Kerstetter Joins 2021 WSOP Commentating Team
Poker fans and players who have watched the last several years of World Series of Poker on ESPN know that Jamie Kerstetter has become an integral part of the broadcasting team. Lon McEachern and Norman Chad have been the commentating due for WSOP on television for nearly two decades. Guest commentators have played a role in past years, Antonio Esfandiari a particular fan favorite. Kerstetter brought something unique to the team, though.
Kerstetter wasn’t the first woman to be a part of the WSOP broadcasts on ESPN, as Kara Scott has been with them since 2011. Her initial role was more of a sideline reporter, but she moved into more of a show host through the years. From the analysts’ desk to interactions with players, Scott has become a beloved part of the team. Kerstetter played a different role, though. She brought years of commentating experience to the booth and did commentary alongside Chad and McEachern.
For many viewers, her voice was a breath of fresh air. A woman’s voice and point of view took the commentary to a new level. Meanwhile, she had been able to fit seamlessly into the schtick, work in her own sense of humor, and balance it with play analysis.
This year, Kerstetter will be back. She will join McEachern and Chad as the WSOP 2021 commentators.
Too excited to even think of a good joke here.
Must be how Norman always feels https://t.co/40bN5Jv3kj
— Jamie Kerstetter (@JamieKerstetter) September 5, 2021
It goes without saying that 2020 and 2021 changed the game. Not only did the World Series of Poker cancel the live tournament aspect of the WSOP in 2020 due to pandemic lockdowns and unsafe conditions, Norman Chad became ill with Covid-19. While the WSOP took its action online, Chad had long-haul effects of the virus and didn’t feel well enough to work. Kerstetter stepped in and hosted some online action alongside McEachern. And for the episodes that did film – live final tables in Rozvadov and Las Vegas, without fans – for ESPN, Kerstetter and McEachern handled it there as well.
This year, the changes kept coming. The WSOP moved to September-November instead of May-July. More pertinent to the commentating team, though, the WSOP severed ties with ESPN and signed a new deal with CBS Sports Network.
Details began to emerge. The production team remained the same. McEachern felt comfortable as far back as April that the commentating crew would not change, but there was no confirmation, nor was there any indication if that meant Kerstetter was included.
By August 25, Chad confirmed that he would return this year with McEachern.
Several days later, Kerstetter tweeted something vague about good news, and David Lappin confirmed that she did, indeed, mean she will be commentating on this year’s WSOP.
Got some good news today and had totally forgotten that was a thing that could happen
— Jamie Kerstetter (@JamieKerstetter) August 31, 2021
After Chad and McEachern had worked together so long for so many years, it could’ve easily been awkward for Kerstetter to join in. According to Chad, though, that wasn’t the case. On a recent podcast with Doug Polk, at around the 30-minute mark, Chad talked about the team and Kerstetter in particular.
“We found her on the streets,” Chad began, jokingly. “She was selling pencils. Her poker game is just not that solid.” He turned serious and said, “She was just a natural, actually. Jamie is actually almost the perfect person that I would like to be around in a booth as far as a poker player goes. She’s somebody who understands the strategy but then just has a great sensibility, a great sense of humor, and understands that it’s more than a game. … When I’m watching somebody on TV, my general standard is would I want to sit next to them in a bar for a long period of time. … Jamie, I could sit next to in a bar for an hour or two like I would with a friend of mind because she’s just easy to get along with, very easy going, very soft-spoke, and has a great sense of humor.”