Posts Tagged ‘GSN’

(Mostly) The Real Skinny on the Future of the WPT

Steve Lipscomb speaks of new television partners, revamped biz model, layoffs, etc.

by , Jul 7, 2008 | 4:16 pm


photo: Michele Lewis

WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack and WPT CEO Steve Lipscomb taking in the spectacle of the main event and whatever it may suggest about what’s ahead on the poker horizon.

All WSOP-long I’ve been seeing Lyle Berman and feeling torn between my journalistic ethos and respect for poker etiquette. Here, the guy who has answers to everything everyone wants to know about the future of the World Poker Tour has been anywhere from 10-feet to 100 yards away from me, but I can’t bring myself to approach him mid-tourney or just after a painful bustout to pepper him with questions about whether or not the business he helped build is crumbling. Call me a wussy journo or poker fanboy, but could I really take a chance of putting Mr. Berman on tilt, especially when WPTE stock is trading for less than a dollar a share and he might really need the prize money?

But lo and behold, WPT CEO Steve Lipscomb showed up at the Rio yesterday, and he wasn’t playing! He was just taking his annual tour of the WSOP main event with buddy Jeffrey Pollack … which seemed like a great time to trip him by the shoelaces, pin him down on the ground and shove a recorder in his face while threatening to pop him with a loogie. Alas, no one had a concealed watergun in the pressbox and he was wearing loafers, but still … Lipscomb did sit down with Pokerati for almost a half hour during the main event and give some frank(ish) answers to whatever softballs I could hurl at him.

(NOTE: I didn’t know at the time that the WPT had laid off about 10 people last week and was about to give a few more their walking papers today — but now his comments about hating that part of the job make a little more sense.)

Steve Lipscomb (at the WSOP) on the future of poker and the WPT
June 6, 2008 — Las Vegas

[audio:lipscomb2.mp3]

What you don’t hear below …
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(Way) Outside the WSOP – (Day 25)

by , Jun 23, 2008 | 7:24 am

Recapping last night’s action and previewing today’s tournament at the World Series of Poker, hoping Dan avoids having a similar picture to this taken.

The $2,000 Pot Limit Holdem event was won last night by Belgian player Davidi Kitai as he finally eliminated Chris Bell after almost 200 hands of heads-up play. Kitai wins nearly $250,000 and his first WSOP bracelet, while Bell’s left with $155,000 to attempt and salve his wounds as to what could have been.

The only tournament being held today is the $1,000 Seniors NL Holdem World Championship, for those 50 and over (insert AARP jokes, GSN demo cracks or other old person humor here). Last year’s version drew 1,882 entrants with Ernest Bennett winning the bracelet and nearly $350,000.

Today’s final table and recapping other Sunday action on page 2:

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RE: The Real Skinny on the Future of High Stakes Poker

by , Jun 18, 2008 | 3:55 pm

This is kinda a leftover link (thanks to Short-Stacked Shamus for sending it to me 10 days ago) … but check out the June 5 episode of the Ante Up poker podcast.

About halfway through this episode of the what is clearly the best poker podcast on the Florida gulf coast, Chris and Scott conduct a phone interview with AJ Benza, who I gotta say is pretty damn funny when not in Gabe Kaplan’s shadow. With genuine Brooklyn candor, he discusses not only what he knows about his own show, but also “Doyle Brunson’s tits,” Dustin Diamond as “a misunderstood asshole,” David Goldhill (the new head of GSN), and what it is about High Stakes Poker that works: “Let’s get guys back on TV who drink, smoke, and punch people in the eye.”

Good stuff from Ante Up.

Click here to download/listen to the episode.


The Real Skinny on the Future of High Stakes Poker

by , | 3:18 pm

Despite previous reports suggesting the possibility of otherwise …

High Stakes Poker is not moving to the Golden Nugget — and it hasn’t yet been renewed for a new season. At least not for now on paper in any way. This comes from a well-informed higher-up involved with Poker PROductions — the company that produces both High Stakes Poker and Poker after Dark.

To be clear, HSP has not been canceled … it just hasn’t been renewed yet. You know, fine line, kinda like “collateral damage”/”mass slaughter”. However, hold your breaths, HSP fans … because supposedly a more official announcement about the show’s renewal or lack thereof is coming, in about a week-and-a-half. From whom — GSN, NBC, HSP, Poker PROductions — we’re not so sure.

Where GSN’s relationship with the World Poker Tour fits into all this also is unclear — but obviously a relevant component.

But for now, Poker after Dark is definitely back on … rumored to have a cash game component, too … and will be moving from South Point Casino to the Golden Nugget. But that’s the least surprising, since this show is really a Full Tilt time-buy/infomercial with no reason to go away.

Related:
Rebuy! High Stakes Poker Back in Action? (6/8/08)
High Stakes Poker Canceled? (5/13/08)


GSN to Viewers: Get the Poker While You Can

by , Jun 13, 2008 | 4:38 pm

GSN has issued a press release to pimp their Father’s Day programming. There will be an eight-hour marathon consisting of three two-hour World Poker Tour episodes and ending with the world premiere of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Isn’t this the network that has declined to renew High Stakes Poker and the World Poker Tour? Hypocrital is the word that immediately comes to mind. Watch our great poker shows on Father’s Day, and watch the current season of the WPT on our network, but when it’s over, good luck with that poker fad.

I guess GSN has to get the viewers before all of us downgrade our cable packages after the WPT season is over. I know I’ll save about $20 a month by getting rid of that tier of channels, and though I do love me some nostalgic episodes of Match Game, I’ll gladly say goodbye to GSN for their refusal to consider their loyal poker viewers or give an honest answer about why they’re dropping poker from their line-up.


Deal or No Deal? GSN Says No Deal!

by , Jun 9, 2008 | 9:42 am

GSN let the renewal option for the World Poker Tour’s 7th season lapse on June 7th. There is currently no deal in place, though GSN said it’s still open for discussion, for shows that are scheduled to begin taping with the Bellagio Cup next month.

This doesn’t look good.

See the shareholder notice below:

WPT Enterprises Opens Discussions for Season VII Television Broadcast Rights

GSN Renewal Option Lapsed on June 7

LOS ANGELES, Jun 09, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — WPT Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: WPTE) announced today that GSN’s option for exclusive broadcast of the entire World Poker Tour(R) (WPT) seventh season expired on Saturday.

GSN CEO David Goldhill said, “The World Poker Tour has been a great partner and the show continues to perform strongly on our network. We are continuing discussions with WPTE regarding how we may be able to work together – including perhaps broadcasting parts of Season VII.”

WPTE is currently in discussions with several major networks to broadcast programming from its landmark seventh season, which kicks off July 11 at the prestigious Bellagio in Las Vegas and runs through April 2009.

“We have enjoyed watching the show and our numbers grow on GSN. Our hope is that we can find ways to collaborate with the network long into the future,” said Steve Lipscomb, WPT Founder, President and CEO. “This may allow us the first opportunity to explore diversifying content on multiple networks like most sports leagues. We have already begun those discussions and look forward to making another season of the best and most widely distributed poker programming in the world to our dedicated viewers and fans.”

New Season VI episodes will continue to broadcast Monday nights at 9pm ET/PT on GSN through late August. Encore episodes will continue to broadcast on the network for up to four years. Episodes of seasons II through V currently air on the Travel Channel.


Will the WPT Still Exist in 2009?

Maybe not, according Steve Lipscomb, pizza friends

by , Jun 7, 2008 | 12:24 pm

So the days keep ticking by — May 24, June 1, June 7 … and still no word on the future of the World Poker Tour. The best guess is that the WPT is still trying to renegotiate something with GSN. It’s all a shame, really, not just because once upon a time the WPT did so much for poker, but also because this current season — #6 — is proving to be one of their finest in years. Seriously, have you watched any episodes this season? They’re really good. Loved the set for Turks and Caicos, and the action and commentary on all the other episodes has been significantly better than in previous seasons.

But it may be too little too late according to insider gossip and semi-substantiated rumors. The first piece of evidence we have, of course, is the stock price (WPTE), which is continuously descending beyond its all-time low. $1.16/share=not good.

Now let’s go back to non-poker Christmastime … when the WPT supposedly held some sort of employee-appreciation pizza party, and CEO Steve Lipscomb reportedly told his people that things were not looking good for the WPT — specifically that he wasn’t sure if they’d make it to the end of 2008, and that they might-wanna start looking for other work. Yikes. This information is secondhand rumor from two or more reliable sources, at least one of whom may or may not still be working for the WPT.

CORRECTION: Have crossed out some possibly erroneous info above. Supposedly what Lipscomb really told his people was that 2008 was going to be a “very rough year” … and some in attendance drew those conclusions simply on their knowledge of what it takes to nurse a super-short stack until better cards/times arrive.Crap, there goes my whole premise for this post.

Furthering suspicions, a California headhunter says her office was flooded with resumes from managerial and executive-level employees of the WPT in January of this year. 17+ is the number we’re hearing.

So there you have it — rampant speculation deduced from public information combined with whispers on a semi-informed street suggesting that whatever does or doesn’t happen with GSN, it may be a last-ditch effort to save the show a struggling business. Read into it whatever you must, and in the meantime we’ll keep checking Steve Lipscomb’s blog for an update but won’t expect much …

(Have a look at his fifth most recent comment, from yours truly, left in January ’07. Still waiting for a response …)


WPT/GSN Decision Postponed

by , May 28, 2008 | 1:54 pm

It seems that the WPT/GSN renewal decision has been postponed until June 7th.

As May 24th came and went, no word… but the Poker King reported that WPT Enterprises filed papers with the SEC today to note an amendment to the WPT/GSN agreement. This allows the previous deadline of May 24th to be extended to June 7th.

Completely speculative reasons (multiple choice):

A. WPT and GSN executives simply too busy to discuss minor details like TV show contracts
B. GSN wants to pay less money or dump the show; WPT needs more time to negotiate
C. WPT is not being picked up and wants to wait until after the WSOP begins in order to fade the news
D. WPT and GSN are in the middle of a love fest; GSN is throwing wads of cash at WPT, too much to have counted by May 24


High Stakes Poker Canceled?

by , May 13, 2008 | 11:36 am

It seems that way. The show that pioneered Poker on TV 2.0 hasn’t filmed a new season for ’08 — they usually did so in March or April, I believe — and there seem to be no plans to do so any time soon. Reliable sources tell us:

Far as Gabe and I know….the show isnt coming back. Apparently…the network is going to go in a different direction and that aint good news for our show, especially since we skew a higher-aged audiuence. Never mind that we’re the network’s No. 1 show. Still and all, no one calls us from the network to say squat. Only Kevin Bellincoff checks in periodically, but it just don’t seem like good news. If you ask me…they’re treating us like shit. All we ever did was make them a bunch of money.

Wow, so there you have it. I also remember seeing promos for a cool new show where some pros crashed a home game, MTV-style, and covered the action with hole-card cams and presumably rawer HSP-style banter. Was looking forward to it — damn, can’t remember its name — but supposedly that show had inked a two-year deal with GSN. But haven’t seen that show pimped in weeks.

NOTE: GSN seems to have seriously downgraded the High Stakes Poker web presence, too.


I Want My Tom TV!

by , Apr 13, 2008 | 8:38 pm

NBC Heads-Up Championship was on today. Did anyone see it? I saw about 10 minutes of it — but I blinked so I missed Tom.

However, interestingly, I was watching it with a non-poker-player … and he was a little confused, thinking it was live. He seemed a little disturbed when I explained it was shot like 6 weeks ago or so. Then, unsolicited from me, he said, “Why don’t they show poker live? That would totally be sick. I would really get into it if it [were] live.”

“What you are saying is more interesting than you realize,” I said. “It’s kinda a hot topic right now.”

“So you already know the winner of this?” I nodded and he changed the channel to hockey.

Tomorrow be sure to watch the World Poker Tour on GSN. Tom is back to his old tricks finishing in fourth place and getting a full 10 seconds of TV time.


Re: Downsizing the WPT

by , Feb 12, 2008 | 3:08 pm

From the looks of the press release that just came in, all is well in WPTville. At first glance I thought I was gonna have to do an, “Oops, we were wrong!” post … but then I realized this is simply announcing the TV schedule for Season 6 — on GSN instead of the Travel Channel — and not anything about upcoming events for Season 7.

Will be interesting to see what effect the move to GSN has on WPT ratings and revenues … and can only guess that the bosses at WPT are thinking the same thing. At a minimum they have made it easy to compare, as last year’s sked seems rather robust:

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New Game 4 HSP totally unkewl

by , Aug 14, 2007 | 1:09 am

Is anyone else watching reruns of High Stakes Poker right now? They’ve got some newfangled “Do you want this card?” text thingy where you can text-message in some card you may or may not want to see for an undisclosed charge to your cell phone bill.

So what’s the over/under on how long it stays, and whether or not it will reappear when Season Four begins airing later this month? Like seriously, is GSN’s greed in making a few extra cents off the text-horny worth ruining the best poker show on TV? Apparently so, because they’ve given whateverdafug game they are inviting you to play prime real estate on the screen — it covers up the chips and fingers handling them, and the side-game cards they’ve added are bigger than the real hole cards being shown.

Terrible.

UPDATE: It’s called “High Stakes Poker – Play like a Pro.”

Still annoying.