Over the last few weeks, you have heard about the pending launch of Poker Central. This network will be the first to offer 24/7 poker programming to fans around the world. It will not just merely rehash past poker programming but also offer fresh, cutting-edge programming not typically seen on TV.
I’m personally looking forward to the launch of Poker Central as it has the ability to do so much more than merely provide fans with their daily poker fix. It can grow the game, create new superstars and maybe even give some love to some overlooked poker variants.
Network Has the Ability to Create New Superstars
I’m really looking forward to seeing the players that Poker Central chooses to feature in their biographies and the players they choose to use in their original programming. The World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker was able to make pros into superstars following the Poker Boom and Poker Central can do the same for the current pros that may have been overlooked thanks to Black Friday.
The limited amount of poker programming in the United States has limited the exposure to many pros that would have certainly found their way into the spotlight were it not for Black Friday.
Poker Central can also focus more on online players that we may not have heard of through traditional poker programming. Documentaries and biography programs surrounding poker wouldn’t have garnered the rating required to be shown on other standard channels. This opens the door to feature players you would never see on standard programs and to show the online game in a way never featured in the past.
Network is Negreanu Approved – What’s His Role?
The million-dollar question leading up to Poker Central’s launch is Daniel Negreanu’s role with the network. Negreanu has been very active in hyping the network, regularly tweeting about the network and almost working as impromptu spokesman for the network through his Twitter account.
Does Daniel have a piece of the network or is he merely doing this through his general ambassadorship of the game? Nobody would fault Poker Central if they added Daniel to their management team or allowed him to buy-in to the network.
When new franchises open in professional sports, it is the dream of the owner to pick up the best player in the game in order to build their team around. Daniel would certainly qualify as one of, if not the best player in the game. Why not bring him into the fray?
Of course, another angle could be that PokerStars is heavily involved in the project. This would also make perfect sense. A heavy PokerStars prescience would automatically involve Daniel. Some of Poker Central’s recent tweets definitely make this seem like a possibility:
The third option is that he is merely doing this because he loves the game and wants to grow it. Poker Central certainly has the ability to grow the game and so anything that Daniel can do to help the network will help the game, and ultimately his bottom line.
Let’s Educate the Masses on Regulation
One of my hopes for Poker Central is that they will dedicate a portion of their programming to furthering poker regulations efforts worldwide. Starting with the U.S. market and expanding globally, Poker Central has the ability to educate voters and perhaps even influence lawmakers as they decide live and online poker policy around the globe.
Why focus on educating the public about regulation? If you were to ask the average poker fan in the United States, a good number would be unable to tell you the states where online poker is legal. Others would be unable to tell you the issues surrounding why regulation is needed. This despite the fact that relatively well known figures in American politics such as Ron Paul have already been advocating for the poker community:
There are others that may know that regulation is needed and even why, but aren’t quite motivated to act to help bring about change. This is where Poker Central can help. They can educate the masses on all the issues surrounding regulation and even motivate players and fans to act on behalf of the game.
The game will have an international platform with Poker Central, so why not use it to educate with the goal of bringing out positive change for the game.
Let’s Give Mixed Games Some Love
I’m hopeful that Poker Central will abandon the concept that Texas Hold’em and PL Omaha are the only games worth televising. Since 2006, mixed games have exploded in popularity and it is a shame that there isn’t programming dedicated to them.
I know, cue the “mixed games don’t get ratings” whining that we hear from ESPN. There is a segment of players that would religiously watch these games if they were offered, including myself.
Texas Hold’em is the king of poker and nothing is going to change that. It is not the only game in town. Let’s throw in some Stud, split pot games, Triple Draw, Badugi or general rotation games. Show the masses that there are other games out there and help grow those games:
ESPN used to offer a solid mix of poker variants in their coverage. How awesome was it to watch a Razz or Stud tournament on TV? That was a serious question reader, so quit laughing.
Online poker helped to bring some poker variants back from near extinction and Poker Central can take the next step and help grow the games further.
How about Late Night Stud or H.O.R.S.E. After Dark? Ok, maybe not the most original titles but I’d tune in.