The World Poker Tour‘s new live-streamed cash game show makes for some excellent viewing.
The WPT in intially put together High Stakes Home Game to drum up interest in the ClubWPT Diamond. ClubWPT is running its own series of freerolls for its members. The goal of the whole thing was getting players to sign up to ClubWPT. However, the show ended up being much more than that.
The first session was every bit as entertaining as cash game shows like High Stakes Poker. If WPT throws a bit more weight behind the HSHG idea, it could be a great competitor to PokerGO’s revived HSP.
Plus, HSHG is free on Twitch, which is a massive selling point given PokerGO’s pricing.
Session one was a ladies-only game with blinds of $25/$50 and a fantastic lineup of poker pros and well known amateurs. The second session is a high stakes $200/$400 match with Tom Dwan.
The first seven hour session of HSHG went up yesterday. It played out live with a two-hour delay. The second session is already underway today.
Filling the table with streamers who bank on their charisma makes for an eminently watchable table with a ton of entertaining chat. At one point a human baby even joined the table. Though, disappointingly, neither as a player nor as someone’s stake.
I also can’t remember a better dressed TV table since that mid-noughties Monte Carlo game where the showrunners tried to get everyone (including an incalcitrant Phil Hellmuth) into black tie. You can tell everyone at the table has been dying to get out of their online home-office COVID sweatpants.
The WPT also invested in some excellent commentators and an effective production team this time around. HSHG is a massive improvement on the disappointing coverage of the heads-up event in Cabo. All in all, it was top quality poker TV.
Poker pros Xuan Liu, Jamie Kerstetter, Ashley Sleeth, and Kelly Minkin were in the mix for the day one session. So were streamers Nemo and Ebony Kenney, poker writer Maria Konnikova, and chess players Alexandra and Andrea Botez—the former as a player, the latter was live streaming from behind the scenes.
“Watch me try not to get rolled on @WPT twitch channel,” Botez wrote ahead of her match.
In the first session Liu was the big winner, running her $5,000 buy in up to almost $22k. Kerstetter doubled up. Konnikova and Sleeth came in a little under break even. Nemo bought in twice and ended up a little over break even.
“Oh that went better than I could’ve thought,” Nemo tweeted.
The other amateurs on the other hand had a rough time of it. The ACR sponsored Kenney fired two $5k bullets and finished the session with about $4.7k for a substantial loss. Despite this, it was clear Kenney enjoyed herself at the table. She tweeted after cashing her chips.
“1st live session in 18 months and it was a doozy,” Kenney wrote. “Ran bad, lost heaps, but let’s be real — had THE MOST fun with such amazing humans. Women are awesome.”
Nemo’s fellow streamer Botez bought in for $15k and cashed out for $8.3k.
Though that doesn’t including what Botez managed to hustle behind the scenes over the chessboard. There’s clearly some overlap between chess streaming and card sharking.
Here come the boys
Today’s session has somewhat higher stakes with blinds at $200/$400 and starting stacks of $50k.
Nemo is back today, though this time in the commentary booth.
Bruno Furth, Scott Seiver, Jesse Sylvia, Landon Tice, Dan Smith, and Jake Daniels are playing. At some point, Tom Dwan will also show up. So far the fashion choices are substantially less impressive than in session one. Though with Tice on the table there are at least as many babies in this second session.
“Catch now the High Stakes #WPT Home Game live on [the WPT twitch channel.] Playing $200/$400NL $50K BI,” the WPT tweeted.
Of course, you can organise your own home game if you want to recreate the fun of the stream.
Featured image source: Twitter