Have you noticed that even though ESPN carries the World Series of Poker each year, they don't actually cover poker at any other time? So does ESPN consider it worthy of coverage or not? While the exposure they've given it is well received in the poker community, I don't see any ESPN discussions of poker outside of these annual telecasts.
My point is that ESPN could do so much more for the poker world, if they'd actually get involved. There are so many BAAAADDDD programs on ESPN, or ESPN2, or ESPN the Ocho. Why not sign an exclusive deal with some of the other poker organizations that are now on crazy channels, and put them on once a week on ESPN? You have poker programming now on the Game Show Network. Honestly, this isn't helping the poker community in their fight for recognition of the true skill of the game. You follow LINGO, for god's sake.
Now, I know its probably wrong for me to mention ESPN on a site that is owned by SportsIllustrated...but honestly...they are not competitors with each other. One is a TV show, and the other is a weekly magazine. And if you think ESPN the Magazine is any competition for SI, you haven't read either.
I have also asked this site, FanNation, to add "POKER" as a keyword to blogs or throwdowns. I mean, they have Fantasy Sports, Cycling and Auto Racing....and I'd argue that none of them are any more of a "sport" than poker is. But my requests are constantly met with silence. All this tells me is that the moderators running this site don't believe poker is a sport. I guess if they don't agree, then it isn't debatable.
So back to ESPN.
There are four poker shows on TV that could use better exposure.
1. High Stakes Poker. This is one of the best poker shows on TV, because they don't show "highlights". They show the greatest players in the world playing for amazing sums of money....and they show every hand. It is the truest depiction of poker on television.
2. World Poker Tour. Went from the Travel Channel (well, there is "world" in the title) to the Game Show Network. It needs to be on ESPN2 where it belongs.
3. Heartland Poker Tour. One of the most underrated tours in the country. This is the one that normal folks play in. Instead of focusing on the big names, they focus on you and me.
4. Poker After Dark. A poker series on NBC that has outdrawn the Late Late Show, but still doesn't get the recognition it deserves.
Also, I have petitioned SportsIllustrated to cover major poker events in their magazine. Of course, they ignore this too.
In the end, the only way we are going to get our government to quit being our nanny and recognize that poker is a legitimate skill sport is to get better recognition. And the best way to get recognition is to get the media to give it more exposure.
Your email to this site, SI.com, and ESPN.com would be greatly appreciated.