Poker Central Acquires High Stakes Poker Brand and Assets

  • Online streaming site plans to resurrect High Stakes Poker and film new episodes
  • The classic poker TV show aired seven seasons between 2006 and 2011
  • Its success was down to real, high-stakes cash games that fascinated viewers
Poker player peeking at hole cards with stacks of cash and chips on table
Poker Central has acquired High Stakes Poker with the intention of creating new episodes of the classic poker television show. [Image:]

Poker Central to stream show, produce new episodes

Poker Central announced on Tuesday that it has purchased the brand and assets of High Stakes Poker. The popular poker television show was broadcast by the Game Show Network (GSN) for seven seasons between 2006 and 2011.

In a press release, Poker Central said it will stream High Stakes Poker on its subscription service, PokerGO, starting in the next few months. The online poker streaming site also tweeted the news shortly after:

Poker Central also plans to produce new episodes of High Stakes Poker. These will be streamed on PokerGO and possibly distributed through “potential broadcast and streaming partners.” No timetable was detailed for future original episodes of the program.

a dream come true to bring the series to a new generation of poker fans and players”

High Stakes Poker‘s former producer and current PokerGO executive producer, Mori Eskandani, said: “It’s truly a dream come true to bring the series to a new generation of poker fans and players, and we expect even more action when the show returns with faces both new and old.”

High Stakes Poker ruled crowded poker TV field

High Stakes Poker debuted on January 16, 2006, during the peak of the poker boom. In a sea of poker tournament television, the show stood out because it brought viewers into the world of high-stakes cash games. Fans could watch stars like Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, and Patrik Antonius toss around chips and bricks of cash and agonize over pots that escalated into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Adding to the show’s success was the commentary of AJ Benza and actor/comedian-turned-poker-pro Gabe Kaplan. The two teamed up for the first five seasons of High Stakes Poker, while Kaplan hosted by himself in season six. In the final season, another actor/comedian and poker aficionado, Norm Macdonald, took over commentator duties.

One of the aspects of High Stakes Poker that kept it fascinating to viewers was the juxtaposition of experienced, live poker pros with up-and-coming internet pros and wealthy amateurs. According to Eskandani,

High Stakes Poker was raw and natural, we just let the players play and that’s what made it so special.”

It was fairly apparent that the big-time pros were excited to go up against deep-pocketed businessmen, but weren’t sure what to do at first against the internet pros like Tom Dwan. The dynamic when six-figure buy-ins were involved was exciting to poker fans.

A full 13-to-16 episode season was filmed over the course of a one- to three-day period. Players were compensated $1,250 per hour for participating, though that was nothing compared to the amount of money they had on the table. The first, fifth, and sixth seasons were filmed at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. Season two was shot at the Palms, seasons three and four were filmed at South Point Casino, and the final season was taped at the Bellagio.

Poker Central has grown to own poker streaming space

Poker Central originally started as an attempt at a 24-hour poker cable network but quickly morphed into an online streaming site. For the last few years, it has teamed with ESPN to stream much of the World Series of Poker’s live action via PokerGO. It also broadcasts other live tournaments like the Aussie Millions, its own Super High Roller Bowl, and partypoker MILLIONS.

In “The Vault”, PokerGO shows past episodes of the World Series of Poker Main Event and High Stakes Poker’s chief rival, Poker After Dark, among other shows.

PokerGO also produces original poker programming like the biographical Legends of the Game, Pokerography, and Beyond the Rail, as well as Stories From the Felt, Dead Money, and Poker Nights.

Much of PokerGO’s tournament coverage is streamed live, while everything else can be pulled up on demand.

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