On Tuesday, Poker Central announced that it has acquired the High Stakes Poker brand and assets. Poker Central’s subscription streaming service, PokerGO, will start hosting episodes of the program “in the coming months.” Future distribution of High Stakes Poker might include broadcast and other streaming services.
“High Stakes Poker was a remarkable poker program. With star players, massive pots, and memorable moments, the show beautifully conveys the drama of cash game poker,” said Sampson Simmons, president of Poker Central. “Bringing the existing episodes of High Stakes Poker to our platform and producing more in the future will enable us to recapture the nostalgia and magic of the show for our PokerGO subscribers in the present-day poker climate.”
High Stakes Poker debuted on January 16, 2006 and quickly became one of the most popular – if not the most popular – poker television shows when there were a lot of poker television shows flooding the airwaves. Poker fans loved watching their favorite poker pros, as well as deep-pocketed amateurs, throw stacks of cash around. The show introduced several young online poker players like Tom Dwan to a wider audience.
The show ran for seven seasons. The first season was taped at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. It moved to the Palms for its second season. Seasons three and four were taped at South Point Casino before it moved back to the Golden Nugget for seasons five and six. The seventh and final season was at the Bellagio.
Season seven was an interesting one in that no Full Tilt Poker pros (remember Full Tilt?) played because rival PokerStars became the sponsor of High Stakes Poker. That means that such popular players as Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, and Mike Matusow did not make appearances.
High Stakes Poker was unique in that, as opposed to most poker television that featured tournament play, it filmed top players competing in a cash game. For the first three seasons, the minimum buy-in was $100,000 (with a temporary increase to $500,000). The minimum buy-in doubled to $200,000 in season five. While almost no viewer could relate to the sums of money that were on the table, it was fascinating to watch players put hundreds of thousands of dollars into some pots. At times, they would literally throw bricks of cash into the middle.
Actor turned poker pro Gabe Kaplan experienced a bit of a mini renaissance in popularity as the co-host of High Stakes Poker, along with AJ Benza, for the first five seasons. Kaplan flew solo in the sixth season. Norm Macdonald took over hosting duties for the final season.
High Stakes Poker will join its one-time main competitor in late night poker TV, Poker After Dark, on the PokerGo service. PokerGo also streams World Series of Poker, the Aussie Millions, British Poker Open, partpoker MILLIONS, and other poker tournaments.