Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cards Everywhere, Part II

Finally! A new poker post! It's been four years since my last one, and it's amazing that the entire televised poker world has slipped under my bloggian radar for so many years. Time to catch up. I might have been somewhat prophetic in my initial article, but now, I'll throw some quips about the cast and characters involved, with their requisite shows. I'll start by stating the obvious; poker, as a game, trend, or phenomenon, has grown far too big for its general britches. That said, here are my thoughts about the televised poker scene these days, as it has to do with its shows and commercials. Next one will have to do with the people. For now, eat up. I'll say it again, but FIVE posts until #100!

TV Shows

World Series Of Poker
Shown on ESPN and its myriad child channels, this series is run into the ground, showing all main event competition from 2003 forward, over and over again. The commentators are good ones, particularly Norman Chad, a wise-cracking fellow with plenty of catch phrases and self-deprecating thoughts to support the main commentator, Lon McEachern. Unfortunately, since Chris Moneymaker broke new ground by winning a few years ago, ESPN has been running all of the tournaments into the ground.

Poker After Dark
The show airs on NBC late at night, and focuses on a single table of "high rollers" who are supposedly prominent in the poker world. The show, however, will put anybody to sleep, due to its limited commentary and focus on table talk. As such, the viewer is subjected to constant hypnotic sounds of chip jangling and utter silence. Really tough to get through a one hour episode after a long day. It's snore city.

World Poker Tour
Usually, this series involves an odd assortment of characters that nobody had ever heard of before, competing in a strange venue like an offshore island. For cryin' out loud, the show only airs on the Travel Channel. I'm sure people looking for prospective travel destinations would love to see a bunch of gruff poker monsters tossing chips at a table in Bermuda. Nothing beats the bright commentary of the always relevant Vince Van Patton, however.

US Poker Championship
Again, aired by ESPN to death. It invariably involves a bunch of New Jersey based players with rough attitudes, cab driver hats, and bad personalities. Fortunately, they haven't been showing these reruns as much lately, but it's never interesting, because nobody involved in the final couple tables are ever interesting.

High Stakes Poker
Another annoying show, mostly because of the money that the invited poker players bring to the table. It is supposedly a pure cash game, with chips and a dealer, but invariably some players insist on bringing along a stack of bundled 100 dollar bills for use when necessary. Ok, I don't want to see someone throwing around a 10,000 dollar stack of cash when I am grousing for dollars in the real world. It's just an arrogant show of wealth and simultaneously sickens me when these players bet money that could be going to a charity or similar good cause. Nothing more than a bunch of rich players showing off for the "have nots".

The Commercials
The always entertaining Phil Hellmuth is the spokesperson for this poker-based web site. He's warmed up to being the brat of poker, and takes to stupid stunts with bad production in the commercials for this site. One commercial shows him driving a new "Ultimate Bet" race car, and subsequently driving it into a concrete structure. Another shows him "testing" the company's web site's capabilities, but never once does he touch a mouse. Sure, we all use the internet without touching a mouse. Okie dokie.

In these commercials, various poker "celebrities" are signed on to do dramatic spots for the PokerStars site. One involves Vanessa Rousso, the only true cutie in poker, so I won't whine about her participation; hey, money is money, although since she just completed her law degree, I don't understand why she decided to sell out for this. That said, this site is a substantive one, employing many poker professionals and spotlighting a couple odd ones for commercials. They keep running this Russian player that we're all supposed to know, some Katya Kasdlkjyflya or whatever, and I've yet to see her in any televised poker competition. Good luck, my Russian comrade!

Yes, I told you I'd mention these jerks in as many postings as possible. They suck!

Stay tuned for the next post, which will be very soon, about poker players and the "celebrities" they've become. Five (5) posts until #100!!!


Wendi Manning said...

If they played poker in the Vonage commercials would you like them then?

The Vapid Voice said...

Who said I liked them now? Well, except for Snow White, of course. Then again, she'd be too good to sink to the Vonage level.