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Online Poker On TV

I have a strange idea, but I want to throw it out there to see what my readers think. It could have numerous positive ramifications for online poker, while at the same time, probably cause a bit of a stink. Usually anything that causes a stink on the news or television at least causes some publicity. So here it is...

I think a channel like The Game Show Network should start a weekly show about online poker. There are poker sites that seem willing to pony up advertising cash *cough* PokerStars and Full Tilt *cough*. While this show could have many facets, such as strategy and discussion, my original thought was to highlight, or even replay, certain portions of the large weekly and monthly guarantee tournaments.

For those that don't know, certain tournaments on PokerStars have replay and are shown at a later date on the site, with the hole cards showing. Maybe I'm just a poker dork, but how cool would it be to have a television show where strategy and other aspects of online tournaments and cash games are discussed on TV.

It may seem crazy, and I'm sure there are many things that would have to happen before it would fly, but I think it would be really cool to see a show like this. If you don't think there is a market for it, let me mention two things. First, there is a weekly show dedicated to Madden football on Playstation or XBox. That's right, a show where they basically show two people playing a video football game Second, there are channels that have shows completely dedicated to showing video games being played.

Now, I haven't been living in a hole for the last year, so I know the current landscape of online poker in the U.S. is rocky, to say the least. I realize that everything surrounding online poker seems to be a mess right now. However, things like this could be exactly what a poker site -and online poker in general - needs. People need to see that online poker is legit. They need to find out that it's not just bums, punks and corporations out to fleece America. They need to know that online poker is not the evil that must be stopped.

Do you think PokerStars wouldn't love to see their games on a TV show for all to see? And then show commercials to PokerStars.Net. And how about the network that produces the show. They would probably get a ton of press for tackling something that is a touchy subject out there. Like I said, in todays day and age, even bad press is usually good press. Just ask Keeley Hazell and the other 592 people who have a sex tape out there.

Here is something I can't answer myself, but maybe you, dear reader, can help with. I know you can't advertise the online poker dot com sites in commercials, but I wonder what the logistics are for showing online poker on television. You can show regular cash games and tournaments on TV, so why not online tournaments? It would not be an advertisement, so I'm not sure if there would be any grey area to work with. Let's keep in mind, as I'm to understand, the act of playing poker online is not illegal (depending on the state you live in), it is just the transfer of funds that is now in question.

Somebody slap me around if I'm totally missing it on that last point. I guess what I'm getting at is what are the rules for what can be shown on television. I see live poker on television 24 hours a day. I see horse racing periodically, including the betting involved. I see shows completely dedicated to the lottery or even Fantasy Football. Why not online poker?

Whatever the case, whether it is feasible or just a pipe dream, I at least think it is a topic that could stir the pot some.

Until next time, may the felt be with you.

posted by TripJax @ 10:57 AM,


At 11:32 AM, Blogger joxum said...

It's pretty much already been done:
Pokernight Live is a british tv/webcast. Not very good though, so it should be an easy walk to top it.


At 11:41 AM, Blogger BadBlood said...

I think for poker purists, it may be viable. But unfortunately, my belief is that much of what puts poker on TV these days are the personalities of the players.

Watching avatars and virtual chips just might not cut it for the average viewer. And even though we're not average fans, successful shows need a butt-load of average fans to make it viable with respect to getting advertising dollars and ratings.

Just my .02

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous dbirider said...

Something like this has already been done. prima poker has (or had?) TV tables, which get broadcasted on some channel with wholecards shown and possibly commentary.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

Thanks fellas...I definitely need the input. Blood, I think it would all be in how the show is produced. For instance, taking some of the top online talent and have them give input and commentary on the play, would be cool. For instance, if Rizen discussed some of his key hands in a big win on a Sunday guarantee.

I agree with you, I think it might be a tough sell, but there are 900 channels out there now a days on many random niches. I find it hard to believe that a network and/or show devoted to games couldn't give this one a try...

This is the type of production that could fail horribly if not done properly with the right up-front thought. However, I think it could be viable if handled correctly. Whos knows...

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Klopzi said...

Just to expand on dbirider's comment:

This does exist up here in Canada and its called Poker Night Live. It's a daily 2-hour show that highlights two SNGs and 30 - 40 minutes of NL cash game play.

The games take place on the Prima network and, all in all, the show is pretty low budget.

I think there's a definite market for PokerStars or Full Tilt to exploit; however, there would have to be separate TV tables created for use in the show.

Get a spokesman or two to come on the show and comment on the action and I think you have a show that could draw the ratings, as long as production values are high enough, the show is entertaining enough, and the educational aspect of the show is real and relevant.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Ingo said...

Like others already mentioned there are shows like this out there. I was able to catch some of those shows over here (the british ones) for a while, before our cable provider took them out of the program.

Summary: Nice try, but even with some decent commentators, it's just boring to say the least. In the shows I watched the commentary was nowhere near decent and neither was the was "ooooh he got a rag-ace...well...nobody else has got something, he should push here"...errm yeah, easy to say when you're seeing the hole cards

So...unless they could spice such a show up with something, I don't think it would take least I wouldn't watch it as there's so many other good shows out there...High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, WPT, EPT, WSOP...that's enough poker on tv for me...

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Gadzooks64 said...

I'd watch it.

But it could just be the pokerbay withdrawals getting to me.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Actually, Trip, I think you are onto something. All they have to do is get a table with all non-US players (so they are not televising anything remotely illegal), get some big name commentators or a round table discussion (with the FT pros, perhaps?) and they should be good to go. Sure, it won't beat American Idol in the ratings, but production should be dirt cheap, and it would serve as a backdoor infommercial. Plus, with the low cost, it doesn't need much revenue via commercials to bring in the dough, and I'm sure the host-site wouldn't mind losing money on the deal because of the obvious upside of new players exposed to online poker. Any mention of the .com on the poker tables would have to be removed, but I don't think thats an issue.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

I also like the idea Jax, but I think the audience is very slim. The nuts who want to hear Rizen and Bax talk about their MTT wins can pay for it at PXF.

Also, I found this little blog that talks about Poker on TV:


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