Friday, April 04, 2014

Before the Boom: Remembering Late Night Poker

During my travels over the last couple of weeks there have been some interesting items posted over on Learn.PokerNews. I’d been meaning to point out a few of them here, and now that I’m back I finally have some time to highlight one recent series of articles in particular.

We’re now more than a decade on from the start of the televised poker “boom” that was ignited by the debut of the World Poker Tour in late March 2003 and then fueled even more dramatically by ESPN’s showing of the World Series of Poker Main Event a few months after that.

Both of those shows featured so-called “hole card cameras,” of course, which distinguished them from earlier WSOP broadcasts. When coupled with commentary and other bits of post-production, the shows proved immensely successful, with the rise of online poker (and, importantly, the sponsorship of sites) helping to create a genuine cultural phenomenon for the next few years.

Before all that, though, was Late Night Poker, the U.K. poker show that debuted in 1999 and created a kind of mini-boom mostly confined to the other side of the Atlantic. The influence of Late Night Poker is significant in many ways, including its use of under-the-table cameras to show hole cards. Many mistakenly think the idea originated with the WPT later, but it was LNP that pioneered the technique.

About three years ago I had the chance to talk at length with Jesse May about the creation of the show for a two-part interview over on Betfair Poker, and he provided a lot of interesting back story for how the show came about and was received.

Anyhow, getting back to Learn.PokerNews... one of the creators of the show, Nic Szeremeta, recently shared a lengthy, three-part history of the making of Late Night Poker with Learn that begins here. The history had been published before in Poker Europa magazine and Szeremeta kindly offered it to be reproduced over at Learn. He then did an interview with Michelle Orpe in which he adds a few other thoughts about the show and his life in poker.

Coincidentally, Howard Swains found reason to write about Late Night Poker over on the PokerStars blog just a little over a week ago (right before we ran Szeremeta’s series) thanks to the fact that Jin Cai Lin, one of those playing in Vienna, had been a regular on the original show. Read what Howard had to say both about the show and Lin by clicking here.

Meanwhile, back over on Learn.PokerNews there have been other, cool strategy entries of late and features, too, by a variety of contributors, with new content going up each day, so get clicking.

With all of these trips and my travel reports, today marks 19 straight days of scribblin’ over here. Thanks as always for stopping by, and enjoy the weekend. I know I will!

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