During the years of the poker boom, a poker player or fan could find poker on television quite often. There were seasonal shows, as well as celebrity poker games and high stakes action, in addition to the staples – World Poker Tour on FOX and World Series of Poker on ESPN – that were on steady repeat on their respective television channels.
Today, poker is tougher to locate on television. With the aforementioned exceptions, which should already be on any list of top-watched poker broadcasts, there is one place to go for the best new content and reruns of older classics. That place is Poker Central.
The 24/7 poker network offers a wide range of poker-centric broadcasting, and it’s all available online at various times of the day and night. And as for the shows that everyone should watch, Poker Central has those, too.
This show works for poker fans and players alike. Pokerography is done in the style of a documentary and profiles some of the greatest poker players in the world. It not only outlines their path to poker fame, but the show gives a good deal of insight into the characteristics that helped them excel at the game, the skills they developed, and even the mistakes they made.
Some of the episodes produced thus far feature Vanessa Selbst, Phil Hellmuth, and Erik Seidel. Other pieces to the inaugural 10-part series are biographies on Chris Moneymaker, Michael Mizrachi, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Jennifer Harman, Mike Sexton, and Jason Somerville.
Poker Central airs episodes every Monday evening at 9:00pm ET.
Heartland Poker Tour
One of the best shows for amateur poker players and those still working to improve their games is Heartland Poker Tour. The tour primarily features cities in the Midwest United States, but no matter the host casino, the players are always the center of the shows. With low buy-ins and many ways to qualify, the final tables typically consist of recreational poker players or pros in the early stages of their careers. Watching the poker that they play is educational and entertaining.
Episodes are aired weekdays at 8:00am ET, 9:00am ET, 4:00pm ET, and 5:00pm ET.
High Stakes Poker
This was one of the most popular poker shows ever on television. Players not only watched and recorded episodes of High Stakes Poker, but they analyzed and discussed hands at great lengths on poker forums and in articles. Watching some of the most popular players in the world take on businessmen and the occasional celebrity in cash games was fascinating to players and fans alike. And the stakes compounded the excitement because the high rollers often played with stacks of cash on the tables, as the minimum buy-in was $100K.
The best part of these archived shows is watching players who don’t appear on television as much anymore, such as Doyle Brunson, Tony G, and Tom Dwan. There are regulars on the shows as well, like Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Hellmuth.
Every Sunday at 9:00pm ET, fans can tune in.
Poker After Dark
Never mind that this show was sponsored by the old Full Tilt. It was a wildly popular poker show, which required each of the six participants to buy in for $20K and play the sit-n-go for a winner-take-all $120K prize. Some of the episodes were themed, too, to put eccentric players together, women, and other similarly-grouped competitors.
With players like Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, and Doyle Brunson in various episodes of Poker After Dark, the action was good and the table talk even better.
These shows are available on Poker Central every night at 11:00pm ET.
All poker fans should be aware of and tune in for some episodes of the European Open. With a field of predominantly European players, it gives players and fans some insight into many different styles of play and new faces and personalities. The field begins by playing heats, and as players are eliminated, the action dwindles down to semi-final heats and then the last-chance turbo heats. The final then pits the top finishers against each other for the prize pool gathered from their $7K buy-ins.
The great part of the show is that big names are usually featured – Phil Hellmuth, Barny Boatman, and Annette Obrestad, to name a few – but there are also qualifiers in the field that sometimes make it to the final. The mix of players provides interesting and educational programming.
Check the Poker Central website for the latest episodes to be aired.