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Some opinions on the main event final table date change

by Lee Watkinson |  Published: Jun 02, '08


As I said in my Pro Analysis yesterday I was at the table with Joe Sebok and Michael Binger.

Shortly after sitting down Michael Binger brought up the WSOP final table being moved back and asked Joe's oppinion. Michael seemed like he was mostly against it and Joe was for it, saying that "for me" it would be very good ( I assume because of his radio show), but that should it not work we can always go back. Another player at the table expressed his opinion that if someone died in that time it would open up a legal can of worms.

First let me say that Michael Binger is one of the most intelligent people in poker and, as I told him at the table, I wish he would stop wasting his time taking chips from me at the poker table and go come up with an alternative energy source or develop those jet packs we were all supposed to be flying around with by now.
So it is the first and maybe only time that I think I will be able to say he is wrong. Granted his opinion wasn't strong and he probably didn't give it much thought.

It is very clear to me that moving the final table back is a great idea!

I too at first had the knee jerk reaction that this is bad for the pros and will allow colluding, coaching or other bad things to go on, which it will.

There are however however many good things to off set these problems.

There is no doubt that Harrahs and ESPN wil be the biggest individual winners in this deal but that doesn't mean that we the poker players are not better of as well. I think many poker players have come to see Harahs as the evil corporation that has taken over poker and anything they do that makes more money for Harahs is going to be bad. But this is not the case here this is good for poker as a whole.

ESPN viewership of the final table has been declining steadily the last few years, as have most other poker shows. Something needs to be done to revitalize TV poker and this may be a very good start.

Even if I were going into the final table already and could vote, I would probably vote to push it back, but the fact is I haven't even made it through the first level and the chance of me final tabling again this year is at least 3-1. Seriously, the odds of even the best pro's final tabling must be over 150-1, so don't you think it is better to look at it as what is going to be good for the game.

I have heard two of my friends, Mike Matusow and Clonie Gowan come out very strongly against this as well in there last appearances on Cardplayer TV. This seems very ironic as I see them as two of the biggest beneficiaries of the change. Should they make the final table they would become household names even outside poker, and if they don't, it is they as poker "A-listers" who stand to gain or lose the most with the rise and fall of TV poker.

Even picking up the extra sponsorship money in the extra time shouldn't be overlooked. There will be TV commercials, newspaper and magazine ads to be had as well as the usual poker site deals. I think a hard worker could easily pick up a million or more in the interim.

So my strong opinion is that, just like hole card cams, it is a good thing for poker and will be here to stay, barring some unfortunate craziness.

Maybe if it works well enough Harahs will give something back to the players….well it could happen.

Lee Watkinson has accumulated nearly $4 million in tournament winnings over his career. His accomplishments include a World Series bracelet in the 2006 $10,000 pot-limit Omaha event and an eighth-place finish in the 2007 WSOP main event. Lee is a Full Tilt Pro and uses his poker winnings to help a chimpanzee rescue charity. Learn more about Lee at his website,

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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