For the first time in World Series of Poker history, the Main Event will be live streamed for fans across the globe to see the action of the year’s biggest event play out in real time. Day 1A of the $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event just began and while the early arriving players settled into their seats, including the likes of Phil Laak, Chad Power and Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour on the PokerGO feature tables, Poker Central talked with Maria Ho to discuss how different this broadcast will be from years past.
“When you look at some of the most popular sports and the most watched broadcasts, fans are drawn to the live element.” Ho said, before talking about the negative aspects of a taped broadcast. “People used to hate the fact that everyone knew who won, now fans can follow the action with hole cards up. That is huge for people wanting to learn the game and who want to gain knowledge from watching the coverage.”
Since before the November Nine era, coverage of the Main Event has been on delay, with most hardcore fans following the action through live updates, only to have to wait for the final table to resume months after the fact. This year, that is not the case and Ho believes PokerGO and ESPN’s live coverage will change the way fans and players consume the year’s biggest event.
“This is amazing for making poker a more spectator friendly sport.” Ho said, before adding, “The excitement that we feel as players, is sometimes lost on the viewers but now you get to watch it happen and that is something that is going to help grow the game.”
Ho knows all about growing the game. Throughout her career, she has amassed over $2 million in live tournament earnings, with some of her best results coming at the World Series of Poker. Away from the felt, Ho has been at the forefront of numerous initiatives, including the Global Poker League and countless philanthropic efforts.
Now, on the broadcast table of the first-ever live streamed Main Event, Ho is again doing her part to not only grow the game but to bring it to the masses in real time with PokerGO.
“The content that PokerGO is offering, specifically between Main Event coverage, the Super High Roller Bowl and bringing back Poker After Dark, there is something for everyone.” Ho said, before adding, “I think it satisfies the entire spectrum.”
That spectrum covers everything from diehard poker fans, looking for high level strategy commentary, to players that are new to the game. Over the next two weeks, PokerGO and ESPN streams will satisfy both ends of that spectrum and on Day 1C, fans will have a chance to watch Maria Ho battle in the Main Event.
“I think my nickname should be the Main Event Whisperer, I don’t know if that is going to catch on but that is how I feel.” Ho joked, before referencing her past results, including a 38th place finish in 2007.
“I have enjoyed a lot of success in the Main Event.” Ho said, before adding, “I really don’t have any expectations because I know this is one tournament at the end of the day and even though it is the biggest tournament in the world, I just want to make the best decisions possible.”
This year, the biggest tournament in the world will be live streamed from start to finish and when Maria Ho is not calling the action, like she is today, she will be looking for another deep run to further cement her place in poker history.