There are Poker games, there are professional Poker games — and then there are High Stakes Poker games, where hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars are at risk. It is not a game for even the best weekend warriors, as it is the province of seasoned professionals who have spent their entire lives perfecting winning strategies based on their voluminous reading in game theory, card probabilities and odds-making.
With the incredible rise of popularity in casino gaming, and card play in particular, High Stakes Poker games have also increased in frequency — as well as visibility. For example, GSN, the cable network for games, has already produced one full season of a program called, fittingly, “High Stakes Poker.” Based on the series solid ratings performance, the network has now ordered another 16-episode season featuring the same minimum buy-in amount for all invited players, namely, $100,000 (of their own money, not from backers).
When excellent players such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu and Sam Farha risk hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars, to participate in these amazing duels of smarts and strategy, Poker fans and up-and-coming pro players alike want to watch the action. Hence, the casino tournaments, television specials and even cruise-ship theme vacations draw large numbers of enthusiastic spectators.
Rich Cronin, President and CEO of GSN, knows a good thing, and a popular ratings-getter, when he sees it. His “High Stakes Poker” program far exceeded his network’s expectations. He now reports that he is “looking forward to the second season for this exciting, one of a kind poker show.”
He is not the only one looking forward to it, apparently; “High Stakes Poker” increased GSN’s household ratings by 79 percent on Monday nights, doubling the rating of the all-important male 18-49 demographic ratings and tripling those of the male 25-54 cohort. It seems clear that High Stakes Poker is a hit show as well as a favorite daydream of Poker players everywhere.