Category Archives: Television

Jacob on Jeopardy, Part Two

[RR] “As I expected, Alex Jacob made it back for this year’s Jeopardy! tournament of Champions”, Roderick the Rock opened. “I think it would be great for poker if he won.”

[LL] “And he’s kicking butt!” Leroy the Lion added.

[FF] “Do the Jeopardy fans still hate him for his, whatsitcalled, Forrest Jump?” Figaro the Fish asked.

[RR] “Forrest Bounce, but I like your name better.1 I think he’s won them over. His opponents in the finals are Matt Jackson, who’s a bit too intense and speaks-a-mile-a-minute, and Kerry Greene, who seems a bit overmatched.”

[LL] “And you gotta love the way he plays the game! On the first day of the finals, Jacob went all-in twice on Daily Doubles to take a commanding lead into Final Jeopardy. Then, when he didn’t like the last catgory, he wagered nothing, wrote ‘WHO IS “GOOD GAME GUYS”‘ in the answer space, and increased his lead2 when both Greene and Jackson erred.”3

[RR] “Barring an incredibly unlucky set of categories, Jacob’ll be this year’s champion,4 and we can all brag about how great poker players are at everything.”


  1. The movie, Forrest Gump, hit theaters nine years after Chuck Forrest’s initial Jeopardy! run.
  2. Jacob’s total of $29,600 is way ahead of Greene’s ($3,400) and Jackson’s ($3,000).
  3. In the category, “French Novel Title Heroes”, the answer was “He ‘looked as if he had been shut up for a long time in a tomb and… been unable to recover the… complexion of the living.'” Jacob’s opponents both guessed the wrong Alexandre Dumas novel, “The Man in the Iron Mask”, instead of “The Count of Monte Cristo”.
  4. November 20, 2015 Update: Jacob indeed won, dominating the Tournament of Champions finals like no player ever before. By the middle of Double Jeopardy!, Jackson and Greene were playing for second place. Jacob could have bet and lost it all on Final Jeopardy! and still won the $250,000 first prize handily (along with his two-day total of $48,300).

Jacob on Jeopardy

[RR] “Do you guys remember the Forrest bounce?” Roderick the Rock inquired.

[FF] “Was that when Ted Forrest lost fifty pounds in two months to win a two million dollar bet with Mike Matusow, then gained most of the weight back?” Figaro the Fish answered by way of a question.

[LL] “No, Rod must be referring to Chuck Forrest of Jeopardy! fame.”

[RR] “That’s right. Last year, we got to see a poker version of the show. This year we got to see a poker pro1 on the real show. Alex Jacob’s impressive Jeopardy! run ended on Monday.”

[FF] “I’ve never heard of him.”

[SS] “Jacob won the 2006 U.S Poker Championship2 and has amassed over $2.6 million in career tournament earnings.

[FF] “Not too shabby.”

[RR] “Like Arthur Chu3 did last year on the show, Jacob used the Forrest bounce, randomly jumping around the board to hunt for Daily Doubles and throw off his opponents. He also went all-in most of the time when he hit a Daily Double, as the chance of answering correctly is roughly two in three.”4

[LL] “Just the kind of strategy you’d expect from a successful poker player.”

[RR] “He ended up winning $151,802 and six games, finally getting dethroned when he missed a Final Jeopardy answer about Instagram.5 Expect him back on the show for the 15-player Tournament of Champions in November.”


  1. Technically, a former poker pro. Jacobs still plays poker occasionally, cashing in a tournament as recently as September 2014, but the last time he won over $10,000 was in 2010, and the last time he broke $100,000 was in 2009.
  2. Jacob survived a field of 261 players to win $878,500.
  3. Chu tweeted that he was an “amateur wannabe poker player” as he congratulated Jacob.
  4. The success rate on Daily Doubles usually runs between 65% and 70%, but a good player can do much better. During his record streak, Ken Jennings got 83% of them correct (see his Slate article on Arthur Chu).
  5. The stumper was, “This social media company launched in October 2010; in 2012, with about a dozen employees and no revenue, it sold for $1 billion”. Jacobs guessed Twitter instead of Instagram. Twitter launched in July 2006 and went public in November 2013.

Related Links:


Television Posts

The most famous television Post is Mike Post, the musician who wrote the theme songs for a few dozen famous television shows.1. Stan the Stat is no musician, but he wrote down a few dozen of the most famous poker television shows in four themed lists:

The Hold ‘Em at Home gang watched four television game shows featuring poker trivia on the fictional Poker Game Show Network. You can play along with:


  1. Mike Post’s best theme songs [with peak Billboard Hot 100 ranking where applicable, else just the show’s first year] include:

Stan’s Lists – Poker Players on Reality Shows

[SS] “There are reality poker shows, and there are reality shows with poker players on them”, Stan the Stat stated.

[RR] “Disproportionately represented by women”, Roderick the Rock noted, “not that I’m complaining.”

[LL] “I can’t really stand any of those shows, but I have to say, Annie Duke was robbed”, Leroy the Lion contributed.

[SS] “Now, of course, lots of people play poker, so this list only includes poker pros. I didn’t count amateurs like Adam Gersh on Unan1mous and Dan Barbour on I Survived a Japanese Game Show.

Poker Players on U.S. Reality Game Shows1

Show (Wikipedia link) Network Year (IMDB link) Poker Player Notes
MasterChef 72 Fox 2016 David Williams Spoiler (highlight to see): finished third out of 20
Survivor 32: Kaoh Rong3 CBS 2016 Anna Khait Spoiler (highlight to see): fifth person voted off out of 18
Big Brother 174 CBS 2015 Vanessa Rousso Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 3rd out of 17
Survivor 28: Cagayan CBS 2014 Garrett Adelstein Adelstein has $122,766 in career tournament earnings according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database but is more of a cash game player; Spoiler (highlight to see): Adelstein was the second contestant voted out
The Millionaire Matchmaker Bravo 2013 Daniel Negreanu Video of “Wounded Wally and the Mama’s Boy” (1/10/13); Spoiler (highlight to see): seemed happy with his choice of Lindsay Blalock, but the relationship was already history by the time the episode aired
Worst Cooks in America Bravo 2012 Tiffany Michelle Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 5th out of 16
The Millionaire Matchmaker Bravo 2010 Beth Shak Video of “House of Cards” (11/9/10) for $1.99; Spoiler (highlight to see): She picked the millionaire (1,200 pairs of shoes cost a lot, you know), but none of the three men Patty set her up with were “so great” and she met someone else shortly after the episode was filmed; Shak also appeared on Celebrity Nightmares Decoded.
The Amazing Race 15 CBS 2009 Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 6th out of 12 two-player teams
Celebrity Apprentice NBC 2009 Annie Duke Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 2nd out of 16 (to Joan Rivers)
2 Months, $2 Million G4TV 2009 Dani Stern, Jay Rosenkrantz, Brian Roberts, and Emil Patel The four players share a house in Las Vegas and try to make $2 million playing online poker in only two months; Video of the first of ten episodes; Spoiler (highlight to see): ended up making $676,700
Rob and Amber: Against the Odds FOX Reality Channel 2007 Rob Mariano Survivor and The Amazing Race contestant Rob Mariano tries to make it as a professional poker, with Daniel Negreanu as his tutor
Survivor 15: China CBS 2007 Jean Robert Bellande Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 9th out of 16

[RR] “How does Rob Mariano belong on the list?”

[SS] “Believe it or not, he won $50,000 in 2006 by placing sixth in the Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker Tournament. For that, Boston Rob got into Hendon’s Database and earned a wild card onto this list.”

[SS] “Poker pros have also appeared on reality lifestyle shows. I may have seen some of these, but you’ll never get me to admit it:”

Poker Players on U.S. Reality Lifestyle Shows1

Show (Wikipedia link) Network Year (IMDB link) Poker Player Notes
Sin City Rules TLC 2012-13 Jennifer Harman Harman and four other somewhat important Vegas women (Lana Fuchs [daughter of a famous mobster], Amy Hanley [entrepreneur], Alicia Jacobs [reporter], and Lori Montoya [cosmetics line]); f.k.a. Vegas High Rollers; 5 episodes aired and 3 were posted to the web site
I Bet My Life Travel Channel 2012 Liv Boeree and Kevin MacPhee The Iron Maiden and ImaLuckSac play in a European Poker Tour $14,000 buy-in tournament in Monte Carlo, Monaco; trailer (pilot only); Spoiler (highlight to see): neither player made the money
NY Ink TLC 2012 Beth Shak Clip from the “Poker Hottie” episode
I Bet You MOJO HD 2007-08 Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak YouTube Playlist; 2 seasons with a total of 24 episodes; 3rd season filmed but never aired as iN Demand cancelled the entire network
My Life on the D List Bravo 2007 Mike Matusow In the “Loose Cannon” episode, the Mouth has a blind date with the show’s star, comedienne Kathy Griffin; 4-minute YouTube video

[LL] “I Bet You was quite funny at times; pairing Laak and Esfandiari was a good bet. But I think the people who produced some of these other shows need a reality check.”

[RR] “No surprise that the other shows all folded pretty quickly.”


  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. September 15, 2016 Update: Added David Williams’s appearance on MasterChef 7.
  3. March 17, 2016 Update: Added Anna Khait’s appearance on Survivor 32: Kaoh Rong.
  4. September 24, 2015 Update: Added Vanessa Rousso’s appearance on Big Brother 17.

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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.

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  • 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.

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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].

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NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship

[RR] “Are you guys ready for some March Madness?” Roderick the Rock asked.

[LL] “Of course, I wouldn’t miss the Final Four tournament for anything”, answered Leroy the Lion.

[RR] “Who’s talking about basketball? I was referring to the brackets of the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship!”1

[EE] “I always like to see how the pros play, because whether you like heads-up or not, you gotta learn it if you want to win a tournament”, Elias the Eagle answered.

[YY] “Agreed. Fortunately, the celebrities are usually all gone by the third round”, Yuri the Young Gun agreed.

[RR] “There have been a few big upsets over the years though, partly thanks to the very fast blind structures. Like in 2007, when actor Don Cheadle eliminated Phil Ivey in the first round.”2

[LL] “And actress Shannon Elizabeth made it all the way to the semis, beating an amateur and three pros, Jeff Madsen, Barry Greenstein, and Humberto Brenes!”

[RR] “The next year, Cy Young award winner Orel Hershiser got by Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, and Freddy Deeb to reach the quarters.”

[LL] “In the first round in 2009, actor Brad Garrett upended Annie Duke, who went on to win the tournament the next year!”

[RR] “And in 2011, the last time the event was held, running back and Dancing With the Stars champ Emmitt Smith surprised David Williams.”

[YY] “When and where can I watch?” Yuri the Young Gun inquired.

[LL] “On my cable system it starts on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports, which is channel 90 for me. TiVo says it’s a repeat of a 2006 episode, but I think they just haven’t updated the info yet. Obviously, you guys are on different providers out here, so, as they say, ‘Check your local listings’. After three consecutive Thursday evenings, the broadcast moves to NBC for three straight Saturday afternoons.”

Date Time Round Station
Thursday, March 21 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. First Round (Part 1) NBC Sports
Thursday, March 28 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. First Round (Part 2) NBC Sports
Thursday, April 4 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Second Round NBC Sports
Saturday, April 6 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Round of 16 NBC
Saturday, April 13 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Quarterfinals NBC
Saturday, April 20 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Semifinals & Finals NBC

[TT] Tyrone the Telephone ended the conversation as Yuri jotted down the info:3

“In the middle of March, late in January,

Two poker friends sat down to battle wary.

Face to face the players backed each other,4

Honestly bluffed as they stacked each other.

One was blind and the other couldn’t see,

So they called the tournament referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,

A dumb man went to shout ‘hooray!’

A deaf policeman heard them scuffle,

Replaced the dealer, set to shuffle.

A paralyzed donkey walking quick,

Said he’d beat them both without a stick,

‘You’ve won all my money, an unbelievable crime.’

‘If there weren’t luck involved, I’d win every time.’5

(If you don’t believe this lie is true,

Ask the blind man, ’cause he saw it too!)”


  1. The tournament was held at Caesars Palace from January 24 to 26, 2013. If you can’t wait, here are the complete results.
  2. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, Cheadle also took out David Pham in 2009 and J.P. Kelly in 2010.
  3. For one of the many common versions of this poem, see the middle of the Wikipedia page on nonsense verse.
  4. Had a piece of each other’s action.
  5. This was Phil Hellmuth’s famous whine when he busted out of the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event.

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