Creating Successful Poker Programming

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When poker players' hole cards were finally put on television and then beamed into living rooms around the world, the game changed forever. The modern poker boom began and many of today's top poker pros entered the game. Televised tournaments and cash games are now a staple of broadcasting. Joining the PocketFives.com Podcast this week to talk about the challenges of creating innovative poker programming are World Poker Tour Chairman and original backer Lyle Berman as well as GSN's Vice President of Programming Kevin Belinkoff.

When poker took off on television, it was primarily tournament poker. We looked for a show that was unique and would speak to the poker audience in a way that hadn't been done before. That was the impetus behind 'High Stakes Poker.'

Poker has become a phenomenon on television and every week, you can find top pros and a multitude of Average Joes battling it out on a variety of poker programs. This week, the PocketFives.com Podcast welcomes WPT Chairman of the Board Lyle Berman and GSN Vice President of Programming Kevin Belinkoff, two pioneers in the world of televised poker.

Berman met WPT Founder Steve Lipscomb and Host Mike Sexton in 2002. He commented, "I always envisioned that poker would be popular, which means that enough people would watch it so that it would be economically successful. However, I never imagined it would transform into a worldwide phenomenon. I wish I had because there were other investments we could have made."

Belinkoff remarked on what makes "High Stakes Poker," GSN's flagship poker show, so attractive to viewers: "When poker took off on television, it was primarily tournament poker. We looked for a show that was unique and would speak to the poker audience in a way that hadn't been done before. That was the impetus behind 'High Stakes Poker.'"

Meanwhile, the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker kicked off over the weekend and showcased major online talent, including Scott "dorinvandy" Dorin, who took down the $10,000 No Limit Holdem event for $617,925. Greg "DuckU" Hobson, who once took down Sunday flagship tournaments on Full Tilt Poker on back-to-back weeks, won $459,000 for second place. Fellow PocketFiver Peter "number1pen" Neff finished third for $337K. Glen "Choron" Chorny earned $257K for fourth, while Nick "gbmantis" Niergarth received $180K for fifth. WPT Champion Jonathan "FieryJustice" Little was awarded $107,500 for seventh. "PiKappRaider" outlasted a monster field in the Full Tilt $750K Guaranteed on Sunday to the tune of $135,900; "Kutuz_off" took second for $82K.

This week's PocketFives.com Online Poker Rankings update puts long-time PocketFivers "rusostreet" and Justin "truesyalose" Truesdell back into the Top 100. Justin re-enters after a two-year hiatus from the rankings at #100, while "rusostreet" claims the #94 spot after winning the PokerStars Sunday Second Chance. Greg "DuckU" Hobson comes in at #64 worldwide thanks to his $459K cash in the WCOOP $10K event. "CapTinBisKuiT" continues his tear throughout the high-stakes online tournament world and moves up 14 spots to #33. So far in September, "CapTinBisKuiT" has final table appearances in the Full Tilt $65K and $60K Guaranteed tournaments, along with a win in the PokerStars $100 rebuy. Those three cashes total nearly $50,000 and occurred over the course of a few days. The top two spots held this week, with Alex "AJKHoosier1" Kamberis and Chris "moorman1" Moorman ranked #1 and #2, respectively.

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Maria del Mar Gomez
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