Tuesday, November 23, 2010


'Poker After Dark' to feature pot-limit Omaha in upcoming seasonA couple of weeks ago news broke regarding the upcoming season of “Poker After Dark,” due to get crankin’ in the new year. Word is that perhaps in order to infuse a little something new into the now long-running, late-night poker show (on the air nearly four years now!), two weeks’ worth of six-handed pot-limit Omaha will be featured.

The six players recruited for the PLO shows were Brandon Adams, Patrik Antonius, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Brian Hastings, and Phil Galfond. The taping took place earlier this month, and if Hastings has it right on his blog, they played $300/$600 blinds (perhaps with an ante), with a minimum buy-in of $100K. Not sure if there were any instances of players “running it twice,” although it seems like it wouldn’t be out of place for them to have done so.

As someone who plays PLO probably 90% of the time I sit down at the virtual tables, I’m obviously excited to see how these PAD shows go. Like just about every other non-hold’em game, PLO has only rarely been shown on television since the big “boom” in 2003. So for us Omahalics, this’ll be a treat.

The news got me thinking back, trying to recall other instances of PLO being shown on the tube.

In 2004, ESPN included the $2,000 PLO event as part of its WSOP coverage, an episode I remember seeing more than once. Chau Giang won that one, outlasting PLO-specialist Robert Williamson III heads up to take the bracelet. That was the year, of course, when ESPN went wild with the WSOP coverage, for the first time showing numerous preliminary events. Heck, even the Razz event got covered that year -- the only time, I believe, that game has ever been shown on TV outside of a H.O.R.S.E. event.

ESPN actually covered PLO events a few more times over the next three years, although to be honest I have only a fuzzy memory of seeing these other shows. Another PLO event was shown in 2004, in fact, the $5,000 buy-in event won by Ted Lawson (who defeated Lee Watkinson heads up). Then in 2005 two more PLO events were covered, the $2,000 w/rebuys won by Josh Arieh, and the $5,000 w/rebuys won by Phil Ivey.

In 2006, only the $10,000 buy-in “World Championship” event was aired, with Lee Watkinson breaking through to win there. And if I’m not mistaken, 2007 was the last year ESPN covered PLO, showing the $5,000 w/rebuys event won by Burt Boutin.

PLO on TVRegarding that last instance, I actually wrote something here a good while back about ESPN’s coverage of that one, a post titled “A Non-Hold’em TV Sighting.” From the looks of that post, I appeared to have enjoyed the show, although I do say that Norman Chad’s analyses might’ve been a little misleading at times.

I’m not aware of PLO turning up on “High Stakes Poker” or any of the other TV shows, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it has come up elsewhere here and there and I missed it.

Obviously hold’em is much, much simpler to televise than is PLO, and thus I can’t really be too hard on Chad or anyone else who tries to provide commentary for the four-card game. I do think, however, that with a little extra effort on the production side PLO can be just as exciting to watch as NLHE. Perhaps even more so, particularly with this group of PLO vets who’ll be appearing on the “PAD” shows, where we’ll surely see some high-level strategy on display. (Not to mention all the monsterpotten!)

Still -- as ESPN’s decision to go hold’em-only since 2008 tends to show -- I think it’s safe to say that no matter how well these two weeks of PLO on “PAD” go, PLO will remain something of an exotic novelty when it comes to poker on TV going forward.

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Blogger OhCaptain said...

Let's play razz.

11/23/2010 12:50 PM  
Blogger Sean G said...

Seems like "The Big Game" would be a good venue for non-NLH action, since it's more oriented toward the internet/poker-educated crowd. Maybe after the LC gets knocked out, they could switch to a mixed game or PLO. With Fricke providing the assist to Stapes, the commentary should be reasonably intelligent. If this session on PAD proves successful, I hope the folks at PS give it a shot.

11/23/2010 2:32 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

The only thing that might make PLO more attractive to the average fan is the novelty and/or the more common all-ins. I agree they will have a harder time following the action but should be interesting.

11/23/2010 5:21 PM  
Blogger Spaceman said...

All they need to do is run one of those "Here's how you play Pot-Limit Omaha!" segments before every episode starts, and then continue to do so for the next six years straight. Worked for turning Americans from a bunch of five-card draw players to hold'em fanatics, why not for PLO? Wouldn't it be great to reach a point where everyone grumbles about hearing the rules of PLO over and over again because they know them so well?

11/23/2010 6:44 PM  

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