Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

High Stakes Poker Season Two

They’ve begun filming episodes for the next season of GSN’s High Stakes Poker.

If you haven’t seen the first season yet, I’d highly recommend checking it out.  They show reruns just about every day.  I think it’s really the most interesting and enjoyable poker shows on TV, and I’ve probably seen enough different poker shows to know what I’m talking about.  

There are a number of things that set this show apart from most other shows you’ll see, but the biggest is that this is a cash game, not a tournament.   This allows the producers to show actual poker taking place, as well as the interesting banter between the players.   They don’t have to worry about showing every hand some one gets knocked out on, because that isn’t necessarily the goal.  One of the reasons why I feel the telecasts of the WSOP main event are so much more enjoyable than the other events is because they spread the coverage out over many episodes, so they aren’t trying to cram eight or nine eliminations into one hour.  The real excitement for me isn’t the drama of the all-in, waiting to see if a particular hand will hold up, its watching someone with a really good second best hand manage to escape without losing many chips, or watching as the best players show how to extract the most chips from one another without tipping their hands.

Another plus for the show is that for the most part everyone at the table is well known.  Rather than one or two pros at a table, you have a table full of people you recognize. It’s a lot more fun to watch those guys than some average Joe internet qualifier whose fifteen minutes of fame involve losing chips to better players.  And you get to see them in what I’d imagine as close to their regular high stakes game as I’ll ever see.

And then there’s the fact that they’re playing with real money.  Yeah, I’m sure people staked them, but when there’s a raise to $30,000, that’s actual money.  That’s more than most people make in months.  And they’re just tossing those chips around like they were quarters.  

One thing I don’t understand is that conventional wisdom says you always buy in for the maximum at the table.  The minimum buy-in was $100,000.  I’m not sure what the maximum was, but I know Daniel Negreanu bought in for $1,000,000.  It seemed like most everyone bought in for around $100k-$200k.  Why so little? Especially since a few players busted then just bought right back in?  Why not buy in for the full amount right away?  Are the stakes really getting too high for some of the players, or are they not quite willing to risk that much cash at once, or did they just not expect Negreanu to buy in for so much?

If you are interested, here’s an article I found about the second season.  One of the things that concerns me is that they are already promising fireworks for this season.  There were a few altercations last season, one involving Freddy Deeb taking exception to being accused of taking chips from the table, and a few involving Phil Helmuth of course.  This season Mike Matusow will be in the middle of it.  While the occasional bickering and trash talking can be amusing, if they keep trying to put explosive personalities at the same game for the sake of a more dramatic show, they are going to end up ruining a good thing.  Before you know it you’ll be watching a no holds barred cage match for the WSOP championship belt.  And they might even throw a few hands of poker in there.  Despite that I’m very much looking forward to the next season of the show.  

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