Writer’s Note: The first season of “Poker Night in America” has now concluded, with another year of new programs soon shifting to Monday nights. What follows is my look back on the first season of broadcasts, including some of my fondest memories and biggest disappointments of 2014.
What has working on “Poker Night in America” taught me?
Answer: A lot, including things I didn’t expect.
I learned it’s relatively easy to film a television show. But it’s far more difficult to create a good poker show on television.
So, what’s the difference? What this means is, the mechanics of filming a poker game are relatively simple. A group of players are placed on a set. Hang up some lights. Position the cameras. Hire some people who know what they’re doing. And there you have it, a poker show!
Then, the work really begins.
[The entire production crew at “Poker Night in America” just called me a slew of curse words for trivializing their work]
In her utterly embarrassing and thoroughly discredited appearance on Mike Huckabee’s FOX News program earlier this week, former Sen. Blanche Lincoln made our task way too easy.
The former senator from Arkansas made so many inaccurate statements and committed such a multitude of factual blunders that conspiracy theorists might reasonably suspect she’s actually a plant working for the other side.
Phil Hellmuth Crowned Main Event Champion in Pittsburgh at the Rivers Casino
Another Star-Studded Cash Game Filmed for “Poker Night in America”
Pittsburgh, PA (Nov. 17) — By any measure, it’s been an eventful week for Phil Hellmuth, Jr., best known as the 1989 world poker champion and the all-time leader in WSOP gold bracelet wins.
He began his Sunday night in Las Vegas, by giving the induction speech for the legendary Jack McClelland, who was officially inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
The following two days, he spent several hours appearing on national television as part of ESPN’s coverage team for the World Series of Poker championship finale.
Then, it was off to Pittsburgh for an appearance on “Poker Night in America,” which is broadcast weekly on CBS Sports. Hellmuth played in the televised cash game for two full days, which was also shown via live stream.
Earlier tonight, I had the great honor of emceeing this year’s annual Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
I’m deeply grateful to Ty Stewart and Seth Palansky (from Caesars Entertainment) for being chosen by them to host the event and for being permitted to stand along with so many poker legends, both past and present.
The Class of 2014 was comprised to two inductees — Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu. Both of these exceptional gentlemen have contributed to the game immensely in different ways — McClelland primarily as a tournament official and industry leader, and Negreanu as a poker player and ambassador. I was pleased to see quite contrasting individuals honored in this way, which reveals there are many ways to be successful, have an impact, and make the game better. Both honorees have done exactly that, and more.
The night was made even more special because we all returned to the hallowed “place that made poker famous” (that’s the casino’s catchy tagline). Binion’s Gambling Hall (formally Binion’s Horseshoe) rolled out the red carpet for everyone who attended, hosting the gathering inside what used to be known as Benny’s Bullpen. Now, it’s called the Longhorn Room. My deepest thanks goes to Michelle, Paul, Jerry, Brad, and all the other fine people working at Binion’s who helped put the evening together, and who keep the tradition alive.