With the release on Wednesday of the first episode, the new season of High Stakes Poker seems to have gone over pretty well. Poker players in general and fans of the old show in particular all seem to agree that it has more or less captured the magic of the original.
Pros like Maria Ho and Daniel Negreanu were prompt and professional in their praise.
Daniel Negreanu tweeted, “If you miss High Stakes Poker the best poker show ever… it’s back. I watched episode 1 tonight and it leaves you anticipating next weeks episode.”
Then again, Negranu and Ho both do work for PokerGO from time to time, and Negreanu is in later episodes of the show. So there may be less biased commentators out there.
One of the key factors in the new show’s appeal was the return of Gabe Kaplan and A J Benza to the commentary booth.
Plenty of players tweeted their congrats at Kaplan. Though A J didn’t get nearly as much love.
Chad McVean: “Some really interesting characters on the felt. Love hearing @GabeKaplan on commentary too!”
Nick: “Can’t wait to hear these two [Gabe and A J] back calling the action!”
Above all, people were pleased to see Tom Dwan back on the show. Even though he is somewhat changed as a player…
Poker Coach Jonathan Little tweeted, “I just watched the first episode of the new season of High Stakes Poker. It is everything you want it to be (besides @TomDwan being a bit nitty).”
One viewer noted that a decade can take its toll, with a particularly bleak-looking screen-cap of the ex-enfant terrible and the caption, “”I’m old enough to remember when Tom Dwan was a ‘young gun'”
Downswings and roundabouts
There were a few things amiss with the show.
Some people, like JoeySal, struggled with the slang-laden dialogue: “What the f*** does JRB even mean “empty the clip” in regards to Toms action on the river in the JJ<109 hand ??”
Others felt there wasn’t enough slang. “How come it beep out the best parts lol!?!?” tweeted Michael Martinez. “We wanna hear what they say?!! And where is the stacks of cash. This isn’t like high stakes poker”
He wasn’t the only one to miss the iconic, elastic-wrapped bales of greenbacks being plonked down on the baize.
Kasey Lyn Mills noted, “What bothers me the most is that they’re not throwing phat stacks of high society around the table. #showmethecash.”
One of the other main complaints people kept coming back to was the show’s strange choice of graphics.
Criticism ranged from the direct “Loving the new season of High Stakes Poker but really HATE THE GRAPHICS,” to the sarcastic, “I’m glad they added photos of the players next to their hands in case I forget what they look like.”
They’ve done it!
Overall though, despite the technical difficulties, the reaction has been largely positive. Yoti Epskamp complimented PokerGO on capturing “the feel of the original #HighStakesPoker“.
And Christian Soto-Vasquez tweeted that he is “still such a fan.”
Only a few, like John Ganz, just didn’t enjoy the show outright. “The new season is not good so far,” he tweeted. “Live at the bike” is way better, for table talk, level of play, everything.”
Mind you, Live at the Bike hasn’t been on air since July, so even the naysayers will probably just have to put up.
Others just resented being left out, like Tony G, who in reply to Rob Yong suggesting he should be in the lineup wrote back: “Thanks @rob_yong_ – you should also be in the line up for High Stakes Poker – @GabeKaplan in the box.”
At least Gabe’s back. One out of three ain’t bad, Tony.
Image source: Twitter