Released every Tuesday on ESPN.com are new 30 minute editions of the hit poker show “Inside Deal.” Hosted by Poker News Daily Guest Columnist Bernard Lee and ESPN: The Magazine’s Laura Lane, “Inside Deal” has quickly acquired a loyal audience after debuting on August 4th. We sat down with Lane to discuss its success.
Poker News Daily: Tell us how you became involved with ESPN’s “Inside Deal.”
Lane: I write for ESPN: The Magazine and ESPN.com. I also did a lot of sports and entertainment television when I was in college. ESPN knew I liked poker, they approached me, and it went from there.
PND: Can you give us your poker background?
Lane: I first learned about poker from my little brother. We watched it on television and any time I hung out with him, I had to play. Then, I started playing against sports reporters in a weekly game. I got pretty good really fast. I would play every week in college, read books, watch it on television, and ended up playing in a charity tournament during the Sundance Film Festival. Jamie Gold was there giving lessons, so I sat down and got a lesson from him. Paul Wasicka and Todd Brunson were also there. I made it to the final table and finished fifth.
PND: Did you get any advice from Gold?
Lane: I didn’t know much at the time. There were three tables left and he told me to go all-in with the next best hand I got. I picked up K-K and Jamie was sitting at my table. I pushed all-in, Jamie looked at me, and said he’d fold. After that, everyone at the table gave me respect.
PND: How is “Inside Deal” compiled before it debuts on ESPN.com? What work goes into it?
Lane: Andrew Feldman, the Poker Editor for ESPN.com, has good judgment when it comes to news stories. Bernard is the poker pro and has interviewed a lot of the players before. We talk about what stories are good for the week and, ultimately, our producer makes the call on what airs.
PND: The chemistry between Bernard Lee and you seems to be pretty strong. Tell us about working with one of poker’s top minds.
Lane: He’s one of the nicest guys ever. We had a phone conversation before we ever met while he was in Hawaii. I read his blog back in 2005 when he had a deep run in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and had a lot of questions for him about that. We’re both passionate and it’s nice working with someone who cares so much about the show. We keep talking about how we need a Sunday night game together because we shoot the show on Mondays. We had a barbeque after last week’s show and like hanging out with other.
PND: Has working on “Inside Deal” improved your own game?
Lane: I haven’t tested it out since we started filming the show. However, I’ve been learning so many tips that I probably should have known before, which will help undoubtedly me.
PND: Is it intimidating interviewing poker’s elite like Barry Greenstein, Chris Moneymaker, and Dennis Phillips?
Lane: Bernard has played with everyone, so he doesn’t get intimidated. Andrew has interviewed all of the top players. I’ve interviewed Jamie Gold and wrote articles for All In Magazine when it existed. I interviewed Greg Raymer when I was in college. I’ve interview A-list celebrities like Kobe Bryant and Kanye West, so I’m pretty comfortable.
PND: What feedback have you received from the show from friends, family, and co-workers who have watched it?
Lane: My little sister is honest. She’ll say, “Your hair looks better when it’s half up” and comment on my looks more than anything. Other people give me constructive tips. My mom says she doesn’t understand what we’re talking about. I went over to a friend’s house and they hadn’t seen it yet, so we watched it. They all wanted to know how I did it. Some of my friends are baffled by it.
PND: “Inside Deal” is slated to run weekly until the WSOP Main Event final table in November. What do you foresee beyond that?
Lane: The Main Event is the Super Bowl of poker, but there are so many different tournaments throughout the year. A show like ours could go year-round, but we’ll have to wait and see.
PND: Is there a market for a poker show like “Inside Deal” on television?
Lane: I really hope so. Poker is constantly growing and there are more people interested in it than ever before. People watch repeats of it over and over on networks like ESPN. The market is definitely strong. I would hope that in the next year or so, a show like ours is on television.