Poker Omnibus W50P

Home Up

World Series of Poker on Television

Early Years

When the World Series of Poker began, a few reporters covered it for local Las Vegas newspapers. In 1973, national television crews arrived for the first time as Jimmy the Greek Snyder narrated the action for The CBS Sports Spectacular.

Unfortunately, CBS didn't return until 1978. The network then covered the WSOP until 1981 and again in 1983.

ESPN picked up the broadcast rights for the first time in 1987. Their airing of the final hand in 1988 became one of the most famous hands in poker history when it appeared in the 1998 movie Rounders, and they continued as the home of the WSOP until 1998.1

The Discovery Channel, mostly the home of documentaries at the time, then stepped in somewhat unexpectedly for three years from 1999 to 2001.


ESPN was fortunate to reacquire the rights for 2002 just as poker was beginning to boom, and not coincidentally also the first year the WSOP used hole card cameras for the Main Event. With the ability to show the hole cards to viewers, ESPN could also show each player's chances of winning at showdown if the hand went that far. These two features gave viewers a far better idea of what was going on, and even let them feel smarter than the players.

ESPN's airing and continued reairing of the eight episodes of the 2003 WSOP Main Event well into 2004 inspired a new generation of poker players, who mostly honed their skills online and could identify with that year's unlikely hero, Chris Moneymaker, who had qualified online.

Besides the expected player interviews and expert commentary, ESPN introduced various features through the years to spice up their broadcasts:

ESPN broadcast nearly three-fifths of all WSOP Main Events, ending with the delayed, hybrid 2020 tournament that ended with live final tables in Rozvadov, Czech Republic and Las Vegas, Nevada and a heads-up duel in Vegas.

CBS Sports

In 2021, the World Series of Poker came full circle by returning to CBS for at least two years, this time working with PokerGO for poker broadcasts.

WSOP Videos on the Internet

Until recently, many of the early WSOP recordings were available on YouTube, but Poker Central acquired the rights, removed most of them from public display, and made them available on their subscription-only PokerGo streaming service. They have reposted most of the more recent final hand videos to YouTube:

WSOP Final Hand Videos

1989 Final HandPhil Hellmuth
1995 Final HandDan Harrington
2002 Final HandRobert Varkonyi
2003 Final HandChris Moneymaker
2004 Final HandGreg Raymer
2005 Final HandJoe Hachem
2006 Final HandJamie Gold
2007 Final HandJerry Yang
2008 Final HandPeter Eastgate
2009 Final HandJoe Cada
2012 Final HandGreg Merson
2013 Final HandRyan Riess
2014 Final HandMartin Jacobson
2015 Final HandJoe McKeehen
2016 Final HandQui Nguyen
2017 Final HandScott Blumstein
2018 Final HandJohn Cynn
2019 Final HandHossein Ensan

PokerGO has posted videos of the WSOP Main Event Top 5 Hands for every year from 2003 to 2019 (2007 and 2014 videos include the final hands).

WSOP Top 5 Hands Videos

PokerGO's Run It Back series includes long Main Event videos with commentary by host Jeff Blatt and often the Main Event champion himself:

Some other Main Event videos of note:

Some other WSOP videos of note:

External Links: