On Monday, June 14, the PokerStars.net sponsored “Big Game” will debut on Fox affiliates in late night. The daily show features an action-packed first week that includes Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, Phil Laak, and Tony G. The “Big Game” boasts a $100,000 buy-in and $200/$400 blinds, with one “loose cannon” amateur taking to the felts to battle five pros.
Serving as the broadcast team for the six-week “Big Game” are “Million Dollar Challenge” host Chris Rose and PokerRoad’s Joe Stapleton. Poker News Daily sat down with Rose to preview the brand new high-stakes poker cash game series. By the way, Rose will be giving updates on the “Big Game” on Twitter, where he can be found at @chris_rose14.
Poker News Daily: How did you get involved with announcing poker?
Chris Rose: Six years ago, my boss came to me and said they were getting heavy into the poker world and thought I’d be good for it. I had never played a hand of poker in my life and he said that was fine. I remember sitting up nights with Howard Lederer, who taught me poker from scratch, going over things.
PND: What can viewers of the PokerStars “Big Game” expect when the series debuts on June 14th?
Chris Rose: The fact that you have poker pros salivating for the chance to sit at a table with a fish with $100,000 in front of them is great. A lot of amateur players have never had that kind of money walking into that situation. We’re all able to put ourselves in that person’s chair. The “loose cannon” is really the wild card. Some of them get lucky, some of them are very bright players, and some end up limping away. It’s really cool because you can identify with them.
PND: We saw that there is a large amount of banter between Phil Hellmuth and Tony G in the first week’s worth of shows.
Chris Rose: The first week is pure gold. Tony G and Phil Hellmuth are seated next to one another. There were times when Joe Stapleton and I were voicing the show and laughing because Tony G was digging in and not letting go for hours on end. It was a thing of beauty to listen to. There are a few walkaways from the table, Phil wanting to know if this is for real or if it’s been set up, and all sorts of nice stuff.
PND: What was it like working with Joe Stapleton, who has primarily made his mark on the world of poker radio?
Chris Rose: Joe is great and I’ve been very impressed. To get your first shot at TV and do as well as he is doing is great. I think he’s really easy to listen to in terms of the comedy aspect of it and he knows his stuff. He’s able to balance poker and his humorous side really well. It’s important for people to enjoy the poker and laugh at the same time.
PND: Is there more poker in store for you?
Chris Rose: We’ll be back for a second season of “Million Dollar Challenge” in the fall. I believe we’ll do seven more episodes that will air during football season again. It was the highest rated poker show in TV history and that football audience brought people in. They also really enjoyed it. We were running a poker game show. Is it gimmicky? Yes, but that was the fun part. Last year, we saw a 9/11 hero walk away with a million bucks. To me, that’s very cool.
PND: Aside from poker, what was the most memorable sports moment you’ve witnessed?
Chris Rose: The greatest event I’ve been to was the 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, which was our first BCS game at Fox. It was Boise State against Oklahoma. I love college football because literally the fan base in those big games is split in two colors, so it’s like having two home games. These little kids from Boise State were unbeaten, got out to a huge lead, and Oklahoma scored in the last two minutes. Then, there was a Hook and Ladder play and a Statue of Liberty play. We had to fly on a jet that night to go to Miami and none of us could sleep because we were so excited.
PND: Can you talk about the difficulty of announcing poker compared to sports like baseball and football?
Chris Rose: The styles are different. In poker, you’re calling something that’s been edited down. You know the ending and can go back and clean it up. It’s tedious and there’s a lot of going back and forth. In baseball, the live tempo of the game is something I’m still trying to figure out. In football, there’s a solid tempo because there’s a clock. You get the call of the play, your analyst comes in and talks about it, and then you set up the next situation. There’s a tempo that truly dictates where you’re going. There’s almost a script without there being a script.
PND: Finally, should Bud Selig have overturned the incorrect call by Jim Joyce to end Armando Galarraga’s perfect game?
Chris Rose: No. Then, are we going to have him overturn things later in the year that have playoff implications? We all love history and Jim Joyce was the first person to raise his hand and apologize. Bud did the right thing by not overturning it. If they want to expand the replay system, I can get on board with that. Last year, Joe Mauer hit a ball that was fair in Yankee Stadium and an ump called it foul. If that ball ends up being fair, does it change the outcome of the game and the series?