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Live Aid

Nov. 21, 2011
Nov. 21, 2011

Table of Contents
Nov. 21, 2011

LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
SPECIAL REPORT: SCANDAL. SHAME. A SEARCH FOR ANSWERS.
PRO FOOTBALL
  • Remember the 49ers? After eight dismal years, the former glamour team has been reborn—as a band of blue-collar misfits led by an intense new coach and a roster full of NFL castoffs

PRO HOCKEY
PRO BASKETBALL
  • J.J. Barea, the breakout star of the NBA Finals, wants to get back to work. Until he does, he'll be hanging out with his girlfriend— a former Miss Universe—on the tropical island where he's a hero

HEY SIXTEEN
  • HAS A LOT ON HER MIND. THE YOUNGEST WINNER IN LPGA TOUR HISTORY HAS THE GAME, THE DRIVE AND THE CHARISMA TO BE THE NEXT MEGASTAR IN WOMEN'S GOLF. IF ONLY SHE COULD FIND A DATE TO THE PROM

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Live Aid

A move to (almost) real time spices up the World Series of Poker

There's plenty to be said for thrill-a-minute action, but a slow burn can be even more satisfying. Case in point: ESPN's coverage last week of the World Series of Poker finale. In years past, hundreds of hands were edited into a montage of all-ins and bad beats. This year, however, with ratings sagging, ESPN aired the denouement in real time.

This is an article from the Nov. 21, 2011 issue

It was a gamble; next time you get bounced from your Thursday game, see how long you can watch your buddies play before excusing yourself to see what The Mentalist is up to. But, like the aggressive betting strategy of 2011 champ Pius Heinz (below), this gambit paid off. For once, the event was unpredictable. In years past, viewers knew a champ would be crowned within the hour. But this year's virtually live broadcast (gambling regulators insisted on a 15-minute delay) ran until nearly 3 a.m.—four hours after SportsCenter's planned start.

What's more, hole cards stayed concealed during each hand, altering the role of announcers. (Any stiff could come up with "Go crazy, folks" if he had the play-by-play ahead of time.) Gone were the calculated one-liners, replaced with actual, you know, analysis.

Of course, for long stretches there wasn't much to analyze. But that silence delivered what past broadcasts lacked: that tension—the agony of not knowing what's next—that makes poker so compelling.

PHOTOISAAC BREKKEN/AP (HEINZ)