Monday, June 06, 2005

POKER ON TV

We interrupt Jackson trial coverage to bring you... poker.

As you may have noticed, poker is all the rage on TV these days. A lot of people in Canada are blaming poker for the demise of the NHL on ESPN. It's being cited as the reason why the beloved NHL has been kicked off TV, the fact that they put poker on to replace the NHL and poker actually did better in the ratings, so that gave ESPN their out to play hardball with Gary Bettman.

As Kenny Rogers said, you've got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Know when to walk away, and know when to run. The folks at ESPN ran away from the NHL because they knew what was good for them.

But these sportswriters up here are writing articles of the "poker sucks" variety. That's typical of the coverage up here. It's "hockey is the greatest sport ever, and it's being shunted aside to make way for poker." Uh, listen guys. Hockey isn't so great, they proved that in spades this year. Most of us don't miss it at all as you can tell. But we sure would miss our poker tournaments. Other thing in poker's favor: no strikes or lockouts. Last time I heard the World Poker Tour was actually having tournaments. That helps a lot, eh? And if they ever go out on strike, they can bring in the celebrities and have them play poker on TV.

Why is poker attractive to these networks? Truth is it's cheap, and it fits the insatiable appetite for American fans for everything gambling. They just love money and the Vegas lifestyle, unlike a lot of die-hard hockey writers. Hey, the NFL is big for one reason: GAMBLING on the GAMES. Heck, I tune into the pre-game shows on radio and they're into the point spreads and all that. Poker just feeds into that.

Plus, they have all these hot models as sideline reporters and that helps the ratings. Who would you rather see, Don Cherry or Shana Hiatt?! Case closed. Over and out.

(Say what?! You want to see Cherry?! You silly hockey fans. Actually, Shana's not going to be on the World Poker Tour anymore, she's retiring. Maybe they can make her a hockey reporter and help save that sport.)

Yet despite what poker on TV has going for it, you still have all these sports columnist people saying watching poker on TV is like watching paint dry! I don't get these people. Personally, I can't get enough of this stuff, I'm always glued to the TV set every Sunday to watch the World Poker Tour on Citytv.

Here's a good article in the Toronto Sun on the TV poker craze.

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