Sunday, February 13, 2011
For one thing a lot of big-name pros -- the whole Full Tilt Poker crowd of sponsored pros including Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Tom Dwan et al -- are being pulled from the show because the rival PokerStars is the title sponsor of the show. In fact, these two companies are boycotting each other's other TV shows too, not just this one.
I don't see how this helps the game, quite frankly, keeping rival pros off each other's shows, with Full Tilt boycotting PokerStars' The Big Game on FOX and PokerStars boycotting Full Tilt-backed Poker After Dark on NBC. You'd think it would grow the game more and attract more interest if the sponsored pros for both companies were all duking it out together in the same place. Let the best play the best! But no, they want to boycott and keep their sponsored pros from doing other shows. Lots of people say High Stakes Poker is going downhill for that reason alone.
But there are further changes coming to the hosts. A while ago A.J. Benza left as the longtiime co-host, and now Gabe Kaplan (formerly of Welcome Back Kotter) is out as co-host, replaced by none other than funnyman Norm MacDonald. A lot of people have mixed feelings about Kaplan being replaced. They worry MacDonald will be to High Stakes Poker what Dennis Miller was to Monday Night Football.
My comment on MacDonald is to quote my brother who, on a visit here, said the following when he spotted an ad for MacDonald's live comedy show that was playing at the local casino. "This place is really scraping the bottom of the barrel! The critics are saying MacDonald's show is supposed to be awful. He's terrible!"
We'll see if we end up saying the same thing about his POKER hosting efforts. At least he has a job.