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ESPN Expands Poker Coverage

ESPN will expand its coverage of the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the 2006 "World Series of Poker," expanding its time from two one-hour episodes to six. And in another change, the final table will continue to play five poker variants instead of switching to just No Limit Hold 'em.

"If you took a poll of the H.O.R.S.E. players here today, 95% of them would tell you that they would prefer to keep playing the mixed game at the final table," says ESPN analyst Norman Chad. The switch will present some interesting challenges to ESPN, which has only dabbled in presenting games other than Hold 'em.

In 2004, the net broadcast different games, but the number has been scaled back as tournament coverage focuses on the more familiar Texas Hold 'em. "I think it just came down to Hold 'em being more popular to the viewership," says Lon McEachern, Chad's broadcast partner in the ESPN booth. "It's easier to watch, because people understand it more."



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