Behind The Scenes

Crew ready to deal with marathon World Series of Poker Final Table if need be

LAS VEGAS — Tonight’s World Series of Poker Final Table (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET) marks Director of Content Strategy and Acquisitions Dan Ochs’ first since taking on the property in August. Ochs hit the ground running to make the transition seamless.

Now with the season concluding, Front Row caught up with Ochs as tonight’s Final Table features Ryan Riess and Jay Farber vying for the coveted WSOP Main Event bracelet and $8.3 million in prize winnings.

What have you learned about the WSOP over the past few months?
The World Series of Poker is truly a unique event – one that’s performed very well for us on ESPN but one that’s very different from the majority of events we cover. The biggest challenge I’ve found thus far – which is also in my opinion the biggest opportunity moving forward – is balance. That is, finding the right balance between live and tape-delayed coverage – and between telling the stories of some of the most compelling “characters” versus documenting a massive event which draws over 6,000 competitors.

Due to the nature of poker, the game can go on for hours. How does this impact ESPN’s coverage of the event?
The length of the live telecasts are truly unpredictable – we look at a variety of factors, including past final tables – but ultimately, we’re committed to showing the event until its conclusion. We know that can mean a couple of very long nights. Credit is due to our partners at Poker PROductions, the crew and our talent for turning out the best poker production on television, despite a grueling schedule.

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