The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event returns to ESPN this weekend. The series announced on Wednesday that four hours of coverage will be broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 8 pm (ET) on ESPN2.
This year’s $10,000 buy-in event brought a unique setup due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The series featured an international tournament played on GGPoker. A separate version was staged at WSOP.com for US-based players.
Both events played to a live final table and the winner of each met for a $1 million winner-take-all heads-up battle. That was held in January with the winner earning the title of world champion.
What to expect from the WSOP Main Event on ESPN
TheESPN coverage will capture all the action from both final tables as well as the heads-up duel. This is the 19th straight year the network has broadcast the event, with some COVID-era changes this year.
Viewers will certainly see some differences in this year’s Main Event telecast. Viewers won’t find a crowded room filled with fans and supporters.
Online poker also played a major part in the Main Event for the first time.
In the broadcast booth, legendary announcer Lon McEachern returns to the microphone. He’s joined by poker pro and co-host Jamie Kerstetter, offering insight and analysis.
The event comes to viewers from the series’ longtime home at the Rio in Las Vegas. And of course the winner takes home some bling – the championship diamond-encrusted, gold bracelet.
The tournament results may already be known, but the broadcast at least offers some WSOP action for poker fans.
Argentina’s Damian Salas added a million bucks to his poker winnings and viewers can follow his road to victory.
“We could not be more excited to deliver poker fans new primetime content on ESPN,” WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said in a news release. “With compelling storylines and unpredictable action, these episodes remind us all why there was a poker boom in the first place.”
A single day of Main Event coverage, no Norman Chad
Rather than offering live coverage via PokerGO, this year fans can soak in the entire event in one day. The series should make for some binge watching poker fun.
One notable change this year is the absence of longtime WSOP commentator Norman Chad. He’s been a part of the broadcast since Chris Moneymaker’s historic 2003 Main Event win.
The WSOP didn’t offer a reason for Chad’s absence this year and if he’d return for 2021.
The 2020 version of the Main Event made millionaires of first and second place winners on the US side. Both players on the international side also scored at least $1 million.
“We are ecstatic that even in an unprecedented year, we can give our audience another fantastic World Series of Poker event to look forward to,” ESPN Senior Vice President of Programming Tim Bunnell said. “The format may be different, but the action remains captivating.”
* Photos courtesy WSOP/Melissa Haereiti
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