Category Archives: Television

Stan’s Lists – Poker Players on Reality Shows


[SS] “There are reality poker shows, and there are reality shows with poker players on them”, Stan the Stat stated.

[RR] “Disproportionately represented by women”, Roderick the Rock noted, “not that I’m complaining.”

[LL] “I can’t really stand any of those shows, but I have to say, Annie Duke was robbed”, Leroy the Lion contributed.

[SS] “Now, of course, lots of people play poker, so this list only includes poker pros. I didn’t count amateurs like Adam Gersh on Unan1mous and Dan Barbour on I Survived a Japanese Game Show.

Poker Players on U.S. Reality Game Shows1

Show (Wikipedia link) Network Year (IMDB link) Poker Player Notes
MasterChef 72 Fox 2016 David Williams Spoiler (highlight to see): finished third out of 20
Survivor 32: Kaoh Rong3 CBS 2016 Anna Khait Spoiler (highlight to see): fifth person voted off out of 18
Big Brother 174 CBS 2015 Vanessa Rousso Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 3rd out of 17
Survivor 28: Cagayan CBS 2014 Garrett Adelstein Adelstein has $122,766 in career tournament earnings according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database but is more of a cash game player; Spoiler (highlight to see): Adelstein was the second contestant voted out
The Millionaire Matchmaker Bravo 2013 Daniel Negreanu Video of “Wounded Wally and the Mama’s Boy” (1/10/13); Spoiler (highlight to see): seemed happy with his choice of Lindsay Blalock, but the relationship was already history by the time the episode aired
Worst Cooks in America Bravo 2012 Tiffany Michelle Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 5th out of 16
The Millionaire Matchmaker Bravo 2010 Beth Shak Video of “House of Cards” (11/9/10) for $1.99; Spoiler (highlight to see): She picked the millionaire (1,200 pairs of shoes cost a lot, you know), but none of the three men Patty set her up with were “so great” and she met someone else shortly after the episode was filmed; Shak also appeared on Celebrity Nightmares Decoded.
The Amazing Race 15 CBS 2009 Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 6th out of 12 two-player teams
Celebrity Apprentice NBC 2009 Annie Duke Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 2nd out of 16 (to Joan Rivers)
2 Months, $2 Million G4TV 2009 Dani Stern, Jay Rosenkrantz, Brian Roberts, and Emil Patel The four players share a house in Las Vegas and try to make $2 million playing online poker in only two months; Video of the first of ten episodes; Spoiler (highlight to see): ended up making $676,700
Rob and Amber: Against the Odds FOX Reality Channel 2007 Rob Mariano Survivor and The Amazing Race contestant Rob Mariano tries to make it as a professional poker, with Daniel Negreanu as his tutor
Survivor 15: China CBS 2007 Jean Robert Bellande Spoiler (highlight to see): finished 9th out of 16

[RR] “How does Rob Mariano belong on the list?”

[SS] “Believe it or not, he won $50,000 in 2006 by placing sixth in the Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker Tournament. For that, Boston Rob got into Hendon’s Database and earned a wild card onto this list.”

[SS] “Poker pros have also appeared on reality lifestyle shows. I may have seen some of these, but you’ll never get me to admit it:”

Poker Players on U.S. Reality Lifestyle Shows1

Show (Wikipedia link) Network Year (IMDB link) Poker Player Notes
Sin City Rules TLC 2012-13 Jennifer Harman Harman and four other somewhat important Vegas women (Lana Fuchs [daughter of a famous mobster], Amy Hanley [entrepreneur], Alicia Jacobs [reporter], and Lori Montoya [cosmetics line]); f.k.a. Vegas High Rollers; 5 episodes aired and 3 were posted to the web site
I Bet My Life Travel Channel 2012 Liv Boeree and Kevin MacPhee The Iron Maiden and ImaLuckSac play in a European Poker Tour $14,000 buy-in tournament in Monte Carlo, Monaco; trailer (pilot only); Spoiler (highlight to see): neither player made the money
NY Ink TLC 2012 Beth Shak Clip from the “Poker Hottie” episode
I Bet You MOJO HD 2007-08 Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak YouTube Playlist; 2 seasons with a total of 24 episodes; 3rd season filmed but never aired as iN Demand cancelled the entire network
My Life on the D List Bravo 2007 Mike Matusow In the “Loose Cannon” episode, the Mouth has a blind date with the show’s star, comedienne Kathy Griffin; 4-minute YouTube video

[LL] “I Bet You was quite funny at times; pairing Laak and Esfandiari was a good bet. But I think the people who produced some of these other shows need a reality check.”

[RR] “No surprise that the other shows all folded pretty quickly.”

Footnotes:

  1. The tables are sorted by recency. Tap on the header to sort by any column. You need to view the post by itself for this to work.
  2. September 15, 2016 Update: Added David Williams’s appearance on MasterChef 7.
  3. March 17, 2016 Update: Added Anna Khait’s appearance on Survivor 32: Kaoh Rong.
  4. September 24, 2015 Update: Added Vanessa Rousso’s appearance on Big Brother 17.

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Poker Reality Television Shows


[RR] “Speaking of entertaining, what about reality poker television shows? I have to admit that I’m a sucker for them”, claimed Roderick the Rock.

[SS] “I consider them a guilty pleasure; more of a pointless primetime puff piece than a poker production”, Stan the Stat admitted.

[LL] “I enjoyed some of the shows but couldn’t stand others”, Leroy the Lion added, “depending mostly on how much actual poker content there was.”

[SS] “Yeah, it’s a pretty wide assortment of shows. Somebody must have liked them though, because I have a list of proposed shows that’s even longer!”

Reality Poker Shows on U.S. Television1

Show (Wikipedia link) Network Years (IMDB link) Location2 Commentators Notes
Best Damn Poker Show Fox Sports Net 2008-09 Pechanga Resort (2008; Temecula, CA), San Manuel Casino (2009; Highland, CA) Chris Rose (2008), Dave Stann (2009) Two 7-week seasons, starting with 24 players, eventually split into Team Duke and Team Hellmuth; a.k.a. Best Damn Poker Challenge and a sequel to Ultimatepoker.com Showdown in the U.K. in 2005 with Duke, Hellmuth, and 5 players, including Liv Boeree
Face the Ace NBC 2009 Cin City Studios Steve Schirrpa and Ali Nejad Amateurs face one to three poker pros in heads-up matches (for $40K, $200K, and $1M, all-or-nothing)
Ace in the House GSN 2007 various homes Cory Zeidman Five amateur poker players play a single-table tournament against each other and a random pro (e.g., Mike Matusow in the first episode) for $10,000 ($20,000 if the pro has to rebuy for half of the starting stack); video playlist of the first and only episode
Annie Duke Takes On the World GSN 2006 ? Annie Duke and Regan Burns Four amateur poker players play each other for a chance at $10,000 against Annie Duke, who also advises them
King of Vegas Spike 2006 Bally’s Casino Resort Max Kellerman and Wayne Allyn Root Six amateurs, three professional blackjack players, and three professional poker players compete in eight different games, four per episode (starting with blackjack, two of Caribbean Stud Poker/Craps/Horse racing/Mini-Baccarat/Pai Gow Poker/Red Dog/Roulette, and ending with Hold ‘Em)

Proposed Reality Poker Shows1

Show (web link) Status Year (video link) Notes
Big Slick Poker Academy to be filmed during WSOP in June 2014 2014 Reality show could just be overpromised marketing fluff from the poker training company
Poker Entertainment Network entire poker network planned but already delayed a year 2014 New network was supposed to debut in December 2013 but now delayed until December 2014; 24/7 with Poker Tournaments, Reality, Poker News, Documentary, and Movies
Poker Night in America in production? 2014 Poker playing and behind-the-scenes footage with Kristy Arnett, David “ODB” Baker, Lauren Billings, Shawn Buchanan, Eli Elezra, Layne Flack, Phil Laak, Mike “the Mouth” Matusow, David Levi, Greg “FBT” Mueller, Tom “Donkeybomber” Schneider, Gavin Smith, David Williams; Arnett and Billings won an open casting call
Pool, Poker & Pain casting call in 2011 then nothing 2014 16 to 20 contestants learn and compete in pool, MMA fighting, and poker; created by Blair Thein with Doug Stanley, producer of Deadliest Catch
Great American Poker Challenge tournaments were held but no show was produced 2013 Events happened early November 2013 at Planet Hollywood, but the promise of a reality TV show seems to have been lost
Queens Are Wild announced by E! Network then nothing 2013 Follows four top female poker pros, including Maria Ho
Full House with Johnny Chan sizzle reel created 2012 Five “up-and-coming” poker players (all Las Vegas cash game grinders) compete and get trained by Johnny Chan
Fatty’s: Where the Game Gets REAL casting call then nothing 2010 Combines poker and fantasy sports but never seems to have gotten off the ground; Created by Scott “Mayhem” Einiger, who knocked Phil Ivey out on Day Two of the 2010 WSOP Main Event
Young Guns 5-1/2 minute trailer created 2010 Follows four online poker pros (Chris Sparks, Chris “The Captain” Jackson, Jurran “The Kid” Joshu, and Seth Otterstad) for two months living together in a Hollywood Hills villa

Footnotes:

  1. The tables are sorted by recency. Tap on the header to sort by any column. You need to view the post by itself for this to work.
  2. All locations are in Las Vegas, Nevada unless specified otherwise.

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  • Special props to Poker Tube for their amazing collection of poker videos.


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