|Index||3 reviews in total|
Pros and amateurs front 100k of their own money to play a cash game at the Golden Nugget, (the players are actually the highest limit regulars from the infamous Bobby's room in the Bellagio, Las Vegas). The show has a lot of potential due to the uniqueness of the cash game vs. tourney play you always see on TV. I like the fact they are using the more popular pro players vs. the cash rich wannabee who can get lucky at times, simply as that. Some of the players you see: Negranu, both Brunsons,Forrest, Harmon, Chan, and Greenstein. these are the true and few real players who get the respect for high stakes. soon to be seen: Ivey, Hanson, Jett, Reese, Farha, Elezra, and many more. hopefully, GSN will finally cash in on this series that the Travel Channel, ESPN, and Bravo have already done with their respectable shows.
Players of the Vegas biggest cash games get the opportunity to show us
what poker is really about. With all the TV tournaments these days
poker has build up an audience and hordes of new players buying in the
big events to shoot the Upper Class of Poker so it's becoming
increasingly difficult for the pros to reach a final table.
Before they had endorsement deals that require them to take care of their media exposure pros were playing big cash games 90% of their time, so at last we got a decent idea of what it is to be a poker pro. $100k minimum buy-in (Daniel Negreanu brought directly $1m to ignite season 1 as he would lose half of it at some point), $50k minimum rebuy, lots of big sharks knowing each other and a couple of lost fishes just trying not to look too bad on camera: this certainly lacks the drama of a tournament with elimination rounds but it is how poker is really played by the best players in the world, i.e. those making a living off their skills, day in day out, month in month out.
It all started at the top with Season 1 but Season 2 was somewhat one cut below: directing and photography lost the focus on the action, too much was made in the editing room about the side talks and the background cameos (really terrible idea to bring out the player's mums). Also the camouflaged cameras where too obvious in the frames so let's say it was a matter of production values loosened by some sitcom production executive. Anyway the commentary by Gabe Kaplan is still the best part of it, even when action slows down: it precisely describes the action thru analyzing what is going on in the players' heads, it's light and funny, daring to make fun of the players and above all it perfectly blends in the action, never overlapping it.
HSP is a very good poker show - different from ESPNs populist (but
still great) coverage of the World Series, HSP is a chance to settle in
and see some of the world's best players playing for cash.
Personally I like the pace it is much more like real live games: quite slow, thoughtful, and you do get a chance to understand plays from out of position, how to trap with small pairs, float betting and other plays that can be tricky.
Of course, it is also entertaining - but HSP fells more serious than a lot of poker shows and it should be praised on that basis alone.
As we approach a new season in 2011 it will interesting to see if Norm MacDonald can do as good a job as Gabe Kaplan - that change as well as the introduction of 3D may be too populist for the core audience but might still leave the casual viewer uninformed.
I hope that this show and Poker After Dark continue - they do provide poker fans with some very solid poker to fill the rest of the year when the WSOP, the National Heads-Up and the PCA aren't underway.
Re-edit: Norm is doing a fine job; still miss Gabe though (is he alright?)
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