While Black Friday seriously affected online poker play for millions of U.S. players, it also killed several poker television shows that had gained a loyal following of viewers.
With online poker and gambling legislation slowly spreading throughout the U.S., the time seems right for the launch of a new concept in poker broadcasting. Stepping in to fill the void will be a “one-of-a-kind TV poker experience” entitled Poker Night in America (PNIA).
The brainchild of Todd Anderson, who co-founded the popular Heartland Poker Tour that is aired on Sunday evenings in the U.S., Poker Night in America promises to take a unique look at televised poker action.
“We are looking to film the biggest and the best poker events at premier venues,” Anderson said. “We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how poker is shown on TV, making the show relevant to the average viewer. We think the world is ready to watch poker in a whole new way.”
Other than the game itself, PNIA plans to emphasize variety, story telling and fun entertainment to engage viewers. In addition to airing events that feature professional poker players and celebrities, PNIA will also allow interaction with players at home that will award prizes and TV appearances to winners.
“One week you might see a celebrity-filled poker game from a Hollywood mansion and the next week could feature a high stakes cash game between poker heavyweights like Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu,” Anderson said. “What you’ll always be able to count on is interesting story lines and variety. We’ll only be limited by our imagination.”
The first event scheduled to be aired is the Empire State Poker Classic on August 10. Hosted by the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, the tourney features a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000, with an entry fee of $1,650. While Anderson’s Rush Street productions will film the tournament in August, the broadcast won’t be shown on TV until early 2014.
“We are looking forward to hosting the first Poker Night in America,” Turning Stone Director of Poker Operations Jason DiBenedetto said. “It’s also a great opportunity to go beyond the walls of our casino and promote our property to a TV audience.”
Four additional events will be filmed this year, also to be aired next year. For more information and to keep abreast of the goings on at PNIA, check out the website at www.pokernight.com.