At the beginning of the month, the 24/7 poker network Poker Central launched on streaming services Roku, Amazon Fire and Xbox One, with plans to introduce additional partners in the coming weeks and months.
"We are focused on delighting our viewers and business partners," Poker Central CEO Clint Stinchcomb told PokerNews. "We hope to one day see Poker Central carried in over 200 countries, which is nearly the extent of the television world."
Poker Central may still be in its infancy, but if anyone is able to grow it by leaps and bounds, it's the executive team Stinchcomb, who started working in the television network business in 1992, has assembled including Head of Distribution Sid Eshleman, who has spent the last 12 years as SVP of Distribution for Time Warner; Head of Programming Dan Russell, who has led programming for four different TV networks; Head of Marketing Alena Charles; Sam Simmons, resident expert of social marketing and promotion; COO Michael Boyd; press relations specialists Sandra Yacura and Annie Howell; and Head of Ad Sales Joe Kakaty.
Pokerography: The Story of Phil Hellmuth is an exciting glimpse into the unique and original content that Poker Central will bring to poker fans.
Speaking of advertisements, Poker Central has secured several for the channel including Amazon, DraftKings and Dollar Shave Club.
"I’ve had the great fortune to help launch several networks. I have seen a lot of 24/7 network ideas and a lot of business plans. In 2003, our Poker Central Head of Programming, Dan Russell, embraced the then radical idea of running World Poker Tour on Travel Channel. It took off like a rocket ship and transformed — and some might say saved — the Travel Channel which, at that point, was in free fall.
"As participation and enthusiasm in poker is greater than golf and tennis combined, I knew it deserved its own dedicated channel. In the summer of 2014 we began developing and acquiring content. Over the next several months we put together an all-star management team that we believe will lead to long-term success."
Part of plan to accomplish their goals is for Poker Central to develop original content, including Matt Savage's Inside Poker, and Stinchcomb's personal favorite, Pokerography, a biography series of the world’s greatest and most notable pros.
"Pokerography takes an in-depth look into the lives of some of the greatest poker professionals to ever play the game," Stinchcomb explained. "Each episode will explore the individual behind the legend in their own words. Interviews with family, friends, professional rivals, and expert poker-analysts dig deeper into their legacies. Professional players to be featured include Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Laak, Michael Mizrachi, Chris Moneymaker, Erik Seidel, Vanessa Selbst, Jennifer Harman, Mike Sexton and Jason Somerville. It will premiere in first quarter 2016."
Speaking of Pokerography, Poker Central recently announced that the first episode will feature Hellmuth. What's more, a special sneak peek of Pokerography: The Story of Phil Hellmuth will air on October 18 at 8 p.m. ET and feature exclusive interviews with the "Poker Brat" himself and with those who know him best, including his parents and former opponents.
"Pokerography: The Story of Phil Hellmuth is an exciting glimpse into the unique and original content that Poker Central will bring to poker fans,” added Russell. "Pokerography, the series, is just one way that the network will help our viewers get to know the players behind the poker faces."
While viewers wait for that special airing, they can enjoy a slew of other shows running now on Poker Central. For a full look at what programming is available, click here.
"The major challenges were, and will continue to be for the next several years, delivering great content that increases viewers, grows distribution and builds great advertising partnerships," Stinchcomb admitted. "This trifecta is true for any new network. We are acutely focused on these areas."
For those who would like to see Poker Central expanded to their cable or satellite provider, Stinchcomb encourages you to let your distributor know.
"We will be making that effort very simple via pokercentral.com," he concluded.
*Lead photo c/o Poker Central Twitter.