Excessive Stakes Poker Season 8 Joyfully Blended Previous and New
Introduced again the outdated acquainted
When the eighth season of Excessive Stakes Poker was introduced again in October 2020, the poker neighborhood was abuzz. It might have jumped the shark in Season 7, however trying again, it’s laborious to not have solely fond recollections of the present. The brand new episodes had been taped in November and aired completely on PokerGO from mid-December till per week in the past. It might not have been a return to the glory days for the pioneering present, but it surely definitely wasn’t Fonzie on water skis both.
There have been no bricks of money on the desk. however the chips had been flying.
Though not equivalent, the reboot tried to faithfully recreate as many components of the unique as attainable. The format was just about the identical. The blinds had been $200/$400, typically $400/$800. Straddles had been inspired. Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza had been again. There have been no bricks of money on the desk. however the chips had been flying.
Season 8 delivered on the nostalgia, but it surely additionally introduced a contemporary twist. Stars of the unique collection – Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Brandon Adams, and Phil Hellmuth – had been again, alongside new blood within the form of Jean-Robert Bellande, Rick Salomon, Jason Koon, Bryn Kenney, Nick Petrangelo, Chamath Palihapitiya, and Doug Polk. It was a real hybrid of outdated and new faculty.
Early seasons had been a revelation
January 2006 was an easier time. Kobe Bryant had simply scored 81 factors in a 122-104 Lakers victory over the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest sport whole in NBA historical past behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point sport in 1962. Brokeback Mountain was in theaters. It could win Finest Director however lose out to Crash for the Finest Image Oscar. Liberia had elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the primary feminine African head of state.
Twitter wasn’t a factor, simply 5.5 million individuals had been on Fb, and Excessive Stakes Poker aired for the very first time on the Sport Present Community (GSN). The primary 4 seasons ran from January 2006 to December 2007. After a hiatus, Seasons 5-7 ran from March 2009 to Might 2011.
Gabe Kaplan’s commentary was chic.
Merely put, it was and stays one of the best poker tv present ever. Every collection was filmed over a 24-hour interval after which edited into 13 tight episodes. The lineups had been excellent. The sum of money on the desk was jaw-dropping. The tempo of the motion was good. Gabe Kaplan’s commentary was chic. The banter snap, crackled, and popped. The early seasons, particularly, had been a revelation.
Doyle Brunson nitted up and booked a win each season. Phil Ivey owned Jason Mercier’s soul. Patrick Antonius performed monster pots. Barry Greenstein took his beats like a person. Gus Hanson made quads. Daniel Negreanu misplaced a fortune. Tom Dwan ran bluff after bluff and when he received himself right into a $1m flip, he refused to take cash out of the pot.
To alter issues up or not?
PokerGO was launched in 2017 by the Cary Katz-owned Poker Central as a subscription-based streaming service, providing on-line streaming from a 2,400-video library of authentic reveals and previous occasion replays. The crown jewel of that collection is High Stakes Poker, a present which, exterior of the WSOP archive, ranks greater than any others within the minds of the poker public.
So it was a no brainer for Katz and firm to revive this much-loved present, however that definitely didn’t imply that its success was a foregone conclusion. Viewers tastes have shifted considerably in 9 years, and so too has the participant profile of sport’s prime practitioners. Livestreams have largely changed pre-packaged content material.
Character-driven poker reveals made sense in an period of huge egos and Excessive Stakes Poker had a allure very a lot a part of the zeitgeist of poker within the 2000s. An analogous recipe in 2020 might simply have flopped, however within the protected palms of legendary poker producer Mori Eskandani, there was sufficient talent and drama on present to make compelling tv. There have been additionally some very memorable palms.
Hand #1: Rick Salomon busts Bryn Kenney
In Episode 2, Bryn Kenney and Rick Salomon performed an enormous pot after the previous straddled and the latter double-straddled to $3,200. Brandon Steven limped in center place with A♣️4♣️, Kenney accomplished from the small straddle with 5♦️5♥️, and Salomon raised to $22,000 with 6♣️6♥️. Steven folded and Kenney known as.
The flop got here 7♣️5♣️4♦️, Kenney checked, Salomon wager $30,000, and Kenney known as. The flip got here 8♣️, giving Salomon his straight. Once more, Kenney check-called, this time $55,000 from Salomon.
The A♠️ was inconsequential and Kenney once more checked over to Salomon. With $219,200 within the pot already, Salomon overbet all-in for Kenney’s efficient stack of $324,000. Kenney tank-called, delivery the monster $868,200 pot to Salomon.
Hand #2: Tom Dwan versus Bryn Kenney
In Episode 5, with the blinds $400/$800, Bryn Kenney raised to $2,500 with A♦️3♦️ below the gun, Brandon Steven known as within the cutoff with 7♦️7♠️, and Tom Dwan squeezed the button to $12,000 with A♠️Okay♠️. Each Kenney and Steven known as.
The flop got here A♥️Okay♣️3♥️ and the motion checked to Dwan who wager $22,000 right into a $38,000 pot. Steven folded and Kenney known as. The flip got here 3♣️ and Kenney check-called Dwan’s wager of $55,000. The river got here 10♥️ and Kenney sprung his entice, check-raising Dwan’s $55,000 wager to $285,000 whole. After a brief tank, Dwan let it go.
Hand #3: Doug Polk versus 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 within the name with 10♦️7♣️.
The flop got here J♠️9♠️8♥️, Polk and Hellmuth each checked, and Bord wager $2,000. Polk bumped it as much as $7,000 and Hellmuth shoved all in for $97,200. Bord shortly folded and Polk went into the tank. After a number of desk speak (analysed brilliantly by poker tells savant Zachary Elwood), Polk discovered the unlikely fold. This hand has obtained a full breakdown on Polk’s UpswingPoker website.
Sufficient to fulfill followers and consultants
These palms and others prefer it made for fairly good popcorn TV. It could be previous its heyday, however there was nonetheless greater than sufficient to fulfill poker followers and poker cognoscenti alike. This was proof that there is no such thing as a dearth of bankable tv expertise, no scarcity of characters within the solver technology. This was additionally proof that an outdated format can resonate with a brand new viewers and on this regard, the return of Kaplan was an aural delight.
In a time when high quality poker content material is difficult to return by and producers are scrambling for concepts and experimenting with new improvements, Excessive Stakes Poker was a welcome throwback to the poker days of yore, with simply sufficient magic mud to maintain the fashionable viewers engaged. Roll on Season 9.