Years ago we wrote about the movie; “The Grand,” an improvisational comedy, which takes a stab at the often hilarious look at what happens at the, sometimes crazed, high stakes poker tables.
So, if you love movies, comedy, and poker then this movie will have you in stitches. It may not help you with your poker skills but you may recognize some of this behavior exhibited by way too many players from Vegas to Macau and anywhere poker is played.
“The Grand” stars Woody Harrelson along with Jason Alexander, Ray Romano, Werner Herzog, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Dennis Ferrina, Richard Kind, Gabe Kaplan, and Chris Parnell. And, naturally any poker movie should include lots of cameos from real poker stars and poker-celebrities like Doyle Brunson, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Laak, Daniel Negreanu and many more.
This is one movie where you may see anything from a giant pair of sunglasses to some jumbo playing cards and pass for cool. We certainly have seen some of these shenanigans at almost every tournament we have played.
Poker fans that enjoy watching professional poker players battle it out live on the felt fell in love with a series called Poker After Dark that ran on NBC from 2007 until Black Friday, 2011. Some of the biggest names in poker played in the high-stakes cash games yet it felt like they were in your living room. Late at night you can still catch reruns and some of the most memorable highlights can be found on YouTube.
Well folks, get ready to fall in love again. Poker After Dark is back, produced by Poker Central and streamed to you exclusively on PokerGO. In fact, its first new episode debuted Monday night August 14th at 8 p.m. with following episodes to air at the same time Tuesday and Wednesday nights throughout the year.
To give you a taste of the caliber of the poker players participating, Monday night’s game featured Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and Tom Dwan (one of the most popular high-stakes player from the original series) along with Jean-Robert Bellande, Lauren Roberts and Bill Klein. All six players began with a minimum of $100,000, with the blinds at $200/$400 and more than $2 million on the table.
The series has begun with No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, but the producers are planning to include some of the mixed games like pot limit Omaha that are gaining in popularity in high-stakes action.
What made Poker After Dark such a fan favorite was the intimacy of the setting, and the producers of the revival have kept it that way. Although the expert commentary of Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman will be provided, the real fan appeal is that feeling of being a voyeur with the ability to listen to the banter/trash talk of the players. So, unlike the commentary-heavy coverage of the recent 2017 WSOP, Poker After Dark relies on the up close and personal style of the original series, bluffs, bad beats, controversies and all.
Of course, if you did what we did, you may no longer have a subscription to PokerGO. We paid for two months in order to watch all of the World Series. However, we had some complaints (let’s just say we weren’t always satisfied with the coverage) so we didn’t renew. With the advent of the new Poker After Dark, however, this may be the perfect time to re-think our decision. For $99 a year, it seems like there’s some great poker ahead of us.
I know that for many, the appeal of the Main Event at the WSOP is that anyone who has the $10,000 buy-in or who qualifies by winning a satellite tournament can become the next world champion and walk away with $8.15 million. You know, the “Moneymaker Effect.”
If you’re playing as an amateur or a typical grinder in the Main Event, knowing that anyone can win is what gives you hope. But if you’re like me, and you’re a fan, watching the 2017 WSOP live, you might feel a bit let down.
Most of the poker superstars I love to watch have already been eliminated. My favorite, Daniel “Real Kid Poker” Negreanu, busted on Day 2, as did Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth, Ryan Riess, Joe McKeehen, Chris Ferguson, Antonio Esfandiari, William Kassouf and Bertrand “Elky”Grospellier.
Then on Day 3, before the money bubble burst, even more big poker names had been busted, including 2004 Main Event champion Greg Raymer, 2005 Main Event winner Joe Hachem, 2-time Main Event winner Johnny Chan, Brian Rast, Sam Grafton, Adrian Mateos, Rainer Kempe and three more of my favorites, Jason Mercier, Doug Polk and last year’s winner Qui Nguyen.
At the time of this writing on Day 4, there are 626 players remaining in the hunt out of the original 7,221, including two previous Main Event finalists, Ben Lamb and Kenny Hallaert. Chip leaders include: Ibrahim Nasief, 2,200,000; Eugene Kotlyarevskiy, 1,970,000; Nick Maimone, 1,910,000; Mickey Craft, 1,820,000; Damien Salas, 1,800,000; David Woo, 1,800,000 and so on. By the time I finished my list, it had changed four times! If you want the very latest chip count, you can check it our yourself at the WSOP website.
In the meantime I’m waiting for the “Final Table” as we’re sure most poker fans and enthusiasts are.
One of the nicest trends happening in the poker world recently is the desire to give back. Of course, there have always been charitable players, but for the most part they were individuals who donated a portion of their earnings to causes they believed in. Phil Hellmuth, to name just one, has been involved with theChildren’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Peace Thru Sports Foundation of Shimon Peres and several other charities.
With the poker boom came poker organizations, like PokerStars and their players, making substantive contributions every year to various worthy causes, from tsunami relief in 2004 to helping the victims of the devastating earthquake that ripped apart Haiti in 2010.
One Drop, a charity dedicated to providing access to safe drinking water around the world, received tremendous attention in the poker world and beyond, especially in 2012 during the Big One for One Drop heads-up match between Antonio Esfandiari and Sam Trickett. $111,111 from each entry went to One Drop, totaling $5.3 million, the single biggest donation any poker event had ever produced. In fact, over the last five years over $10 million has been raised by the annual One Drop tournaments at the WSOP.
Since 2014, however, there has been an increase in charitable donations across the poker world. One of the primary reasons for that is REG, or Raising for Effective Giving. Three poker superstars, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, and Philipp Gruissem, already involved with effective altruism, pitched the idea of spreading the word to the poker community and soon REG was born, with Adriano Mannino named REG Chairman.
REG takes donations and distributes them to groups that are the most effective in reducing suffering around the world. Briefly, REG use scientific facts and rational decision-making, collaborations with researchers, think tanks, and analysts, to find the most effective charitable opportunities, those that help the most people possible for the amount of money raised. By doing so, donations become more cost effective by increasing the number of people helped per unit of money donated. In other words, they know how to get the most bang for their bucks.
Every day, more poker players are pledging to participate in REG, and it is quickly becoming a preferred way for them to donate to charitable organizations around the world.
REG has always had the goal to establish a “culture of giving” in the poker community, one that extends beyond the occasional charity-specific poker tournament. Nevertheless, spokesperson Boeree, noting the incredible success of One Drop, says that in 2017; “ I really think one of the most biggest, and also the most fun ways I can think of doing is having a couple of these big charity tournaments. You’ve seen the fantastic success of One Drop, some of the events PokerStars have. We have the contacts to do that, we have the locations. That’s what we want to knuckle down and do – one or two really fun, prestigious—probably more high roller-oriented charity tournaments.”
Whether it’s a few major charity tournaments or a new way of life for players, charities around the world are benefiting from the generous nature of the poker community.