Poker Night Live Debuts with Phil Hellmuth, Scott Blumstein and Celebrity Guests2 years ago
Live poker on American TV is a rarity - it comes around once every year with the WSOP Main Event on the sports channel ESPN. Last year, when they moved the final table action from November to July again it did fairly well in terms of ratings, the 3-day action averaged 615,000 viewers - compare that to the audience of online poker streams, which are rarely above 10,000 concurrent viewers.
Now PNIA is attempting to establish another form of live poker entertainment with the debut of Poker Night Live. The concept is to merge poker with the talk show format - the focus is just as much on the personalities at the table as it is on strategy and GTO.
The first episode featured 14-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, comedian and poker commentator Joe Stapleton, current WSOP Main Event champion Scott Blumstein, former Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, actor Kevin Pollak and music mogul Shelli Azoff. In order to facilitate a loose atmosphere they lowered the stakes to $5/$5 - Poker Night in America usually features $25/$50 cash games.
The lowering of stakes also helps the problem all the poker shows have: that is to convince non-professionals to play against pros which in turn would make the game more inviting for the professionals as well.
The first Poker Night Live premiered 10 PM EST on CBS Sports and continued to stream live on Twitch after the TV broadcast ended.
Watching the stream it seemed like the producers of the new format didn’t anticipate how much the players would be talking over each other - lot of times one end of the table was discussing hands while the other end was talking about the early days of the show Seinfeld.
A great example of the commotion is the hand where Phil Hellmuth moved all-in on the river with a full house against Kevin Pollak’s top pair - meanwhile Joe Stapleton was telling the story of Antonio Esfandiari trying to urinate at the table during a live tournament because of a prop bet.
Did you like this article?Tweet +0