Jeff Platt has enjoyed some nice success on the felt during the 2021 World Series of Poker with five cashes thus far, most notably finishing in fourth place in the WSOP Event #43 $1000 DOUBLE STACK event for a cool $160,662. But his best work of the series may be coming off of the felt in the form of his fun and innovative sideline reporting during PokerGO’s coverage of the WSOP Main Event. We had the chance to catch up with Platt and talk to him about how this new direct-to-table interview format came to be.
Platt and PokerGO are putting a unique spin on Main Event coverage in 2021
“Norman Chad and our Executive Producer Dan Gati deserve a tremendous amount of credit for our new style of field reporting,” Platt said when asked about the format. “We wanted to provide viewers a feel for what it’s like to be in the Main, and I think we’ve accomplished that.”
Platt’s friendly demeanor and excellent conversational skills make him a perfect fit for this new style of poker broadcasting. Where others might feel nervous or come off as stiff in the role, Platt seems to be enjoying every report he does, whether he’s talking with an amateur player playing in the WSOP Main Event for the first time or a poker legend like Doyle Brunson.
“I absolutely love going up to players and spectators alike and chatting with them. We’re always trying to ask questions that our audience would want the answers to. So it’s cool for me to be that link between the viewers and players.”
Jeff Platt’s broadcasting career comes “full circle” in sideline report with Tony Parker
Prior to moving out to Las Vegas to pursue a career in poker broadcasting, Platt worked as a sports reporter in San Antonio. He credits the experience he gained in that role with helping form him into the broadcaster that he is today.
“It was an incredible experience working for a television station in San Antonio, and having opportunities to cover the Spurs. I feel like I became a much better reporter, with the chance to ask questions to Gregg Popovich, to Tim Duncan, to Tony Parker on a daily basis. Was Pop tough on reporters? Absolutely. Did he make me a better interviewer? Absolutely.”
Platt enjoys the fact that poker interviews often take more unpredictable turns than sports interviews do. “Some parallels exist in the poker and sports broadcasting world. But in poker, there’s much more of an unknown element, which is really exciting to me as a reporter. Athletes have become so good at masking their emotions in post-game press conferences, but plenty of poker players wear their hearts on their sleeves, which makes for some fascinating conversations.”
We’ve seen some of those fascinating conversations unfold across six WSOP Main Event opening flights. One of which came with former San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who Platt last interviewed as an active member of the Spurs.
“It felt a bit strange to me to chat with Tony Parker,” Platt said with a pause for effect. “At the World Series of Poker. A full-circle moment in a sense, I guess. What stood out to me was how excited he was to be in the tournament. He made it sound like it was a dream of many NBA players. Which is really cool for poker and NBA fans like me to hear.”
As the World Series of Poker Main Event progresses into the later stages, Platt says that the broadcast’s attention will shift to the poker and his sideline reporting will return to a more conventional format of catching players on breaks and after eliminations. But during these early stages of the tournament, the production team wanted to try something new.
Considering the quality of the product and the overwhelming support the coverage has received in social media circles, that decision has paid off. This just might be the new standard in sideline reporting for big events like the Main Event.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter – BuffaloHanks