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Poker television programs

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Poker television programs have been extremely popular in the last several years, especially in North America and Europe. This has especially become the case since the invention of the “pocket cam” in 1997 (and its first use in the United States in 2002), wherein viewers at home can see what each player has.

History

Poker has been appearing on television somewhat regularly since the late-1970s. In the United States, ESPN started airing the World Series of Poker (WSOP) as an annual one hour event around this time. For many years, the coverage was less than robust because viewers at home could not see what cards the players had. Instead, the coverage essentially involved the commentators guessing what cards the players had.

This all changed in 1997 with the introduction of the hole cam in Europe and later introduction into the United States in 2002. The hole cam was patented by WSOP bracelet winner Henry Orenstein and first used in the Late Night Poker television series. It was used again in the inaugural Poker Million tournament in 2000 which boasted the attraction of the first £1,000,000 poker game on live television.

The usage of the hole cam expanded from Europe to North America in 2002 when it was first used in the coverage of the 2002 WSOP. The World Poker Tour (WPT) was formed later that year and began airing in 2003, attracting numerous new poker fans and leading to increased numbers of entrants to live poker tournaments and increased investment in online poker.

Since the introduction of the hole cam, poker has become almost ubiquitous in the US and Europe. Whilst poker started on sports channels such as ESPN and Sky Sports has expanded to such “non traditional” networks as Bravo and GSN. Most of the shows that shown are poker tournaments with the exception of GSN’s “High Stakes Poker”, which shows a never ending cash game. All of the poker programs make heavy use of the aforementioned pocket cam plus a general format of a “straightman” and a “comedian” type, often a poker pro.

Poker’s growth in Europe led to the creation of two FTA channels: The Poker Channel and Pokerzone. Both began broadcasting during 2005.

Poker television programs

North America

  • World Series of Poker
    CBS;
    ESPN
    1978-1981, 1983;
    1987 onwards1
    Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
  • United States Poker Championship
    ESPN
    1997-2000;
    2003 onwards
    Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
  • World Poker Tour
    The Travel Channel;
    GSN
    2003-2007;
    2008 onwards
    Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten
  • Celebrity Poker Showdown
    Bravo
    2003 onwards
    Dave Foley and Phil Hellmuth
  • Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament
    Fox Sports Net
    2004 onwards
    Chris Rose and Howard Lederer
  • Ultimate Poker Challenge
    syndication
    2004 onwards
    Chad Brown and weekly guest
  • Poker Royale
    GSN
    2004-2006
    John Ahlers and Robert Williamson III
  • High Stakes Poker
    GSN
    2006 onwards
    A.J. Benza and Gabe Kaplan
  • Professional Poker Tour
    The Travel Channel
    2006 onwards
    Matt Corboy and Mark Seif
  • National Heads-Up Poker Championship
    NBC
    2005 onwards
    Matt Vasgersian and Gabe Kaplan
  • Poker Dome Challenge
    Fox Sports Net
    2006
    Barry Tompkins and Michael Konik
  • Poker After Dark
    NBC
    2007
    Shana Hiatt and Oliver Nejad
  • Pro-Am Poker Equalizer
    ESPN
    2007
    Phil Gordon

Europe

  • Late Night Poker
    Channel 4 (UK)
    Fox Sports Net (US)
    1999-2002, 2006 onwards
    Jesse May and Barny Boatman (final season)
  • Poker Million
    Sky Sports
    2000, 2003 onwards
    Jesse May and John Duthie
  • World Heads-Up Poker Championship
    Unknown
    2001 onwards
    Unknown
  • Celebrity Poker Club
    Challenge (UK)
    2003 onwards
    Jesse May and Victoria Coren
  • European Poker Tour
    Channel 4 (UK)
    2004 onwards
    Colin Murray and John Duthie
  • Victor Chandler Poker Cup
    Sky Sports
    2004 onwards
    Jesse May and Barny Boatman
  • The Gaming Club World Poker Championship
    Sky Sports
    2004
    Unknown
  • British Poker Open
    The Poker Channel
    2005 onwards
    Unknown
  • World Speed Poker Open
    The Poker Channel
    2005 onwards
    Gary Jones, Roy Brindley, Lucy Rokach
  • Late Night Poker Ace
    Channel 4 (UK)
    2005 onwards
    Jesse May and Simon Trumper
  • PartyPoker Poker Den
    Challenge (UK)
    2005 onwards
    Grub Smith and Tony Cascarino
  • William Hill Poker Grand Prix
    Sky Sports
    2006 onwards
    Jesse May, Andrew Black, Lucy Rokach
  • Poker Nations Cup
    Channel 4 (UK)
    2006 onwards
    Jesse May, Barny Boatman and Padraig Parkinson
  • PartyPoker.com Football & Poker Legends Cup
    Five (UK)
    2006 onwards
    Jesse May, Padraig Parkinson and Ken Lennaárd
  • Pokerheaven.com Online Series of Poker
    CNBC
    2006 onwards
    Unknown
  • Pokermania
    Italia 1 (Italy)
    2007 onwards
    Ciccio Valenti and Luca Pagano

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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