February 18, 2010

Televised Poker...

I just spent a bit of my evening watching some televised poker (I quit watching the Liverpool game at half time. Perhaps I'm not the die-hard fan I thought. It was just depressing...). I watched the first episode of the new series of High Stakes Poker, and also the first episode of the WSOP-E 2009 coverage (well, the first episode of the coverage that wasn't the lets-make-a-meaningless-tournament-for-the-sake-of-TV Caeser's Cup).

High Stakes Poker realllllllly missed AJ Benza. There was a bit of an outcry when it was reported he had been dropped a few months back, a petition on the 2+2 Forums was even started. At the time, I didn't think it would matter that much, perhaps because AJ lacked a little in the poker-knowledge department. However, having watched the first episode, it is abundantly clear how much the show misses him. The banter he had with Gabe Kaplan was always entertaining, and he added an extra element to the show, as well as perhaps bringing out the best in Gabe.

I watch a lot of wrestling (yes, make fun...) and you don't realise how important the commentary is until you hear it done badly. Wrestling would be so much less watch-able with one commentator, and when the commentary team is especially good, it makes the program so much more enjoyable than when they are bad. If you happen to watch WWE, you will know that certain partnerships just work, and the best commentary teams of recent times; Michael Cole/JBL, Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler and Todd Grisham/Matt Striker make it clear that the current Raw commentary team of Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler is killing the show.

Perhaps I'm going off on a tangent, but I don't see why the had to get rid of AJ. Okay, they've brought in poker hottie Kara Scott, but her role in the show is unrelated, and they could quite happily have just added her to the proven team of Gabe & AJ. Classic phrase of if it isn't broke, don't fix it definitely applies here, and having searched out the link for the purposes of this blog entry, I took the time to post on the 2+2 petition. I'm sure it will have little affect, but here's hoping the producers do a U-Turn for season 7.


The first episode of High Stakes poker was only notable for the complete blow-up of "The Poker Brat" Phil Hellmuth. He featured in both the poker programs I watched tonight, and he literally mis-played every single hand he played in both programs. I realise I have achieved 0.0% of what Hellmuth has in poker, so perhaps I shouldn't comment, but on the basis of the hands I saw tonight, he has become something of a donkey.

It seems he is really prone to steaming, and he basically got felted in HSP because he felt he was being bullied early. This led him to make a ridiculous 4-bet with AJ off, and then got way too involved with weak hands and then...busto. He also donked off all his chips in the WSOPE Main Event, my favourite being him calling down every street on on a Js 8s x x As board with 78 of clubs against KK. Wp Phil. He would have been felted in that too had he not hit a gutshot with T7 vs 9T on a 69T board having raised in early position having previously steamed off 2/3 of his chips. Wp Phil.

This early episode of the WSOPE was pretty dull, although did feature an insane hero call by Chrstian Harder against Andy Black, who had fired three barrels with A7 offsuit on a board that ended up 843T9, finally moving all-in with a 3rd spade hitting the river. Harder called with 86 offsuit to win a ~130k pot at something like the 100/200 level. Crazy.


I have a sweet set-up that allows me to watch stuff like this on my big screen TV downstairs. For poker shows The Poker Bay is a great resource for pretty much any poker that has ever been televised. So I download the torrents from there using uTorrent. I then move the completed file onto my network hard drive. Then, I watch them on my TV by using WDTV Live (although for any non-HD content, you can also use a PS3 or X-Box). So not only can you watch stuff at your convenience, the adverts are all nicely edited out for you as well.

Anyways, I've rambled on about TV poker to make a pretty decent (sized) blog entry. I said in my last blog post that I would talk about how my poker coaching (which is going very well), but have decided to use that as the content for my next PokerNews UK column so will be writing that up very soon. I also mentioned my new monitor, but I'll save that for next time and post a couple of pictures of my poker-set-up at my new house.

I don’t really want to go into how poker is going because I’m running so ridiculously good that it’s almost embarrassing. I side-stepped the F40 SNGs I talked of in my last post because the structure was just too slow, and the games filled with too many regs, for it to be worth it. Although it would be nice to think I'm not running above expectation, I pretty much have to be. Am waiting for the inevitable brutal downswing to make up for a couple of sickly good days I've had recently. Perhaps I subconsciously took the day off today to give the Poker Gods extra time to forget how good I've been running recently so that don't press the dreaded Doom-Switch on me!

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5 Comments to "Televised Poker..."

Joppa Road said...

Hi James, for some reason yours is the only real hard core poker blog I read. I mean I tend to not really be into reading blogs where the main focus is poker but yours I like.

Speaking of wrestling commentary, I am not sure if you remember Gorilla Monsoon but when I watched it in 87/88 him and Mean Gene along with Jesse Ventura used to do an excellent job. When I see the old footage I get a warm feeling. I read this week Gorilla died a few years back but he was great.

I too find myself watching WWE with my boy these days but it doesn't hold the same interest. Alot of the humour and cheesyness seems to have gone out if it which I think is a bad thing. I mean my fav used to be the Honky Tonk Man but dressing like Elvis and being slightly over weight just wouldn't cut it these days.

James Atkin said...

Hey man, thanks for reading ;)

Monsoon/Ventura were a little before my time, but have heard them on retro stuff. The problem with WWE these days is that it has become very stale/samey. The wrestlers are literally trained to do the same stuff. They will sign someone exciting from another promotion, and then "re-train" them the WWE way to be essentially more boring.

WWE gets by on the glitz and glamour, core wrestling by the best ppl(HBK, Jericho, Orton, Mysterio etc), and the occasional shock.

Did you see Santino Marella have a little thing with the Honky Tonk Man a couple of years ago? lol...

Joppa Road said...

I have only just started watching it again over the last few months. Having said that my boy and I have seen all the main events like Survivor Series (they are axing that) Hell in a Cell & Royal Rumble.

It does have the same fun side to it though IMO.

If you haven't seen it I recommend you watch the documentary The Rise and Fall of ECW. Absolutely brilliant and a must for a wrestling fan. Shame what happened to that in the end.

FutureInsights said...

I've noticed it for quite some time - usually Poker After Dark, that Hellmuth SUCKS at cash games. I really enjoy reading your posts BTW.

As for the changing of the guard for HSP, maybe they think females attract more audiences (doesn't work for me, I'm female).

Personally (and see the above paragraph), I've never enjoyed wrestling, even the dressed up showy kind. So don't have much to comment on that.

Daly said...

Lol i thought i was the only sad bastard who watched wrestling still.... you guys need to check out TNA, Ric Flair and Hogan wrestling still both over 60 - ruined legacys no doubt