About Poker Central

Poker Central is the ultimate destination for fans of poker tournaments, cash games, and lifestyle away from the tables. Poker Central delivers poker’s premier live events around the world via PokerGO, its direct-to-consumer OTT subscription service, as well as through network television distribution. PokerGO delivers over 100 days of live poker on an annual basis alongside a video-on-demand library that features original series and classic poker programming. With expertise in production of live events, their productions capture some of the most exciting moments across the globe, including elite high-stakes poker tournaments, Super High Roller Bowl, Poker Masters, and the U.S. Poker Open.

“The Haivision team was so easy to work with, demonstrated great understanding of their product and integration into our environment and bent over backwards to make sure the job got done. That’s the kind of confidence I need in a company. The equipment has to be good but the support has to match or be even better.”

Shawn Hendrix
Head of Technical Operations - Poker Central

Poker Chips

The Challenge

Streamlining Production

Poker Central recently built a brand-new state of the art production studio in the Aria hotel, Las Vegas, where they have a fiber connected editing suite that is being used for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) taking place in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. With poker fans all over the world keen to watch the action at this year’s 50th anniversary edition, WSOP organizers worked with Poker Central to create content for PokerGo (Poker Central’s digital video subscription service) and major network affiliates to cater to a global fan base.

For previous poker events, Poker Central has traditionally deployed full production teams in the field, but in a bid to create efficiencies, reduce its footprint, and find an alternative to hauling and setting up a flypack mobile studio across locations, Poker Central plans to adopt a remote production (REMI) model for future events. However, for the scope of the WSOP event Poker Central remained on-site at the Rio but found an alternative solution to streamline production thanks to a new remote editing workflow.

The Solution

Poker Central diagram

Accelerating Workflows

Instead of their previous time consuming workflow which involved filming all day, followed by driving recording assets from the field back to the studio and then ingesting it into their Media Asset Management system, Poker Central is now able to use Haivision Makito video encoders to synchronously backhaul 12 channels from the Rio to its post-production facility at the Aria for recording onto its Media Asset Management system in real-time. From there, the editing team was able to quickly turn the live streams into four, 44 minute TV episodes for CBS.

The Result

Efficient, Easy to Use, and Future Proof

The biggest benefit of this new workflow is the significant efficiency it brings to the production process. Now the production team can start to edit footage even though there may be 6 or 7 hours of broadcast left, giving them a whole day’s head start compared to their previous workflow. Cumulatively, the time savings add up to around 36 hours, enabling the accelerated turnaround of deliverables.

In addition, with machine room space at a premium in the new studio, being able to minimize the amount of rack space used has proved to be extremely beneficial considering the space limitations. The current solution is also flexible and future proof as Makito video encoders are easy to configure depending on event requirements. Whether it’s 12 sends for one show or 10 sends and 2 receives for the next show, the hardware required is really easy to set up.

Remote Production for the Future

Once WSOP is over, Poker Central fully intends to leverage remote production and is planning to cover several global events using an at-home approach for events from London to the Bahamas. One key consideration when adopting this model was the need for low latency return on camera feeds – an area where Haivision video encoders with native support for SRT, really shines.

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