Excuse me while I shift into relentless brag mode.
“Poker Night in America”is on a rush right now (that’s a whimsical play on words, since we’re owned by Rush Street Productions).
The popular television show loaded with original content began airing on Sunday nights nearly 14 months ago. New broadcasts currently appear on Monday nights in prime time (1o pm EST), with re-runs sporadically scattered the rest of the week, as well. The PNIA crew has not only successfully conceptualized, filmed and produced a brand new 30-minute show every single week (for nearly 60 consecutive weeks — and counting!), they’re now getting ready to ramp up production even further and expand into new territory. More details about the latest venture, a new weekly television series called“Poker Night: The Tour”will be announced shortly.
In the meantime, August will cap a phenomenal summer for the cast, crew, players, and viewers of PNIA. Two enormously successful events wrapped up filming within the past two weeks, and two more innovative new shows are scheduled to switch into production later this month. Not content to remain still and air the same concepts over and over, PNIA is determined to take some risks, push our boundaries, and hopefully boost mainstream interest in televised poker, and create greater enthusiasm for the game overall.
Jennifer Shahade, a two-time United States Women’s Chess Champion, and now the winner of BARGE XXV
This past week, I attended BARGE 2015, held in Las Vegas.
B.A.R.G.E. is actually an acronym meaning “Big August Recreational Gambling Excursion,” a name sounding a bit pompous and pretty like a weekend gambling junket, which I’m told is precisely what it once was when it first began 25 years ago. This eclectic group comprised of both men and women skews somewhat older now than when it was initially made up of lots of Silicon Valley types in their late 20’s. Today, BARGE includes loyal attendees ranging from 21 up well into their 70’s. It’s an astounding makeup of highly-interesting and supremely talented people from all over North America, who also know how to have fun both at the poker table, and just about anywhere else for that matter. BARGE attendees never ask where the party or the action is taking place. They are the party and provide the action, wherever they go. Make that — wherever we go.
In today’s column, I’d like to tell you a bit more about BARGE, including some of the unique history of this group as well as my personal experience from this past week. Unfortunately, lack of time and space makes this a writing exercise in futility since I’m hardly scratching the surface. Indeed, what follows is merely one card from a far more extensive full deck loaded with memories and stories.
This annual gathering of great minds and provocative speakers comes across as both magnificently entertaining and highly informative. At times, it’s even transformative. This marks the second year that I’ve attended. There have been 13 annual gatherings held here in Las Vegas, dating back to 2003.
Oh, What a Night! Amazing cast of poker characters — including Tony Hachem, Shane Warne, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Brian Rast, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and his Dad, me on the bottom left, and lots of others cool people, too. At the SECOND BEST dinner I attended at the 2015 WSOP What was the best? Read on….
Writer’s Note: First in a series of I don’t know how many articles.
Between May 26 and July 15, I worked 51 consecutive days and nights at the 2015 World Series of Poker.
And I have it easy. Just ask the immigrant who works outdoors and picks lettuce 345 days a year.
Such a schedule might seem excessively long, and it certainly provided yet another annual test of commitment and fortitude, an arduous ordeal which feels slightly tougher each year, first because my boss Caesar keeps on adding more and more gold bracelet events to cover (we hit 68 this year, an all-time high), but fatigue far better explained by losing sight of the evanescent signpost reading “you were once age 50” now a distant blur in the rear-view mirror.
That said, I have a bold confession to make. Yes, I do put in long hours. But I also enjoy some ridiculously long dinner breaks. As the saying goes — work hard, play harder.
Writer’s Note: The views expressed are strictly my own and do not reflect the opinions nor the positions of the World Series of Poker, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, or the Rio Las Vegas.
I like “Oklahoma Johnny” Hale. I respect Mr. Hale. I think Mr. Hale has done a lot of good things for poker.
At age 88, he doesn’t quite get around as well as in his younger days. But Mr. Hale remains mentally sharp as a tack and personifies the prevailing wisdom we all should follow that one doesn’t ever retire from the activities he enjoys and values in life.
Earlier today, Mr. Hale gave his usual opening remarks just prior to the start of the Seniors Championship, here at the 2015 World Series of Poker. These festivities tend to be considerably longer than normal since there’s some period of reflection, including a poignant moment of remembrance for all the poker greats who are now gone, as well as patriotic fanfare connected to an age group sometimes best described as “the greatest generation.”