Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Slowrolling Spot

Sounding a theme not too distant from the one contemplated in yesterday’s post, this week has come a teaser reel from that Poker Night in America show shot back in August.

You might remember some cash games were played at the Turning Stone Resort Casino involving a somewhat eclectic cast of poker players flown there from all over the country to participate.

They streamed some of the action online, although as I recall technical issues tended to mute the impact of the presentation somewhat. However, some edited programs were made from the games, and it’s from those that this short video showing a couple of hands was compiled.

Take a look:

I say the clip kind of highlights a theme explored yesterday. I say that not so much because the hands featured are of that same all-in-and-let’s-see-what-the-cards-bring variety that Salon contributor Argun M. Ulgen fretted over as having dominated a lot of ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker over the years, especially during those formative “boom” years starting with the 2003 Main Event and after.

Rather, I’m referring to the latter hand in the clip in which Shaun Deeb flops quad fives and then delivers a wicked slowroll to Mike “The Mouth” Matusow. Deeb and the other players at the table enjoy a great laugh, but Matusow responds with mood-killing venom.

The clip has already generated a lot of debate, with some responding to Deeb’s play in much the same way Ulgen was lamenting ESPN’s WSOP coverage, namely, by complaining that it misrepresents poker in some fashion, or perhaps portrays the game in way that is unfavorable (according to some).

Whereas Ulgen complained that ESPN’s version of poker minimized the game’s skill component and thus made it out to be more of a gambling game than deserved, some critics of this clip have suggested it advances a notion that poker is a game that somehow encourages the abandonment of sportsmanship, also thought by some to be a non-representative portrayal.

There have been a lot of other responses, too -- to Deeb, to Matusow, and to perceived ideas about what Poker Night in America is going to be all about. Rather than toss out my own, I thought I’d just share the clip, point out how it has gotten poker people talking, and invite you to consider what you think of it.

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