5 Ways to Improve Televised Poker Part 5: Stats

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  • Published November 14th, 2012 in Poker

In the past few years we have seen televised poker overhauled, with ESPN and the World Series of Poker moving to live broadcasting, and other outlets also using the Internet to show live final-table streams. We have also seen hole-cards hidden until the conclusion of the hand (something I have long called for) giving the viewer a more “play-along” feel to the broadcast.

However, with these advancements there have also been some new issues that have reared their heads, most notably the slow, boring, pace of live poker. In this series I will look at five ways televised poker could be instantly improved, which in this installment will be the utilization of statistics.

Here is a look at all five improvements I would put in place:

  • Commentary and Biographies
  • Incorporate a Shot Clock
  • Implement a Dress Code
  • Curtail “The Rail”
  • Overlay Pertinent Statistics

The final installment of this series will focus on technology, or better said, the lack thereof of technology in televised poker. While the graphics of players’ hole-cards and the winning percentages are very nice, I would love to see the WSOP and other telecasts add some of the online stats that players use to gauge an opponent’s play. Keeping a running tally of VPIP, PFR, and some other stats like c-bet percentage and defends blind percentage would be an excellent feature and wouldn’t take up much space on the screen.

Some of these statistics have started working their way into the telecasts, but are used as more of a summary than anything else. I would rather they kept them visible throughout the telecast, switching between overall and say, a player’s last 10 hands in order to see trends developing in someone’s play.

These statistics would not only further educate the general public, but they would also give the announcers another topic to discuss during lulls in the action.  It would be extremely interesting to hear Antonio Esfandiari and Olivier Busquet discuss why a player’s VPIP drastically decreased when he fell under 35 Big Blinds, and why it will pick back up if he goes over 45 Big Blinds. Or why a player with 20 Big Blinds will be 3-betting all-in more often.

It would also be interesting to see how different players adjusted to changing strategies, which is something that will be more apparent with statistics than simply by watching the broadcast.

We have the technology, and poker players are masters at parsing through the multitude of statistics to find something exploitable or interesting to discuss, so why not use it?


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  • Posted in: Poker
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