There will be a new twist in this year’s World Series Of Poker. While the bulk of the main event will be played in July, the final table won’t be played until November.

It seems that ESPN didn’t like the world knowing who the winner was so long before they showed the beginning of the event in previous years. This time, once play gets down to the final nine, everyone will go home, and ESPN will air their coverage of the various events that make up the WSOP through August, September, and October. On November 9, the principals will return to Las Vegas and resume play until someone has all the chips, probably on November 10. Then, on November 11, ESPN will air a quickly-edited two-hour package of what has just transpired, and the new champion will get the check and the bracelet.

At first, it seems like an awkward idea, but considering the marathon sessions these players sit through, they’ll no doubt relish the chance to get some rest before going back into battle around the final table. Plus, they can use that time to watch the ESPN telecasts of the earlier rounds of the Main Event to see if they can pick up a tell here and there on their opponents — and sign some endorsement deals, too (expect every one of them to have a sponsor’s logo on their shirt and hat, if not tattooed across their knuckles).

Hopefully, the added time will also give Norman Chad a chance to think up something to say besides “Bob’s tournament life is on the line — he needs a five, and a five only, to stay alive.”