With live poker on the back burner for most of 2020, casino arm of Hustler (as opposed to the publishing arm) has seen an opportunity to create a new cash-game live streamed show.
They announced “Hustler Casino Live” on Twitter, it will play “5 days a week on YouTube, mid to high stakes, w/ all of your favorite LA players & poker celebrities + best of the best commentators”
They recently signed a deal with Ryan Feldman and Nick Vertucci to bring the show to life.
There are certainly arguments that this is a good time to launch a show like this.
Live poker TV has been in short supply. The pandemic has reset the playing field a bit with most live poker lost to shutdowns. Then there’s the challenge of lighting a table for a camera that’s walled in with reflective sheets of plexiglass.
The online WSOP events showed that there isn’t an obvious solution to making online games visually interesting. At a live table, you can watch the players sweating decisions, and hope that someone lamps Will Kassouf the way Sam Grizzle did Hellmuth.
Introducing Hustler Casino Live, a new live stream poker show coming soon to @HUSTLERCASINOLA
5 days a week on YouTube, mid to high stakes, w/ all of your favorite LA players & poker celebrities + best of the best commentators
— Hustler Casino Live (@HCLPokerShow) November 9, 2020
The elephant in the room
The two biggest names in live streaming are gone.
Live at the Bike (the gold standard for this sort of thing) hasn’t put a new episode out since 2018. While Stones Live! has been laying low for some reason. The latter case presents Hustler with a P.R. problem.
Many people still give credit to the allegations of cheating on the Stones live stream.
With that clearly in mind, Feldman told the press, “Game security and integrity are our top priority when producing our show. […] Players and production staff members will not be allowed to have any cell phones, smartwatches, or sunglasses. Prior to the start of each show, those items will be placed in a secure locked location. The items will be retrievable after the broadcast ends. During the show, players and production staff members will not have access to any of these items.”
Clearly, the goal here is to reassure people that there will be no equivalent to the Mike Postle scandal on this show.
Does it have legs?
Both Feldman and Vertucci come with experience won on LATB where they first started putting the idea together.
“After I left LATB,” Feldman said. “Nick and I began discussing some ideas about going into business together. To possibly bring a new livestream poker show to one of the L.A. casinos. We both have a similar vision and business mindset. So we realized quickly that we wanted to go into business together.”
But the boom that came when High Stakes Poker went off the air, seems over. Back then every casino that could, was throwing up a live-streamed cash game to try and become the show that plugged the HSP shaped hole in all out hearts.
Hustler Casino has seen an opportunity to get in on the live streaming game, just as it seems on its way out. And right as HSP is coming back.
They seem aware of this and are taking on HSP on its own terms.
The Hustler show is upping the game for poker live streams. Feldman described the new show as feeling less like a live stream and “more like watching a live TV broadcast of a sporting event. We are investing a lot of money, time, and resources to produce the best live stream poker show imaginable.”
Though COVID makes it hard to predict. They are hoping for the first episodes to start running in March or April of 2021.
Featured image source: Twitter