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Stand Up For Me, Please: Jeff Platt Thrives During WSOP Main Event Broadcast

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Dec 15, 2021

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With every year of the World Series of Poker broadcast, PokerGO aims to raise the bar for the viewing audience. For the 2021 series, two big enhancements were made. The first was having daily live streams of the 2021 WSOP main event available exclusively on PokerGO. The second was introduced by sideline reporter Jeff Platt, who did several in-play interviews throughout the WSOP main event, aiming to bring fans from around the world inside the game like never before.

The Texas-native got his start in sports reporting covering the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for ESPN Radio and later worked for a San Antonio station covering the Spurs. His picked up poker during the Moneymaker boom, and took a chance at combining his love of broadcasting with the game he had become quite good at himself.

As a player, Platt has two deep runs in the main event worth a combined $158,492, and this fall, he finished fourth in the $1,000 Double Stack event at the WSOP for $160,662.

But as a reporter, Platt routinely interviewed players in the main event, railbirds watching close by, and other notables around the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. He even got to track down fellow WSOP commentator Norman Chad while Chad was playing the $1,500 Stud Eight-Or-Better tournament.

We recently caught up with Platt to discuss PokerGO’s WSOP broadcast and the addition of his in-play interviews.

Card Player: The in-play interviews were new to the 2021 broadcast. How did that idea develop?

Jeff Platt: Both Norman Chad and PokerGO Executive Producer Dan Gati deserve a ton of credit for developing this idea. They both wanted us to go out into the field and talk to players during the action. It was very important for us to not actually interfere with the hands that were being dealt, but I think we’ve done a decent job at accomplishing the goal of getting out there, getting in the mix, giving the viewers a feel for what it’s like to be out in the Amazon, Pavilion, or Brasilia room during the World Series of Poker main event. I know it’s something that Norman has always wanted to do, and I’m glad we were able to put that plan into motion this year.

CP: How do you go about deciding who to talk to and about which topics to discuss?

JP: It’s an overall discussion between Dan Gati and me on who we want to approach, why we want to talk to them, and what we want to talk to them about. Early in the main event, it was the more recognizable names, the celebrities or athletes, or the top poker players. As the main event moves along, we start to follow certain storylines and we start to meet some people and develop those storylines ourselves and introduce players to the viewers that they are unfamiliar with.

CP: There have been some great moments captured in these segments. Which one stands out the most to you?

JP: Well, of course, I got to go with the world-famous Pat Lyons and his interview. I approached Pat knowing that we would be entertained, and yet still my expectations were blown out of the water. I mean, he played a hand blind in the WSOP main event. He called an all-in while still playing his hand blind. And he scored a knockout! That’s a moment that we certainly will never forget.

But a lot of other interviews stand out to me as well. I talked to Dragana Lim a couple of different times, and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know her along her journey, along her run. Those storylines that you can develop by talking to people again and again really stand out to me.

CP: How did the approach to these in-play interviews change as the 2021 WSOP main event progressed from day 1 through to the final table?

JP: We have a lot more flexibility early on in the tournament. Day 1 of the main event brings with it such a friendly, welcoming, light-hearted atmosphere that it’s pretty easy for us to dive in and out across so many different tables without really interfering with the action. As the tournament progressed, as we made the money, and as we moved into day 5 and 6, we had to take a step back overall. Even in the in-play interviews we did, I would make sure to bring the player a couple of feet away from the table to try to avoid being any kind of distraction from the significant and serious action that was taking place. Overall, I would say my role changed more from field reporter to being on the sidelines of our feature tables and getting all of our bustout interviews done.

CP: Viewers of the broadcast and your followers on Twitter have voiced that these segments have been a highlight of the 2021 broadcast.

JP: I would attribute our success to our entire production crew working together with me to pull off these in-play interviews. It takes a lot. It takes Dan trying to set these up while he’s running our entire broadcast. It takes Jason Wald, our director, to put this into the broadcast. It takes our amazing camera crew to just follow me around. And then it takes the players being accepting and so unbelievably accommodating of me as a sideline reporter to try to give viewers an inside look at the main event.

CP: Do you see a future for these segments in other poker broadcasts like PokerGO’s own U.S. Poker Open or Super High Roller Bowl coverage?

JP: I think they have the potential to work very well in other tournaments. You have to judge when appropriate moments are. It would be a little more difficult to have in-play interviews late in a high roller tournament. But I do feel like with that group of players, specifically, if they think it’s good for the game, then I think they would be open to some early interviews that are done while they are playing in the tournament, when not every hand matters on such a high level.

CP: You played the main event six times, but this year you had to take a back seat to work the broadcast. Was there any part of you that wished someone was tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “Stand up for me, please?”

JP: Let’s be honest, yes. Going into it, I was just so unbelievably excited to work the main event. I’ve always said that the only thing better than playing the main event would be working the main event. To have the opportunity to work the biggest tournament in poker is something that I’m incredibly honored with. This is as much fun as I’ve ever had working. But to walk through the Amazon Room having played it before… sure, you just naturally feel like you’re missing out on the greatest poker tournament in the world. And that’s all the credit to this event and how prestigious and incredible it is.

The entire WSOP library can be watched exclusively on PokerGO.com, while 2021 WSOP episodes are now available on CBS Sports Network. ♠