The 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is approaching quickly.
May 31 is just around the corner, and after two years of handling the live reporting duties in-house for the large Nevada poker series, the WSOP has decided to once again farm the job out to a poker media company.
The chosen entity is PokerNews.com, which was the last company to handle live reporting duties before the WSOP took over for its 2015 event.
“It’s great to have PokerNews back in the fold at the World Series of Poker,” said WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky in a press release announcing the new agreement. “They are the foremost authority and have written the book on tournament live reporting. Having their experienced team of personnel at the 2017 WSOP will ensure poker fans across the globe stay digitally connected throughout our 74-event, 50-day festival.”
PokerNews is eager about the development as well.
“I remember following the WSOP live updates on PokerNews well before I even worked for the company,” said Matthew Parvis, CCO of PokerNews parent company iBus Media. “To say I’m excited that we’ll be back on the floor of the Rio for the entire summer is an understatement.”
According to PokerNews, the company’s live reporting team will cover the event through a variety of mediums, as it provides live updates, chip counts, photos, and videos for all 74 WSOP events.
Viewers will also be able to follow along with the PokerNews app, MyStack, which allows players to post to-the-minute updates of their chip stacks to keep their friends, family, and fans updated.
“MyStack will never replace our traditional live reporting, but it’s a great addition at events like the WSOP that have huge starting fields, since it’s simply impossible to track thousands of runners each day,” Parvis said. “We’re excited to share some of the improvements we’ve made with the app over the past two years with the poker community and the WSOP.”
Impetus for the change?
WSOP’s in-house efforts during the past two WSOP tournament series were admirable. But even though they hired many of the same poker reporters, some in the poker community found the coverage less impressive than in previous years (when PokerNews and its predecessors were in charge of the coverage).
This was partly due to live reporting being one of many duties WSOP employees were juggling. Caesars brass couldn’t devote the same time and oversight to the coverage that a poker media company could.
There were also some social media rumblings of slanted coverage, as one of the main critiques was a lack of independence from the reporting team. Some of the more vocal players felt the coverage was slanted toward big-name pros or was censored to make WSOP employees appear in the best possible light.
Whether this was a real issue or simply perceived to be true is beside the point; even the perception of the reporting team being compromised caused distractions for WSOP brass and fostered conspiracy theories.
It should be solved now that the coverage is once again being handled by a third party.