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Five Thoughts: How to Improve the November Nine

Five Thoughts

The 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event reconvenes on Sunday, and we here at PokerNews are ready to crown the next world champion. The November Nine has patiently waited four months to close this thing out, and our Five Thoughts this week focus on how the WSOP can improve this already amazing event.

Let's get into them.

1. Bring back the entrance music!

Last year, members of the November Nine was introduced as if they were boxers, with personalized entrance music playing as they made their way to the table. This music added character, which can seldom be found at a poker table these days, and pumped a little bit of energy into the Penn & Teller Theatre before the cards went in the air. Unfortunately, we caught word from the WSOP that there will be no entrance music this year, and to this we say: “Boooooooooooo!!!

The only reason for eliminating the entrance music is if the introductions will be held during the live stream — in the case that the WSOP would possibly have to pay royalties for whatever music they play, and even that’s a stretch. If this is the case, then just have the introductions before the stream goes live. This way, players get to express their individuality, have a little fun, and decompress a little bit before they sit down at the most important final table of their lives.

We listed five Phil Collins songs for Phil Collins in a previous article, so here’s a list for the remaining eight:

2. There should be another redraw — with a twist!

Obviously there is a redraw once the final ten players reach the unofficial final table, but wouldn’t it be interesting to redraw again after the four month break? This would throw a monkey wrench into the studying process, and greatly affect how some players, the short-stacks especially, prepare for the final table.

For example, if you know you have a really tight player to your right, and you have a smaller stack, then you may have fewer opportunities to re-steal if that player opens. Vice versa, if you have a really active player on your right, then you may be able to chip up by re-shoving, etc. If you don’t know who is going to be around you, then you have to prepare for both scenarios, and then adapt once the seats are assigned.

As an added twist, the chip leader should be able to choose where he or she wants to sit after the other nine players are seated. This would add incentive to being the chip leader and make the official final-table bubble even more interesting.

because it’s foreign and not within the WSOP rules. Well, this isn’t any other tournament, it’s the (insert Norman Chad voice) Main Event! Whatever makes this a more interesting and entertaining event without damaging the play should be considered.

3. ESPN should beef up the live stream

On, you can stream Sunday Night Football using its platform called “SNF All Access.” With the stream, you can choose to watch the game as is with the director’s cuts, or you can choose to watch an uncut version of the game from one of four cameras. You can also watch using picture-in-picture with the game on the main screen and the four isolated cameras on smaller screens within the browser. The stream also acts as a DVR — a function that is applicable on the stream.

There may not be many interesting camera angles in poker, but it would be fun to be able to key in on certain players or certain shots during the final table. Also, if ESPN provided an interface like NBC’s, they would be able to stream stats in the browser to compliment the action. Knowing relative stack sizes is paramount, especially when watching live, because then you really get a sense of what’s happening in each hand. If the viewer doesn’t know a player’s stack size, and the commentators can’t eyeball it or the sound is on mute, then the betting amounts and pot size are rendered useless.

Right now, the ESPN stream is excellent, and the commentary in the summer was top notch. There are a couple tweaks that would make it even better, and it will be interesting to see if anything is added on Sunday.

4. The Main Event needs a trophy

The $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship has the David “Chip” Reese Memorial Trophy, and the Main Event should have one too — the Johnny Moss Trophy. Moss was voted the winner of the inaugural Main Event in 1970 and took down the first actual tournament in 1971, defeating Puggy Pearson heads up. Moss won nine WSOP bracelets in his illustrious career and was a charter inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame.

The bracelet should still be awarded, but let’s face it, celebrating by holding up a bracelet is just awkward. If it were a championship belt, then the winner could stretch his or her arms to hold it up high, but because the bracelet is so tiny, the winner has to hold it with two fingers like it’s an accessory from a G.I. Joe toy. A belt would be too much, though, but a trophy would be perfect, and every other major tournament series awards trophies.

Let the WSOP Main Event champion hold the Johnny Moss Trophy high in the air, and whoever designs it, shouldn't make it look like the David “Chip” Reese Memorial Trophy. Bless Reese’s soul, but that thing looks like a turkey.

5. Meet the Nine

If you haven’t already, you should meet the members of the November Nine — except for Eoghan O’Dea, who was covered in glitter at the time.

Can't make it out to Vegas for the final table? Follow the Live Reporting Team here at Pokernews for every hand from the November Nine.

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