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Poker Central has been charting new territory in the world of poker programming since its inception. Not only did it gather up all of the best poker shows from the past decade for its catalog, the executives worked with ARIA in Las Vegas to broadcast the exciting Super High Roller Bowl and produce other new shows about poker personalities and legends of the game.

Some of the latest developments to expand Poker Central’s reach included signing Maria Ho, Brian Rast, and Tom Marchese to be company ambassadors and launching an app with access to the content library. Pokerography is a hit show and well into its second season of broadcasts, and Live at the Bike is a popular live cash game show straight from Los Angeles. Oh, and let’s not forget the popular social media contests that allow players to get to know the pros and ask questions of some of their favorite players.

The latest press release offered several bits of new information, and we talked to Poker Central President Joe Kakaty about some of them.

Big Numbers Drive Big Moves

The recent broadcasts of the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl set records. Not only were there 1.1 million total views and 850,000 unique visitors to the Twitch and Douyu TV live streams, but the numbers actually broke a Twitch record for concurrent viewership of a live poker stream.

The other show that is doing extremely well on Poker Central is Pokerography, which gives viewers insight into the lives of popular professional players. Season 2 lists Jennifer Tilly, Jason Mercier, Maria Ho, Liv Boeree, Johnny Chan, and Brian Rast among its featured pros. As Kakaty explained, “Each episode explores the individual behind the legend — in their own words and through others. Detailed interviews from poker’s greatest champions reveal their fascinating backstories while interviews with family, friends, rivals, and expert analysts dig deep into their legacies.”

With those kinds of successes, Poker Central announced that more shows are in the works. And even more, the company is investing in new studios in Las Vegas and New York.

New Hires for Digital Launch

New digital programming leads to the need for a new digital launch, which is planned to happen before the end of this year. And to assist in that expansion, Poker Central hired two new members of the team.

Justin Lundstrom is the new Head of Production and Programming. He came to Poker Central from Complex Media, where he directed the video production and operations, ultimately increasing that output 20 times. He also produced a film recently featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

Carl Marxer is the new Director of Creative Services, and he will primarily oversee animation and brand graphics. His background includes working with VICE, Viceland TV, MLB Network, CNN and Back9 golf network.

Kataky explained how these gentlemen’s contributions will be noticed by the viewers. “Justin and Carl are creators of extraordinary films, videos, and TV shows. They are a powerhouse team with the expertise to create compelling and stunning footage that will make poker fascinating — even to those who never play.”

Further, Kataky says reaching out to that broader audience is more than a goal; there is a strategy in place to do it. “Poker Central won’t just be talking about the latest poker hand and its odds. Poker Central will be about the poker lifestyle — the fun, the excitement, the international travel in exotic places, the VIP lifestyle, and the quirky and humorous stories that make up the crazy word of poker.”

With that, there will be new offerings on the network that include live events, episodic web series, daily short-form news, and what Kataky called “edgy content.” “It will be a unique mix of a variety of new and fresh poker content.”

Previously-Elusive Advertisers

Where many poker shows failed in the past was in the lack of mainstream advertising and the ability to partner with companies that previously wouldn’t have wanted to sponsor a poker tournament or game show or poker-focused documentary. Poker Central has changed that.

Amazon has already been on board with the network and will continue to be. Head of Amazon Mobile eSports Media and Content noted, “We’ve been impressed with Poker Central’s reach since day one, especially with the elusive millennial poker fan, whose demo overlaps closely with gamer fans. We are certainly looking forward to expanding our relationship with Poker Central next year.”

But that is not all. Kataky told PokerUpdate that numerous other companies are happy with the results of previous advertising partnerships with the network. They include Dollar Shave Club, Pizza Hut, Anheuser-Busch, and Machine Zone, the latter of which is the developer of Game of War and Mobile Strike.

With these types of relationships — and more likely to be announced — it is no wonder Poker Central has found success thus far and continues to expand. And poker fans have much more to look forward to as it all happens in the months and years to come.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.

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