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3 Things That Have Become Negatives for Poker: Reality Shows

Throughout my life I have seen policies implemented, and projects undertaken that have the outward appearance and desire of enhancing some aspect of our life. Unfortunately, many of these things actually turn out to be hindrances and have a lasting negative impact. In this series I’ll take a look at three such examples from the poker world, detailing three things that seem to have the poker community’s best interest at heart, but for whatever reason they have failed in their execution.

The final entry in this “top-list” is the prevalence of poker players on reality TV shows.

Reality TV

The Poker Boom was caused by the game suddenly being a viable television product thanks to the hole-card camera, but other than some big money tournaments and cash-games, poker on TV has been a terrible fit, whether its poker-themed game shows, or worse reality TV.

What makes poker and reality TV such a bad fit? Not only do poker-themed shows end up coming across horribly, but for whatever reason poker players on more established reality TV shows seem to have the same problem. My guess is that the producers of these shows have a certain personality in mind when they book poker players, and do what needs to be done in production to make this personality (which includes equal parts subterfuge, shallowness, and antipathy) come to life on the screen.

You would think that poker players crossing over into mainstream shows would help shine the spotlight on poker, but in actuality it seems to do the opposite, painting poker and poker players as hyenas, waiting to move in for the kill and laughing all the way to the bank.

The latest poker player to take on a mainstream reality TV show will be our best hope yet, as Daniel Negreanu is slated to appear on an episode of Millionaire Matchmaker. Negreanu is poker’s most affable player, but with the magic of editing there is really no telling what he will be portrayed as by the show.

Fortunately it can’t be any worse that the images Annie Duke or Beth Shak gave the general public of poker players, and with Negreanu’s larger than life personality it should be better than the somewhat forgettable performances of Maria Ho and Tiffany Michele on the Amazing Race, or Jean-Robert Bellande on Survivor. Basically, my hope is that if anyone can do it, it will be Daniel Negreanu.

Additionally, poker-themed shows have fared even worse, considering the ratings are downright terrible on most counts, the production quality is at best lacking, and the image of poker players, playing poker, and “acting” like ballas is about as obnoxious as an episode of whatever that old Paris Hilton/Nicole Ritchie show was called.

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