Full slate of WSOP streaming coverage coming in 2019
Online Poker Report

CBS, Poker Central Tag Team For Expanded WSOP Broadcast Schedule

WSOP CBS PokerGo

Poker Central and CBS have struck a deal to bring this year’s World Series of Poker to a much wider audience.

The agreement will see Poker Central produce 41 days of live WSOP programming, including 25 days of coverage streamed exclusively on CBS All Access. Eight days of action will air on PokerGO, and another eight days will go out across both streaming platforms.

CBS Sports Network will also broadcast highlights from its 25 bracelet events via CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports app, and CBS Sports HQ.

Here’s Dan Weinberg, executive vice president of programming:

“The World Series of Poker, which is the pinnacle of the game, will be a fantastic addition to our digital and cable channels. We’re very pleased to bring this engaging content to poker fans across platforms.”

WSOP is the anchor for TV poker

Traditionally, the WSOP is the time of the year when the general public gets to hear about poker. Television news programs report on the main event winner, and ESPN broadcasts a series of programs with a dedicated team of anchors.

Since the demise of US online poker after Black Friday in 2011, there has been very little televised poker outside of the WSOP. Big-money industry sponsors are no longer there, and the audience isn’t large enough to attract many substitutes from the mainstream.

CBS Sports broadcasts what is essentially the only regular poker programming still on the air, Poker Night in America. ESPN’s coverage is widely admired, but it focuses almost exclusively on the WSOP Main Event.

Poker Central and CBS will now showcase more of the preliminary events than ever before.

Cary Katz and a mission to promote poker

Poker Central was created in 2015 by businessman and poker enthusiast Cary Katz. One of his motivations was to promote poker, and he was prepared to put up a lot of his money to do so.

In the last few years, Katz has pushed hard to put poker content on mainstream television.

His first foray into TV was the Super High Roller Bowl at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, which was televised on NBC Sports. In 2017, Katz signed a deal for the global television and digital media rights to the WSOP. A side deal with ESPN brought same-day live coverage starting with Day 1 of the WSOP Main Event.

By April 2018, Poker Central was confident enough to open a 10,000-square-foot studio at the Aria. The venue now produces subscription-based PokerGO shows including the Poker Masters, US Poker Open, and Poker After Dark.

The deal with CBS fits naturally into this timeline, continuing a clear strategy to build in-depth poker content and distribute it to a bigger audience.

US online poker in the doldrums

Katz is fighting an uphill battle in the US.

After a few years of promoting the legalization of online poker, the gaming industry has switched gears. Sports betting is now central to the focus, threatening to leave poker by the wayside.

The history of US online poker doesn’t provide much motivation for gaming executives.

Way back in 2013, GamblingData published their forecast for the New Jersey market that was about to launch. Along with many others, their estimates were wide of the mark.

By year four, they estimated, online poker revenue would be running at $40 million to $50 million per quarter.

Instead, it is barely one-tenth of that. In April, NJ online poker revenue was under $1.7 million. Estimates that poker would produce 40% of revenue — with casino games making up the rest — were out by a mile. Online poker is producing less than 5% of the total revenues.

And that excludes the new revenue from NJ online sports betting.

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Can content revive US online poker?

A revival of US online poker is not going to happen just because the WSOP gets some more airtime. At best, we can hope to satisfy the interest of some viewers who have been attracted to the new programming by promotions surrounding the Main Event.

But so many of the prospective new players live in states where there is no legal online poker. There’s no way for them to translate their interest into legal, regulated action.

The future of US online poker depends on two enabling factors. First, we need to see many more states legalize the game. There is some hope for this.

In the next few months, Pennsylvania will launch its first legal online poker sites. In 2019, West Virginia became the first new addition to the list of states with legalized online poker in quite some time. The impetus to legalize sports betting is also creating a drag-along effect in some states where online poker may be included in broader gaming legislation.

On its own, though, this still won’t be enough. Online poker needs a large player pool to succeed.

In France, players were segregated among their neighbors for years. In a market drawn from a population of 67 million people, poker still declined year on year. Only when France, Spain and Portugal began to share their player pools did French online poker begin to grow again. Their combined market now has a population of 124 million people.

To create a similar market in the US would require 38% of the population to have access to legal online poker. On top of that, the states would need to have compacts allowing combined player pools. The new DOJ opinion on the Wire Act puts such multi-state poker compacts in jeopardy.

Many small steps make for progress

Poker Central’s deal with CBS should be seen as another small step on a very long journey.

Perhaps its most important impact may be to help re-normalize poker as a national pastime in a country that might be forgetting how much fun this most-American of games is really.

2019 WSOP live streaming schedule

DateTimeEventPlatform
May 301:00 p.m.$10,000 Super Turbo Bounty Final Table (Event #2)CBS All Access/ PokerGO
May 311:00 p.m.BIG 50 – $500 No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #3)PokerGO
June 21:00 p.m.$1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better Final Table (Event #4)CBS All Access
June 3TBDHigh Roller – $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em for the 50th Annual Final Table (Event #5)PokerGO
June 47:00 p.m.$600 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack Final Table (Event #9)CBS All Access
June 51:00 p.m.$10,000 Short Deck No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #8)PokerGO
June 61:00 p.m.$5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #11)CBS All Access/ PokerGO
June 71:00 p.m.BIG 50 – $500 No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #3)CBS All Access
June 81:00 p.m.$10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #15)PokerGO
June 91:00 p.m.$10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Final Table (Event #18)CBS All Access
June 101:00 p.m.$1,500 Seven-Card Stud Final Table (Event #20)CBS All Access
June 111:00 p.m.$10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Final Table (Event #21)CBS All Access/ PokerGO
June 121:00 p.m.Millionaire Maker – $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #19)PokerGO
June 131:00 p.m.$1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better Final Table (Event #27)CBS All Access
June 141:00 p.m.$10,000 HORSE Final Table (Event #29)CBS All Access/ PokerGO
June 151:00 p.m.$2,620 No-Limit Hold’em Marathon Final Table (Event #26)CBS All Access
June 161:00 p.m.Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #32)CBS All Access
June 171:00 p.m.$3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout Final Table (Event #36)CBS All Access/ PokerGO
June 183:00 p.m.$800 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack Final Table (Event #37)CBS All Access
June 191:00 p.m.$1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Final Table (Event #40)CBS All Access
June 201:00 p.m.$10,000 Seven Card Stud Final Table (Event #41)CBS All Access/ PokerGO
June 217:00 p.m.$1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Bounty Final Table (Event #44)CBS All Access
June 221:00 p.m.$25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller Final Table (Event #45)CBS All Access
June 231:00 p.m.$1,000/$10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em (Event #47)CBS All Access/ PokerGO
June 249:00 p.m.$800 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack 8-Handed Final Table (Event #53)CBS All Access
June 251:00 p.m.$10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed Final Table (Event #52)PokerGO
June 261:00 p.m.Monster Stack – $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #50)CBS All Access
June 273:00 p.m.$50,000 Poker Players Championship Final Table (Event #58)PokerGO
June 281:00 p.m.$50,000 Poker Players Championship Final Table (Event #58)PokerGO
June 297:00 p.m.$400 COLOSSUS Final Table (Event #61)CBS All Access
June 301:00 p.m.$1,500 Omaha Mix Final Table (Event #63)CBS All Access
July 11:00 p.m.$10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Final Table (Event #65)CBS All Access
July 29:00 p.m.$1,000 Mini Main Event Final Table (Event #69)CBS All Access
July 37:00 p.m.$888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #64)CBS All Access
July 41:00 p.m.$5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Final Table (Event #70)CBS All Access
July 115:00 p.m.$1000 +$111 Little One for One Drop Final Table (Event #75)CBS All Access
July 121:00 p.m.$3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #79)CBS All Access
July 131:00 p.m.$100,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Final Table (Event #83)CBS All Access/ PokerGO
July 141:00 p.m.$1,500 50th Annual Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #81)CBS All Access
July 157:00 p.m.The Closer – $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Final Table (Event #84)CBS All Access
July 161:00 p.m.$10,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Final Table (Event #86)CBS All Access
Joss Wood
- A former editor of Poker Industry Pro, Joss Wood is a graduate in English from the University of Birmingham. Joss also holds a master’s degree in Organisational Development from the University of Manchester. His career path has taken him from the British Army, through business and finance to seven years as a successful professional poker player.
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