Stan’s Lists – Poker Reality Television Shows

[RR] “Speaking of entertaining, what about reality poker television shows? I have to admit that I’m a sucker for them”, claimed Roderick the Rock.

[SS] “I consider them a guilty pleasure; more of a pointless primetime puff piece than a poker production”, Stan the Stat admitted.

[LL] “I enjoyed some of the shows but couldn’t stand others”, Leroy the Lion added, “depending mostly on how much actual poker content there was.”

[SS] “Yeah, it’s a pretty wide assortment of shows. Somebody must have liked them though, because I have a list of proposed shows that’s even longer!”

Reality Poker Shows on U.S. Television1

Show (Wikipedia link) Network Years (IMDB link) Location2 Commentators Notes
Best Damn Poker Show Fox Sports Net 2008-09 Pechanga Resort (2008; Temecula, CA), San Manuel Casino (2009; Highland, CA) Chris Rose (2008), Dave Stann (2009) Two 7-week seasons, starting with 24 players, eventually split into Team Duke and Team Hellmuth; a.k.a. Best Damn Poker Challenge and a sequel to Showdown in the U.K. in 2005 with Duke, Hellmuth, and 5 players, including Liv Boeree
Face the Ace NBC 2009 Cin City Studios Steve Schirrpa and Ali Nejad Amateurs face one to three poker pros in heads-up matches (for $40K, $200K, and $1M, all-or-nothing)
Ace in the House GSN 2007 various homes Cory Zeidman Five amateur poker players play a single-table tournament against each other and a random pro (e.g., Mike Matusow in the first episode) for $10,000 ($20,000 if the pro has to rebuy for half of the starting stack); video playlist of the first and only episode
Annie Duke Takes On the World GSN 2006 ? Annie Duke and Regan Burns Four amateur poker players play each other for a chance at $10,000 against Annie Duke, who also advises them
King of Vegas Spike 2006 Bally’s Casino Resort Max Kellerman and Wayne Allyn Root Six amateurs, three professional blackjack players, and three professional poker players compete in eight different games, four per episode (starting with blackjack, two of Caribbean Stud Poker/Craps/Horse racing/Mini-Baccarat/Pai Gow Poker/Red Dog/Roulette, and ending with Hold ‘Em)

Proposed Reality Poker Shows1

Show (web link) Status Year (video link) Notes
Big Slick Poker Academy to be filmed during WSOP in June 2014 2014 Reality show could just be overpromised marketing fluff from the poker training company
Poker Entertainment Network entire poker network planned but already delayed a year 2014 New network was supposed to debut in December 2013 but now delayed until December 2014; 24/7 with Poker Tournaments, Reality, Poker News, Documentary, and Movies
Poker Night in America in production? 2014 Poker playing and behind-the-scenes footage with Kristy Arnett, David “ODB” Baker, Lauren Billings, Shawn Buchanan, Eli Elezra, Layne Flack, Phil Laak, Mike “the Mouth” Matusow, David Levi, Greg “FBT” Mueller, Tom “Donkeybomber” Schneider, Gavin Smith, David Williams; Arnett and Billings won an open casting call
Pool, Poker & Pain casting call in 2011 then nothing 2014 16 to 20 contestants learn and compete in pool, MMA fighting, and poker; created by Blair Thein with Doug Stanley, producer of Deadliest Catch
Great American Poker Challenge tournaments were held but no show was produced 2013 Events happened early November 2013 at Planet Hollywood, but the promise of a reality TV show seems to have been lost
Queens Are Wild announced by E! Network then nothing 2013 Follows four top female poker pros, including Maria Ho
Full House with Johnny Chan sizzle reel created 2012 Five “up-and-coming” poker players (all Las Vegas cash game grinders) compete and get trained by Johnny Chan
Fatty’s: Where the Game Gets REAL casting call then nothing 2010 Combines poker and fantasy sports but never seems to have gotten off the ground; Created by Scott “Mayhem” Einiger, who knocked Phil Ivey out on Day Two of the 2010 WSOP Main Event
Young Guns 5-1/2 minute trailer created 2010 Follows four online poker pros (Chris Sparks, Chris “The Captain” Jackson, Jurran “The Kid” Joshu, and Seth Otterstad) for two months living together in a Hollywood Hills villa


  1. The tables are sorted by recency. Tap on the header to sort by any column. You need to view the post by itself for this to work.
  2. All locations are in Las Vegas, Nevada unless specified otherwise.

Related Links:

  • Special props to Poker Tube for their amazing collection of poker videos.

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Stan’s Lists – Celebrity Poker Television Shows

[SS] “I’m sure I’m missing some of the more obscure ones, because I honestly don’t like watching bad poker, but here’s my list of the most popular celebrity poker TV shows”, Stan the Stat offered.

Celebrity Poker Shows on U.S. Television1

Show (Wikipedia link) Network Years (IMDB link) Location2 Commentators Notes
Celebrity Poker Live CBS 2012 Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles, CA) Joshua Escandon, Tami Farrell, Danielle Demski Players compete for $10,000 for their favorite charity; 12 episodes; celebrities include David Alan Grier, Jessica Hall, Jose Canseco, Richard Karn, and No Doubt drummer Adrian Young
Sam’s Game Playboy TV 2009-10 Palms Casino Resort Sam Simon Hosted by Sam Simon, writer for The Simpsons; 14 episodes; players include Artie Lange, Brande Roderick, Dave Attell, Jennifer Tilly (Simon’s ex-wife!), Jeff Ross, Deanna Brooks, Andrea Lowell, Phil Laak, Jay Kogen; said that the “hilariously funny reality poker game show is full of sexy women and foul language”; set in Hugh Hefner’s exclusive sky villa
Black Poker Stars Invitational BET 2008 Planet Hollywood Kenny Burns and David Williams 12 black entertainers, including Nelly, compete for a $50,000 prize pool; 8 episodes
Pechanga Celebrity Poker Challenge Fox Sports Net 2007 Pechanga Resort and Casino (Temecula, CA) Phil Gordon and Mieke Buchan 15 players compete for a $20,000 first prize and a $50,000 prize pool; the winners of each of the three tables automatically advanced, while the 2nd and 3rd place finishers played RoShamBo for the other three spots; celebrities include athletes Ivan Lendl, Mark Rypien, Grant Fuhr, Jeremy Roenick, Rollie Fingers, Gary Carter, and Seth Joyner, and actors Jack Wagner and Alfonso Ribeiro; spoiler (highlight to see): former MLB player Kurt Bevacqua won the 2007 event
VH1 Classic Rock Celebrity Poker Tournament VH1 2007 Flamingo Hotel Phil Hellmuth and Mark Tenner 8-player single-table tournament; 5 celebrities and 3 amateurs compete for a top prize worth $2,500 plus a free trip to Aruba for the UltimateBet Poker Classic; rockers Ace Frehley (KISS), Dusty Hill (ZZ Top), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Sully Erna (Godsmack), and Vinnie Paul (Pantera); spoiler (highlight to see): Scott Ian won the event
Celebrity Poker Showdown Bravo 2003-06 Palms Casino (2004-05; Paradise, NV), Harrah’s Entertainment (2006) Dave Foley and Phil Gordon 25 players compete in a shootout tournament; the 8 tournaments feature actors like Ben Affleck, David Schwimmer, Martin Sheen, Angie Dickinson, and Carrie Fisher, and athletes like Jerome Bettis, James Blake, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Hawk; Spoiler (highlight to see): the 8 winners were Nicole Sullivan, Maura Tierney, Seth Meyers, Mekhi Phifer, Brad Garrett, Kathy Najimy, Steven Culp, and Jason Alexander
E! Hollywood Hold’em E! 2005 various celebrity homes Phil Laak a.k.a. Hollywood Poker Night; $10,000 buy-in single-table tournament; 6 episodes; players include Laura Prepon, Macaulay Culkin, Vince Van Patten, Shannon Elizabeth, Patrick Warburton, and Zachary Levi

[SS] “I’ve probably watched at most a few minutes of most of these shows.”

[RR] “Funny, I never pictured you as a Playboy TV subscriber.”

[SS] “Not including that one.”


  1. The table is sorted by recency. Tap on the header to sort by any column. You need to view the post by itself for this to work.

    The Pro-Am Poker Equalizer could have been included in this list, but two-thirds of the players and five-sixths of the final table were pros.

  2. In addition, from 2003 to 2011 the World Poker Tour ran an annual WPT Celebrity Invitational (as part of the L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino in California) that has aired on its regular television show. Tons of celebrities, including James Garner, Jason Alexander, Lou Diamond Phillips, Chaka Khan, and Pete Sampras, to name a meager few, joined the pros for the event.

  3. All locations are in Las Vegas, Nevada unless specified otherwise.

{ The Hold ‘Em at Home blog is brought to you by THETA Poker Pro, the strongest, fastest, and most configurable Texas Hold ‘Em game for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV. }


Stan’s Lists – Poker Television Shows

[RR] Roderick the Rock reflected, “Do you guys remember the Golden Era of Poker TV?”

[LL] “Oh sure”, Leroy the Lion confirmed. “Around 2006, you couldn’t channel surf without running into a poker show.”

[SS] “Networks that didn’t seem to have any reason to show poker had regular shows”, Stan the Stat claimed. “Bravo, the Travel Channel, the Game Show Network…”

[RR] “Oh, I don’t know about GSN. ESPN and other networks consider poker to be a ‘sport’, but isn’t it more like a game show?1 Especially a poker tournament, which is a game where players compete in turn. The dealer and the commentators play the role of host. One winner gets the big prize, while the losers settle for consolation prizes.”

[LL] “The runner-up consolation prize is usually much better in poker though.”

[RR] “Is this another one of your lists, Stan?”

[SS] “Of course it is.”

Poker Shows on U.S. Television2

Show (Wikipedia link) Network Years (IMDB link) Location3 Commentators Notes
World Series of Poker CBS;
Discovery Channel;
1978-81, 1983;
1987-95, 1997-98, 2002-
Binion’s Horseshoe (1978-2005), Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino (2005-) Lon McEachern and Norman Chad (2002-); see Wikipedia’s broadcasters list for others Event began in 1970
World Poker Tour Travel Channel;
Fox Sports Net4
various worldwide casinos Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten Tour began in 2002
Heartland Poker Tour syndicated 2005- various U.S. casinos Fred Bevill and Chris Hanson Tour began in 2005
National Heads-Up Poker Championship NBC 2005-11, 20135 Golden Nugget (2005), Caesars Palace (2006-) Matt Vasgersian and Gabe Kaplan Final Four bracket-style tournament Aussie Millions GSN 2006-11 Crown Casino (Melbourne, Australia) Michael Konik, Howard Lederer, Barry Tompkins Event began in 1998
High Stakes Poker GSN 2006-11 Golden Nugget (2006, 2009-10), Palms Casino Resort (2006), South Point Casino (2007), Bellagio (2011) Gabe Kaplan (2006-10), A.J. Benza (2006-09), Kara Scott (2010-11), Norm Macdonald (2011) Show ended in 2011 when sponsor PokerStars was banished from the U.S.
Poker After Dark NBC 2007-11 South Point Casino (2007-08), Golden Nugget (2008-10), Aria Resort and Casino (2011) Ali Nejad Show ended in 2011 when sponsor Full Tilt Poker was banished from the U.S.
The PokerStars.Net Big Game Fox 2010-11 South Point Casino Joe Stapleton, Scott Huff, Chris Rose, Amanda Leatherman Show ended in 2011 when sponsor PokerStars was banished from the U.S.
Doubles Poker Championship GSN 2010 Golden Nugget David Tuchman and Brandon Adams Four-team single-table tournament, where each two-person team takes turns on alternating streets (one 30-second timeout to confer per event); $50,000 buy-in per player; 32 players including Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Gus Hansen, Chris Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Annie Duke, Annette Obrestad, David Benyamine, Antonio Esfandiari, Howard Lederer, Phil Laak, and Andrew Lichtenberger; 13 episodes
Ultimate Poker Challenge syndicated 2004-07 Plaza Hotel and Casino Chad Brown and guest presenters Satellites then semifinals and finals Poker Dome Challenge Fox Sports Net 2006-07 Tropicana (2006), Neonopolis shopping mall (2006-07) Barry Tompkins and Michael Konik Speed poker tournament with 15 seconds per action (one 30-second extension and if used, one more heads-up)
Pro-Am Poker Equalizer ESPN 2007 South Coast Casino Phil Gordon and Ali Nejad 36-player shootout with each table starting with four pros and two celebrity amateurs, who start with 50% more chips; the celebrities were Jose Canseco, Cheryl Hines, Yancey Arias, Nicholas Gonzalez, Penn Jillette, Jennifer Tilly, Cindy Margolis, Jeremy Sisto, Don Cheadle, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Alexander, and Shana Hiatt; spoiler (highlight to see): Gonzalez was the only celebrity to reach the final table; Andy Bloch won, and Allen Cunningham came in second place.
United States Poker Championship ESPN 1997-2000, 2003-06 Trump Taj Mahal (Atlantic City, NJ) Lon McEachern and Norman Chad Event last played in 2010
Celebrity Poker Showdown Bravo 2003-06 Palms Casino Resort Dave Foley and Phil Gordon 25-player shootout tournament with all celebrities
Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament Fox Sports Net 2004-06 Golden Nugget Chris Rose and Howard Lederer Turbo tournament with 20-minute blind levels; Season 2 in IMDB and Season 3 in IMDB
Professional Poker Tour Travel Channel 2006 various U.S. casinos Matt Corboy and Mark Seif Part of the WPT (sort of an all-star game); merged back into main tour after one year
Calvin Ayre’s Wild Card Poker Fox Sports Net 2006 The Compound [Calvin Ayre’s residence] (Costa Rica) Chris Rose and Robert Williamson III Calvin Ayre founded Bodog in 2000
Poker Royale GSN 2005 Pechanga Resort and Casino (Temecula, CA) John Ahlers and Robert Williamson III Series of themed poker tournaments; Another episode on IMDB

[SS] “At the peak of the poker boom, you could watch a dozen different poker shows every week!”

[RR] “And now we’re down to just three.”

[SS] “The Game Show Network alone seemed to fill up most of the week with episodes of High Stakes Poker.”

[LL] “I think they replaced them all with Family Feud.6 At least until the next poker boom.”

[SS] “All we need is for a woman to win the World Series of Poker Main Event.”

[RR] “Or a celebrity.”

[LL] “Even making the final table might do the trick.”

[RR] “It’s probably just as well though. Watching poker on TV really isn’t the best way to improve your game.”

[SS] “Yeah, most shows edit out all the previous hands you needed to see to understand what’s really happening in the current hand.”

[LL] “But, it’s still entertaining!”

[RR] “Speaking of which, what about celebrity poker shows?”

[SS] “Oh, I have a separate list for those…”

Update – July 29, 2014

Poker Night in America debuted on the CBS Sports Network on June 29, 2014 and will air on 26 consecutive Sundays at 10 p.m. The show does not have an IMDB or Wikipedia entry yet.


  1. A game show is “a television or radio program in which contestants answer questions or play games of skill or chance in order to win money or other prizes”, according to
  2. The table is sorted by recency. Tap on the header to sort by any column. You need to view the post by itself for this to work. {Added Doubles Poker Championship on 3/19/14.}
  3. All locations are in Las Vegas, Nevada unless specified otherwise.
  4. NBC also aired one “Battle of Champions” tournament on February 1, 2004.
  5. The NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship was also cancelled in 2014 but may return next year.
  6. Apparently, this is Family Feud marathon week. According to the GSN schedule, 172 (!) families are feuding this week [yes, an astonishing 86 half-hour episodes, over a quarter of their air time].

Related Links:

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Full Tilt Reimbursement!

[RR] “I got my Full Tilt money back!” Roderick the Rock exclaimed.

[LL] “Congratulations!” Leroy the Lion responded. “You see the money in your bank account now?”

[RR] “Yep. I got this email last Tuesday:”

Dear ftpCustomer:

The purpose of this email is to inform you that your Petition for Remission has been approved and you are entitled to receive a distribution from the assets forfeited in connection with United States v. PokerStars, et al., pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

A payment in the amount of $amount will be paid electronically via ACH to the bank account that you specified in your Petition. This payment represents the full amount of your Full Tilt Poker Account Balance, which you confirmed on the Full Tilt Poker administration online filing site. Payment will be made within the next seven business days.

If you have any questions, you can call us toll-free at (866) 250-2640, email us at, or write to us at Full Tilt Poker Claims Administration, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 9965, Dublin, Ohio 43017-5965. For additional information you may also visit the administration website at

[RR] “Then I checked my bank account on Friday and there it was!”

[LL] “I guess I’m officially worried then. I didn’t get an email one way or the other, and of course that means nothing got sent to my bank account.”

[RR] “Have you called them?”

[LL] “I emailed and am waiting to hear back. I’m not an affiliate or a Full Tilt Poker Pro, and I got a confirmation for my petition in September, so I don’t know what happened.”

{A day later…}

[LL] “I didn’t get any response to my email (big surprise), but (bigger surprise) when I called their toll-free number, I was only on hold for a minute when a real, live honest-to-goodness American-accented human being picked up.”

[RR] “Wow.”

[LL] “After confirming my petition number, name, and address, he gave me some bad news. My account balance was zero.”

[RR] “Uh oh. Someone managed to steal your balance?”

[LL] “After the recent Bitcoin fiasco, the thought crossed my mind. But the agent on the phone was completely calm when he said he’d search their database for my name.”

[RR] “And certainly there weren’t any other Leroy the Lions playing on Full Tilt!”

[LL] “Nope, just me. And somehow I’d managed to create two petitions, one with bank info but no balance; the other with the balance but no bank info. I finished filling out the petition that had a balance, and I hope to get paid in the second wave.”

[RR] “When will that be?”

[LL] “The agent didn’t know. But there’s plenty of money left in the fund, so I’m not worried. Just have wait a little longer.”

[RR] “After almost three years, what’s another few months?”