RE: So Let’s Talk Poker TV

by , Nov 13, 2008 | 3:31 am

Hmm, I spent some comment time below advocating for more-live poker … but upon reading this story in the New York Times about the end of the poker boom (by J-school classmate Steve Freiss), I learned something new that kinda gets in the way of the vision I was pimping:

ESPN plans to edit a two-hour show about the final two days of play, which will be broadcast on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern time. (Nevada law prohibits broadcasting live gambling events in progress.)

OK, crap … laws. Not sure how that applies to boxing and MMA fights (which are shown relatively live and can still be bet on) … but regardless, it seems LIVE and ESPN do not work well together with poker. I guess that leaves us the internet (or maybe satellite?)?

One other interesting thing to note about the story above: It ran in the Fashion & Style section — not sports, not business, not even entertainment and TV. I guess we can only hope that poker outlasts the popularity of Ed Hardy T-shirts.

15 Comments to “RE: So Let’s Talk Poker TV”

  1. Snuffy

    Ed Hardy T-shirts, worst idea ever.

  2. Kevin Mathers

    I assume by live gambling events, they mean games played inside the casino. MMA/Boxing are considering sporting events.

  3. Kevin Mathers

    If Freiss believes that Phillips had a deal with Ford, then he obviously didn’t watch previous episodes or was misled. Dennis was wearing the same work shirt deep in the ME that he wore on Sunday, which had Ford’s logo on it. I somehow doubt the marketing people at Ford were scouting players in Vegas, saw Dennis in the final 45 or whatever, and decided to stick a Ford Trucks logo on him.

  4. Mean Gene

    The article says, “Only 6,844 entered this year, a 22 percent decline.” ONLY 6,844 entered? It’s not remarkable that 6,844 people paid $10,000 apiece to play in a poker tournament? If you’d told people five years ago that nearly seven thousand people would play in the Main Event they would’ve thought you were smoking the rug.

    The article mentions the closing of the Hilton poker room…but not the opening of the new poker room at the Hard Rock…the renovations to the rooms at Binion’s and the Gold Coast…heck, even the new poker rooms springing up all over the U.S. where the game has been legalized (like in West Virginia, where the rooms are packed).

    Also, it’s against Nevada law to broadcast live gaming events? What about ESPN360’s coverage of the WSOP events this year?

    The article says, “The starting field of players is now large, and it has been seven years since a well-known poker star has made it to the Final Table, leaving poker fans without a Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan to root for.”

    Is Mike Matusow not a well-known poker star? Allen Cunningham?

    And I agree with Kevin that if Phillips had signed a deal with Ford, that would’ve been HUGE news that Harrah’s would’ve promoted like crazy. Though if Phillips DID get sponsorship from Ford, I hope he got paid up front, as Ford Motor Company might not exist come 2009.

    It’s true that poker isn’t booming like it was three years ago, but that because NOTHING grows at a geometric rate like that for too long. And it’s odd that in an article that tells readers that poker’s popularity is waning the letters “UIGEA” do not appear anywhere, at least not in that order and capitalized. THAT’S the reason why attendance at the Main Event slipped, and that’s a big reason why poker’s momentum in the U.S. was slowed. Let’s see how successful other businesses are after the Federal Government blunders in and tries to make it illegal to spend money on it.

    Poker is still in a Golden Era. Online poker is still going strong, despite the U.S. government’s attempts to throttle it. Vegas has scores of poker rooms and dozens more have opened around the country. TV ratings have flattened but you can still find the WSOP, WPT, and High Stakes Poker on the tube (and, blessedly, shows like “Celebrity Poker Showdown” have been cast into the dumpster). And, most deliciously of all, poker is becoming more and more popular in Europe. And Latin America. And (shudders with delight) Asia. Poker’s Golden Era is over? It hasn’t even BEGUN.

  5. DanM

    ***Is Mike Matusow not a well-known poker star? Allen Cunningham? ***

    I got news for you … no.

    You are not “well known” because you appear on the cover of CardPlayer, Bluff, or AllInRounderAceHighCheapSmut Mag. When you appear on the cover of Time, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Rolling Stone, etc. then you are well known.

    Without a doubt, Mike Matusow and Allen Cunningham are nowhere near Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. At best they are Craig Stadler and Shawn Bradley.

  6. Kevin Mathers

    In your opinion, who are well-known poker stars?

  7. DanM

    Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and maybe Daniel Negreanu.

    Oh, and Amarillo Slim!

  8. Kevin Mathers

    Not Annie Duke?

    Personally, I think you could add Phil Ivey, Chris Moneymaker and Mike Matusow to that list.

  9. Kevin Mathers

    (re: ESPN360 airing final tables) I assume because they didn’t do hole cards, it’s allowed. The tournaments that FSN in Vegas live had a 5 minute delay and were sequestered. At least the WSOP retired the Sequestarium (sp) from last year.

  10. DanM

    OK, maybe Annie Duke. But then you gotta say maybe Greg Raymer, too … and at that point … well then we’re way out of real celebrity territory.

    For a comparison, check out Forbes’ list of Top 100 Celebrities — a ranking based on income, press mentions, TV appearances, and web presence. Not a single poker pro makes that list. I’d bet if they extended it to Top 1000 three or four might just barely qualify.

    As to Phil Ivey, when you think about it, he should be more marketable. But what’s he got beyond a Full Tilt deal? I have a feeling that’s more on him, though. If you disagree with me, I’ll do a separate post on it … but really, when you think of fame potential, probably no one has it more than Ivey … and yet he’s gotta be THE MOST most undermarketed guy in poker. He could get twice what Daniel Negreanu’s got going by working half as hard, imho.

    Michael Jordan, btw, is #18 this year — right ahead of Kobe Bryant and right behind Jennifer Aniston.

  11. Kevin Mathers

    I certainly don’t disagree with that point, if Phil Ivey wanted to be more marketable he’d do it.

  12. Ed

    “Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and maybe Daniel Negreanu.”

    WTF?! Maybe? Maybe?! Get the hell out of here.

  13. Mean Gene

    Well, poker isn’t gonna get people on the cover of Time or Newsweek or, well, People. Neither is Major League Baseball, not these days, unless they’re been implicated in a steroid scandal. It’s true that Phil Hellmuth isn’t nearly as well known as Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan (cut Phil to the quick there) but within the poker world he’s a star, as are Matusow and Negreanu, etc etc. It’s hard to expect a niche sport/game/activity like poker to compete with global superstars.

    Heck, is Sidney Crosby “well-known”? Jimmie Johnson? Evan Longoria? Compared to Tiger Woods, not really, but within their world they are.

  14. DanM

    Good point, Gene. I have no idea who Sidney Crosby is.

    I’m just saying I don’t think it makes much of a difference if the final tableist is Allen Cunningham or Brandon Cantu or Kelly Kim or Mean Gene. (Actually, I take that back … you would be a rage all over the internet if you made the final table.)

    Poker people are going to watch regardless, and to non-poker people it’s all a bunch of no-names either hooking them in or not … but the sheer amount of money being won/played for should at least get mentions in the likes of People, SI, Men’s Journal, etc.

  15. Mean Gene

    If I made the final table, I would get ALL the chicks. Not some. Not most. ALL.