining, better chip counts at featured tables, current average chip stack, current leaderboards, time remaining in the level, what the next level’s blinds/antes are, and more featured tables – more hole cams – for example at the end of Day 2 during the WSOP ME Gus Hansen was almost at the top of the leaderboard – through Day 2 coverage of ESPN footage all you know is he has a big stack. If there were more featured tables, the likelihood that we get some more interesting stories increases, improves the fan interest in the game, and helps the poker world overall (as well as ESPN ratings). You just don’t get a good grasp of the scope of the series, the number of entrants, and really what it takes to win this thing by watching the Main Event unfold on ESPN. To be fair to ESPN, the game itself is partially to blame – it’s long – slow moving – overwhelming number of tables/cards/dealers/players/hands so it is a challenge to capture the right moments.
As for the latest broadcast, Daniel Negreanu played well at the featured table – several times calling out the opponents cards (although most of the reads weren’t all that crazy – the K/9 call was pretty solid though). He had some jack a$$ on his right who coolered him twice with flushes. The few moments I saw this guy on tv had me annoyed, it had to have been painful sitting next to him for 6-7 hours. DN’s final call at the end with top pair, 10 kicker, was a frustration call, and not one of his best, but this is clearly easier to say as an outsider looking in, as it was the case 8 that took him out.