The newest addition to the televised poker line-up will be Poker at Night. The first season of ten episodes was being taped for broadcast on NBC at the South Point Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas this past week. I stopped by for a peek at several of the tapings.
Production staff confirmed that the show remains on track for a Jan. 2nd, 2007 premiere and it will indeed be called Poker After Dark, in fact, way after dark. The schedule is set for 2:05 AM ET/PT, six nights a week. For details on the format of the show see this previous article.
Shana Hiatt, the hostess for the first three seasons of the World Poker Tour has moved over to Poker After Dark with expanded interviewing duties, which include some very interesting chats with the players both at the table and over in the corner of the room between hands. These tidbits will add a lot of 'insider flavor' to the play at the table.
The lineup of players for Poker After Dark is nothing short of the who's who of professional poker, including: Allen Cunningham, Annie Duke, Ted Forrest, Barry Greenstein, Gus Hansen, John Juanda, Erick Lindgren, Huck Seed, Jennifer Tilly and Steve Zolotow. There are several "themed" shows. A Ladies Night, of course, with Jennifer Harman, Dee Luong, Cyndy Violette, Clonie Gowen, Vanessa Rousso and Evelyn Ng. This is what the set looks like.
Then there is a poker commentators show with Mike Sexton, Chad Brown, Howard Lederer, Gabe Kaplan, Michael Konik and Phil Gordon. Yes you can expect the commentators show to be very, very talkative. The hand analysis alone is worth the price of your cable bill for the month.
Speaking of talkative, I watched one of the tapings yesterday with the usually quiet Jennifer Harman, the absolutely silent Erik Seidel and the Master of Brevity Doyle Brunson. However, those three players were balanced or unbalanced by Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak plus a few bottles of Dom Perignon and several White Russian appetizers. I was chatting with Shana Hiatt at the service bar when those orders came in and we just smiled at each other and said: "Well this is going to get a lot more interesting." It did.
Another very enjoyable show to watch for as was the….. well how to name this show… The Boys After Dark? At the table: Tony G., Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth and Sammy Farha. Could it be true that someone actually walked out? Could it be that retiring to the sofa after a bust-out meant you could comment on the action even more loudly? This was a great taping and it definitely a 'don't miss' show.
I mentioned 'themed' shows. Can you guess what this line-up had in common? Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Carlos Mortensen, Chris Ferguson, Chris Moneymaker and Jamie Gold. I promised the producers I would not to give away any of the winners but I think I am going to let this one slip---a WSOP Main Event Champion took this one down.
The Radio Frequency Identification cards are being used in this production, so you will see the player's hole cards graphically on the screen as soon as they are dealt. This innovation makes for great television viewing and it will all be coming your way 'After Dark' right after the New Year.
Ed note: Why wait until after dark? Play poker anytime you like at Ultimate Bet where U.S. players are welcome.