Celebrity Poker Showdown


ESPN has long mastered the art of making good poker into bad TV. Who knew bad poker could be good TV?

Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown showcased some pretty poor poker. In fairness, all the exposure the game's received lately has raised the bar pretty high. Plunk a bunch of celebrity amateurs at a table and it's bound to be ugly. Sure enough, the first outing saw baffling raises, insane calls, and some flat-out appalling luck. But that they-could-do-anything-because-they-don't-know-any-better factor made it fun to watch.

I love Kevin Pollak, and his Christopher Walken intro was hilarious. But after that, he wasn't on the A material. Poker pro Phil Gordon provided some great incredulous commentary-- it's always fun to make fun of celebs. I particularly liked the fact that players moved to the "Loser's Lounge" when they're knocked out where they can comment on the action and hope they'll show more of it next time around.

As an hour show, we only see a scant few hands. This makes the action seem disjointed, as players who were far ahead before the commerical suddenly drop to the back of the pack upon return. Room for improvement, then, but still an entertaining hour and one I intend to track faithfully.


I agree that it was entertaining, but the celebrity format could use a slight bit of improvement I thought. They dwealt a bit too much on their antics and personalities leaving the play just a bit too disjointed feeling. A casual observer could easily believe that the whole thing happened in about a dozen hands, which clearly wasn't the case.
In particular the comment about Affleck doing an unusual pre-flop raise struck me, as we'd only witnessed one or two before that.
I do have to say that as a big fan of the West Wing, I'm excited to tune in and see what happens next week.

Brian L

You can definitely tell that the producers are "feeling their way", and aren't really sure what angle on which to focus: Celebrity quips, The Loser's Lounge, Poker Analysis, etc. I feel like they've probably really got something here, though, and I look forward to them finding their comfort zone.

I have to say I was (a) appalled at some of the poor poker I saw being played, and (b) impressed at myself for recognizing that it was poor play. I've only seriously immersed myself in poker study for a few months now, but even I saw some basic good habits being ignored.

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