$10,000 chip on a poker table with stacks of chips in the background

Brought back the aged acquainted

When the eighth year of Superior Stakes Poker was announced back in October 2020, the poker neighborhood was abuzz. It may possibly have jumped the shark in Year 7, but seeking again, it is difficult not to have only fond reminiscences of the present. The new episodes had been taped in November and aired completely on PokerGO from mid-December until eventually a 7 days ago. It may not have been a return to the glory times for the revolutionary show, but it surely was not Fonzie on water skis both.

There had been no bricks of funds on the table. but the chips have been traveling.

While not identical, the reboot experimented with to faithfully recreate as many things of the primary as achievable. The structure was rather a lot the exact. The blinds were being $200/$400, occasionally $400/$800. Straddles have been encouraged. Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza have been back again. There had been no bricks of income on the table. but the chips have been flying. 

Time 8 delivered on the nostalgia, but it also introduced a modern day twist. Stars of the primary series – Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Brandon Adams, and Phil Hellmuth – were being again, together with new blood in the form of Jean-Robert Bellande, Rick Salomon, Jason Koon, Bryn Kenney, Nick Petrangelo, Chamath Palihapitiya, and Doug Polk. It was a genuine hybrid of outdated and new college. 

Early seasons ended up a revelation

January 2006 was a more simple time. Kobe Bryant had just scored 81 details in a 122-104 Lakers victory over the Toronto Raptors, the second-best activity overall in NBA historical past guiding Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-stage video game in 1962. Brokeback Mountain was in theaters. It would win Finest Director but reduce out to Crash for the Best Photograph Oscar. Liberia experienced elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the initial female African head of condition. 

Twitter was not a point, just 5.5 million individuals were being on Fb, and High Stakes Poker aired for the very very first time on the Activity Present Community (GSN). The initial four seasons ran from January 2006 to December 2007. Soon after a hiatus, Seasons 5-7 ran from March 2009 to Might 2011. 

Gabe Kaplan’s commentary was sublime.

Just put, it was and continues to be the finest poker television show at any time. Each and every sequence was filmed above a 24-hour period and then edited into 13 tight episodes. The lineups were being outstanding. The amount of cash on the desk was jaw-dropping. The rate of the action was best. Gabe Kaplan’s commentary was elegant. The banter snap, crackled, and popped. The early seasons, in unique, ended up a revelation.

Doyle Brunson nitted up and booked a earn every period. Phil Ivey owned Jason Mercier’s soul. Patrick Antonius played monster pots. Barry Greenstein took his beats like a man. Gus Hanson made quads. Daniel Negreanu misplaced a fortune. Tom Dwan ran bluff immediately after bluff and when he bought himself into a $1m flip, he refused to choose cash out of the pot. 

To modify things up or not?

PokerGO was released in 2017 by the Cary Katz-owned Poker Central as a subscription-based mostly streaming service, supplying on-line streaming from a 2,400-movie library of initial shows and past occasion replays. The crown jewel of that collection is High Stakes Poker, a demonstrate which, outside the house of the WSOP archive, ranks higher than any many others in the minds of the poker general public. 

So it was a no-brainer for Katz and business to revive this much-cherished present, but that absolutely didn’t signify that its results was a foregone summary. Viewers preferences have shifted appreciably in nine years, and so as well has the player profile of game’s prime practitioners. Livestreams have largely changed pre-packaged content. 

Identity-driven poker reveals made feeling in an period of major egos and Higher Stakes Poker had a allure really a great deal component of the zeitgeist of poker in the 2000s. A identical recipe in 2020 could conveniently have flopped, but in the secure hands of legendary poker producer Mori Eskandani, there was enough ability and drama on exhibit to make powerful tv. There had been also some really memorable fingers. 

Hand #1: Rick Salomon busts Bryn Kenney

In Episode 2, Bryn Kenney and Rick Salomon performed a huge pot right after the previous straddled and the latter double-straddled to $3,200. Brandon Steven limped in middle posture with A♣️4♣️, Kenney finished from the tiny straddle with 5♦️5♥️, and Salomon raised to $22,000 with 6♣️6♥️. Steven folded and Kenney called. 

https://www.youtube.com/check out?v=2086H9uRyJY

The flop came 7♣️5♣️4♦️, Kenney checked, Salomon bet $30,000, and Kenney called. The change came 8♣️, providing Salomon his straight. Yet again, Kenney verify-called, this time $55,000 from Salomon. 

The A♠️ was inconsequential and Kenney once more checked about to Salomon. With $219,200 in the pot by now, Salomon overbet all-in for Kenney’s powerful stack of $324,000. Kenney tank-referred to as, transport the monster $868,200 pot to Salomon. 

Hand #2: Tom Dwan vs . Bryn Kenney

In Episode 5, with the blinds $400/$800, Bryn Kenney lifted to $2,500 with A♦️3♦️ under the gun, Brandon Steven referred to as in the cutoff with 7♦️7♠️, and Tom Dwan squeezed the button to $12,000 with A♠️K♠️. Both equally Kenney and Steven identified as. 

The flop came A♥️K♣️3♥️ and the motion checked to Dwan who bet $22,000 into a $38,000 pot. Steven folded and Kenney named. The transform came 3♣️ and Kenney verify-called Dwan’s bet of $55,000. The river came 10♥️ and Kenney sprung his entice, examine-elevating Dwan’s $55,000 bet to $285,000 complete. After a brief tank, Dwan permit it go.

Hand #3: Doug Polk compared to Phil Hellmuth

In Episode 12, with the blinds $200/$400, Phil Hellmuth opened to $1,100 UTG+2 with Q♠️10♥️, James Bord flatted the button with 2♥️2♣️, and Doug Polk flicked in the simply call with 10♦️7♣️. 


The flop came J♠️9♠️8♥️, Polk and Hellmuth both of those checked, and Bord guess $2,000. Polk bumped it up to $7,000 and Hellmuth shoved all in for $97,200. Bord speedily folded and Polk went into the tank. Just after a lot of table discuss (analysed brilliantly by poker tells savant Zachary Elwood), Polk found the unlikely fold. This hand has acquired a total breakdown on Polk’s UpswingPoker web site.

Ample to fulfill admirers and experts 

These fingers and other folks like it produced for quite great popcorn Tv. It could be earlier its heyday, but there was even now far more than sufficient to fulfill poker followers and poker cognoscenti alike. This was proof that there is no dearth of bankable television expertise, no shortage of figures in the solver technology. This was also evidence that an previous format can resonate with a new viewers and in this regard, the return of Kaplan was an aural delight. 

In a time when top quality poker information is difficult to appear by and producers are scrambling for thoughts and experimenting with new improvements, Superior Stakes Poker was a welcome throwback to the poker times of yore, with just ample magic dust to preserve the contemporary audience engaged. Roll on Season 9.

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