A televised poker cash game in which top pros including Sam Farha, Doyle Brunson, and Johnny Chan compete. This is not a tournament however, each player is playing with their own money and they have the option to buy in again.
High Stakes Poker may be the best poker show on television, but Poker After Dark is not far behind it. The format is basically a $20,000 buy-in 6-person No-Limit Holdem tournament. What makes PAD stand out from other shows is 1) its slow blind structure; and 2) the fact that it shows almost every hand played.
First, the blind structure. Everyone starts out 100xBB deep, and the blind levels take their time to go up. What this means is that there is plenty of room to play post-flop/turn/river, especially during the early stages. Contrast this to the World Poker Tour final tables, where the short stacks are so short and the blinds rise so fast that the game degenerates into an all-in crapshoot.
Second, you get to see almost every hand. This is extremely valuable as a learning tool, since not only do you get to see how each player adjusts their strategy at each stage of play (e.g. loosening up as you get short-handed), but also because you get to experience the same thought processes as the players based on earlier hands (this guy has been raising my blind every time, I'm going to take a stand).
The only disadvantage to this is that at times, the show can get slow-paced, especially if the players are really nitty (a lot of raise and take it, no flop) or when they are not that talkative. The best episodes are definitely the ones where most of the players are world-class LAGs and/or chatterboxes.
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