Possible return looms for classic British TV show ‘Late Night Poker’

Haley Hintze
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Published: January 16, 2022 11:26 PM EST

One of the most famed television shows in poker history may be set for a return later in 2022, as a plan to launch an updated version of the British classic, “Late Night Poker,” has emerged. Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong has announced his plans to relaunch the seminal poker series with a mix of old and new players.

Premiering in 1999, the original “Late Night Poker” featured prominent UK players squaring off each episode in what amounted to a single-table no-limit hold’em tournament, with winners of preliminary episodes then returning to play in later episodes until the final, when a winner was crowned. The late David “Devilfish” Ulliott won the show’s Season 1 final, helping to establish himself as perhaps poker’s most famous player. Simon Trumper won the Season 2 title, and he will likely be a prominent part of the revised program, if and when it’s launched:

Besides Ulliott and Trumper, numerous British pros found their first televised fame on Late Night Poker broadcasts, Surinder Sunar,¬†Liam Flood,¬†Dave Colclough, and the Hendon Mob —¬†Joe Beevers,¬†Barny Boatman,¬†Ross Boatman¬†and¬†Ram Vaswani.

The show itself was seminal in other ways: It marked the first use of hole-card cameras, as designed for the purpose by inventor and poker player Henry Orenstein. Orenstein, who passed away last month at the age of 98, was enshrined in the Poker Hall of Fame in large part due to his development of the hole-card cam, which enabled the strategy of the game to be enjoyed by television viewers.

Late Night Poker’s earlier runs touched three decades

The original “Late Night Poker” was an underground success, which took on several forms and spawned a couple of spinoff poker series before it was retired in 2011 after its second multi-season run. “Late Night Poker’s” first run included six series — each a self-enclosed tournament — that ran between 1999 and 2002. The second duty tour for the show covered five more seasons and ran from 2008-2011. Meanwhile, Orenstein’s hole-card camera concept inspired further adaptations and became the way televised poker gained mainstream popularity, such as keying the long-running televised success of the U.S,’s World Poker Tour.

In between Late Night Poker’s first two runs, spinoffs “Late Night Poker Ace” and “Late Night Poker Masters” appeared, running from 2005 to 2007. There were also a handful of special programs tied to the series, such as a celebrity edition that debuted in 2000.

As Yong noted, the revamped “Late Night Poker” would be filmed at his Dusk Till Dawn poker club in London. The club itself has suffered its own down time, being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic from March 2020 until reopening in October 2021.

Yong’s call for possible participants resolved dozens of enthusiastic responses, including from original-show participant Barny Boatman. All of the HendonMob players would likely receive invites (though Ross Boatman’s current acting-career obligations could cause scheduling difficulties. Newer British players such as Patrick Leonard — who Yong is quite familiar with from his partypoker career — are also at the top of a potential invite list.

Even some well-known American pros expressed interest, including all-round poker star Shaun Deeb. But whether a revitalized “Late Night Poker” extends invitations overseas remains unknown. As Yong responded to Deeb, “Long way for you to travel, mate.”

Featured image source: YouTube