“World Series of Poker”: Shuffle up and deal

POSTED BY STUART LEVINE

Clearly, there have been great dramatic moments on TV this year — the finale of “Mad Men,” John Locke ending up in the casket in “Lost” and Vic Mackey’s confrontations with Shane throughout the last season of “The Shield” — but for my money, it’s tough to beat what ESPN is offering up Tuesday night.

For the first time ever, the sports cabler is broadcasting the final table at the World Series of Poker on the same day a winner is declared.

Ever since the poker boom took off in 2003 when amateur Chris Moneymaker took home the title, the tournament has ended several months before ESPN aired it. Meaning that the vast majority of people tuning in already knew who won.2008_wsop_finaltable

This year, the tournament ended in July as it always has, but Harrah’s Corp. (which owns the Rio Hotel and Casino, where the WSOP takes place) decided that, to build excitement, it would take the nine players remaining and give them a 117-day layoff to think about the $9.1 million that goes to the champ.

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