History of ESPN Poker
ESPN poker has been present as a sports broadcast for a number of years, but it wasn’t until recently that technological advancements allowed the network to truly garner a large and loyal following of their poker coverage amongst their viewers. Let’s take a quick look at the evolution of ESPN’s coverage of poker into the juggernaut that it is today.
ESPN started covering the Worlds Series of Poker back in the 1980’s, filling a television hole created when CBS decided to pull its coverage of the tournament. Looking back at these early broadcasts, it’s really no wonder that they were not popular with sports fans. Chance still seemed to play the biggest part in the game of poker, as there was no way an audience could know which cards the players held. ESPN’s coverage of poker was usually limited to an hour of pre-recorded tv broadcasts featuring actors who played poker and one or two big names in the tournament.
What changed the face of poker on tv was the invention of the hole cam. The hole cam was invented in England in 1997 to broadcast poker on TV there, and ESPN incorporated it into their broadcasts starting at the World Series of Poker in 2002. The hole cam allows the viewers and commentators to see which cards are being held by the players as they make their decisions. This meant that viewers of the sports giant could now gain a better understanding of the thought process used by various players, highlighting the skill aspect of the game rather than just the luck.
The introduction of the hole cam proved nothing short of revolutionary for ESPN poker. Since it’s introduction coverage of the WSOP has been so successful that the sports channel now covers almost every event right from the get go of the tournament, including both the final and early rounds.
Because of the success of ESPN’s WSOP coverage, the network now has its own Poker Club. This club offers all of the latest details form the world of professional poker and also allows members to join online poker rooms or join an online poker tournament.
Most people interested in the history of poker credit the coverage of poker by ESPN as one of several factors that have driven the popularity of the game to whole new heights. Today, a poker player has the chance to play Texas holdem online, play online video poker, and even online casino poker as businesses realize what a lucrative proposition the game has become.
There are thousands of sites dedicated to providing poker fans of all levels with the latest online poker reviews as well as information on where to get the best online poker bonuses. In short, poker has become huge business, to the benefit of many individuals. ESPN poker has certainly been a big part of the re-establishment of an American institution.