Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Enough Negreanu already

So far, so weak for ESPN's broadcast of the Main Event.
Unlike many of you, I love ESPN's poker broadcasts. I think the network really tries to capture the strangeness of the poker boom as well as the seriousness of it, something the World Poker Tour could, I don't know, maybe learn from, given that that show takes itself far too seriously.

The Nuts stories are usually funny, short and interesting. ESPN manages to find stories that the Denver papers here missed, including one on a guy with brain cancer and his crew who came here to follow his progress through the tournament.
Yes, many times ESPN focuses too much on the "heartwarming" stories, as if it was NBC covering the Olympics, when we all know that the main event is packed with guys you really wouldn't want to sit next to on an airplane. But ESPN does a pretty good job of something impossible, and that's making sense out of more than 8,000 players in a poker tournament.
Having said that, ESPN obviously rushed the telecast this year, and while I don't blame the network's officials for making that decision — the Internet, something that fueled the poker boom, also squeezes all the drama out of it, so you might as well get it on while it's still somewhat fresh, or at least not rancid — it's made it too easy to focus on the easy stuff.

Last night we basically got two hours of Daniel Negreanu and Joe Hachem. I think focusing on Hachem is a wise decision — it's nice to appreciate him for the great player he really is — but ESPN basically just switched back and forth between Hachem and Negreanu, with tiny bits of Raymer, Moneymaker and a couple movie, music and boxing stars thrown in for good measure. Last night Hachem talked about a hand with his playing partners when quads got beat by runner, runner straight flush. It would have been nice to see that. Or did I miss it?

Negreanu had a good showing in this tournament, but it's time to focus on someone else, like, maybe, Cunningham, who made the final table.
I'm a huge fan of Negreanu. It's quite possible he's my favorite player. But he's getting far too much face time lately. He's all over High Stakes Poker, the Professional Poker Tour can't pull away from him and he's in a Pepsi commercial.
Partly that's because he's good at what he does. He's a wonderful player, and he's engaging and articulate and funny. But that's also precisely the problem. He makes it far too easy for the networks to cover him instead of finding the real stories behind these poker tournaments. Why dig when you can just go to camera one on Negreanu for two hours?
Negreanu deserves the publicity. But poker deserves to be covered as well.
• • •
Labor Day weekend is supposed to be beautiful here, and I'm taking the weekend off. This is when I question why I need the break.
But I do. Friday night I'm going to see my brother's house, and Saturday night I'm playing poker with the guys. In between all that, I'll have plenty of time with Kate and the J-man. That's still needed: Jayden last night favored Kate pretty heavily again despite me watching him all day Monday.
• • •
Our coed softball team last night crushed a good team 18-9. We've got a lineup no with no easy outs, and that's the key to winning at coed (at least in our weak league), is when your girls can hit or at least not strike out.
It should be fun. If I can get the damn ball over the plate we'd be even better.
• • •
I played three SnGs last night and bubbled all three of them. I didn't catch many cards and I didn't win the races when I had to push.
That stuff happens, I guess. I'm sure I could have played better, but I took it as paying the piper a bit after Saturday's awesome take.

Have fun this Labor Day weekend.

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