The finale of the 2020 hybrid World Series of Poker main event is airing this Sunday, but one half of the duo that typically does the commentary for the event will be absent from the production.
According to a tweet from Lon McEachern, his partner Norman Chad will not be working the broadcast this year. Chad tested positive for COVID-19 last August and McEachern said that he is still feeling effects from the virus.
I would like to let our poker friends know that our colleague and pal
NormanChad</a> is still recovering from some long-haul COVID-19 health issues thus preventing him from working on the upcoming <a href="https://twitter.com/WSOP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">WSOP Main Event shows. We all wish him a full and healthy recovery.
— Lon McEachern (@lonmceachern) February 25, 2021
Chad, 62, tweeted about his diagnosis when he received the positive tests. In his tweets, he said that his main symptoms were a severe headache, a nasty cough and plenty of fatigue.
The pair became household names in the poker world for their work on the mic. Since the poker boom in the early 2000’s, Chad and McEachern have done commentary for every WSOP main event. They were nominated as a team for the Poker Hall of Fame last year for the broadcast work they’ve done
Poker pro Jamie Kerstetter will substitute for Chad. World Poker Tour commentator Tony Dunst tweeted that he will miss the ex-wife jokes Chad has become renowned for. Kerstetter responded to the tweet saying “You’ll be happy to hear I made tons of ex-wife jokes.”
The WSOP announced Wednesday that the main event will air on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The broadcast will feature action of both the international and domestic final tables, culminating in the heads-up match between domestic champ Joseph Hebert and winner of the international final table, Damian Salas.
The 2020 World Series of Poker main event was played as a hybrid format with a domestic tournament taking place on WSOP.com for those in Nevada and New Jersey, while international competitors played a separate online event on GGPoker. The final table of the domestic bracket was played at the Rio, while the international final table was played at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic.
“We are ecstatic that even in an unpredented year, we can give our audience another fantastic World Series of Poker event to look forward to,” said Tim Bunnell, Senior Vice President of Programming & Acquisitions for ESPN in a press release. “The format may be different, but the action remains captivating.”
The winner of both final tables squared off in a heads-up match for $2.5 million and the bracelet. Salas, who finished seventh in the 2017 main event, won the whole thing this time around, defeating Hebert.