Face The Ace Premiered on NBC

Face the Ace premiered on NBC in primetime this weekend.

Not one of the “aces” won their match. The first contestant beat Phil Ivey and walked away with $40k.

The second guy, Don Topel (above), defeated Erick Lindgren and Howard Lederer for a guaranteed $100,000. He comes back next week for a shot at a milli.

While the show has some potential, it definitely needs some tweaks. Steve Schirripa seemed a little awkward as host. Most of the entertainment really relied on the pros making convo. The show could move a little faster, add a little more Ali Nejad, and maybe use some background mood music or Peter Bretter inspired tones.

But hey, poker is on primetime and regular Joes are playing for big bankrolls so there’s promise. We’ll see how it plays. If you watched it let us know what you thought.


22 Responses

  1. nsd14

    August 3, 2009 1:01 am, Reply

    “…Steve Schirripa seemed a little awkward as host…”

    A LITTLE?!?!?!

    he was downright annoying….dump his ass and make Ali the host…

  2. hecubus

    August 3, 2009 5:08 am, Reply

    The first contested had all the charisma of lump of coal. Shows like Deal or No Deal carefully screen their contestants to make for good TV, but the problem with “Face the Ace” is you get guys like the first contestant who win freerolls and make for horrible TV. Don Topel was much better, he could actually hold a conversation, and the best segment of the shows was him versus Lindgren.

  3. Viticus

    August 3, 2009 7:13 am, Reply

    i agree. the show definitely has potential. My fiance, who doesn’t understand the least about poker, was actually halfway interested. I think the display of a players “outs” on the top of the screen helped. It gives people cards to cheer for and actually get excited if one of them hits. The other dynamic that seemed to drag her in was the all or nothing money steps. She looked at me after the guy won $200,000 and says, ” You would not be giving up 200,000!” (If she only knew.)

    One more thing I noticed, she was cheering for the amateur. I, as a poker enthusiast, was sweating the pros. Weird.

  4. CJ

    August 3, 2009 7:20 am, Reply

    Similar to Viticus…

    My wife really enjoyed the show. She wasn’t sure why they were putting the outs at the top of the screen until I explained it to her. She can play a little poker, but she’s very much a novice.

    I didn’t think it was bad… but it could use some tweaks.

  5. Gaberson

    August 3, 2009 12:20 pm, Reply

    Worst Poker Show EVER!!!
    Poker shows have now officially “jumped the shark.” I would describe the show in two words: Dumpster Fire.

  6. killogram

    August 3, 2009 1:10 pm, Reply

    The best part of the show by far was watching the pro’s trying to engage the amateur’s in conversation in order to glean valuable personality information from them. That was great!

  7. Sebastien

    August 3, 2009 1:57 pm, Reply

    I think Schirripa was a poor choice for a host. And since they had a on-screen host (Schirripa) and an off-screen announcer, why did they need Nejad to both add commentary off-screen as well as come out on-screen and do Schirripa’s job?

    Dump Nejad. Replace Schirripa with Jason Alexander…. He’s been begging for work and he seems like he would add some humor to the show. Lower the first prize level or make it where they can’t lose their first prize level so guys don’t walk off after winning one round. Let the home viewer know which Pros are “on-duty” at the beginning of each episode.

    It would be cool also to have these amateurs hooked up to HR monitors so the home viewer can see their heart rate pick up at crucial moments.

    • Image 17

      August 3, 2009 3:20 pm, Reply

      My thoughts exactly….Steve Schirippa is a trainwreck and the last thing poker needs is to be associated with a “Wise Guy” type of personality (real or portrayed).The game has worked for years to rid itself of that type of stigma and to be brought into the mainstream in a positive light.

      It doesn’t make any sense, and as far as replacements; yes Ali Nejad could do very well, or Jason Alexander or even Brad Garrett or Gabe Kaplan. Any celeb who is in the poker spotlight could helm that show very nicely and make for somewhat interesting TV.

      It will take a few tweaks to tighten up the show, but there is some promise for fairly enjoyable viewing in a great timeslot. Lets hope someone makes the changes before the network pulls the chute.

  8. NBC_Donkey_TV

    August 3, 2009 5:33 pm, Reply

    The show was not that good. I stopped watching it and went back to my online games. It was on in the background. How to move it to the foreground? Dump the wise guy, mobster, hit man. That is an image that Vegas, AC, and poker have been trying to shed for years. Not too bright of NBC to make that connection, but they did run Heros into the ground.

    I agree with other posters, get a celebrity that knows poker like Gabe Kaplan. Jason Alexander and Brad Garrett are both donkeys. They would be better than the mob loser but not by much. And I do agree about screening the players, get rid of the lucky donkeys that win a free roll by calling an AI with Q7off.

  9. Schmelzer

    August 3, 2009 5:36 pm, Reply

    The guy that beta Ivey seemed like a prick. He definitely was trying to needle Ivey with the, “I didn’t see your picture hanging up in Binions,” comment. Who is he to talk shit to the best player? Ivey also clearly didn’t care as he just shipped it early, but I’m sure it’d be hard to get Ivey to care unless he had a few 100k to win.

    The show needs some way to get excitement and/or suspense. The only thing I can think of right now is maybe somhting like have an Ace play the rest of your hand for you in a tough pot or somehting like that. Something comparable to lifelines a la Millionaire.

    I agree about Ali. Either make him the main host or get rid of him. He has kind of an awkward job that I don’t know if even he knows what his actual role is.

    Overall, it does have a chance to be an interesting show. Without changes, however, it will fail.

  10. Kajagugu

    August 3, 2009 7:30 pm, Reply

    The best part of the show was when they show the outs at the top of the screen. Don’t you wish they would do that on FTP? Or when playing live? That would be teh awesome.

  11. Viticus

    August 3, 2009 9:50 pm, Reply

    the heart monitor might be a nice variable. along with knowing which pros were behind each door it might help if the pro’s history was given to the audience before the contestant picks.

    i agree with the previous comments about too many people in the mix. slim down the “talent” and get someone who will speak frankly, has some knowledge of the game, but most importantly that people actually like. are there really people that would watch just for Steve Schirripa? Brad Garret and Jason Alexander may not be top choices but at least those options would bring an audience. I dont see fans of The Soprano’s tuning in specifically to see Steve bumblef*ck around.

    Oh, and am I the only person who cant stand to hear Gabe Kaplan speak?

  12. Da1starr

    August 3, 2009 10:32 pm, Reply

    I liked it…Ivey didn’t really look “into it”…but I thought it was pretty good otherwise. Cool to see what the average joe can do if given the chance.

  13. Matthew

    August 4, 2009 12:09 am, Reply

    I don’t know about that host, needs a bit of work in a few areas, Do they actually win the money or is it like game shows that only give him money when the show ends up airing?

  14. Jim

    August 4, 2009 4:51 am, Reply

    As a poker fan and player I found the first episode excruciatingly painful and boring to watch. I wanted to like this show but it was horrible. I give this one 4 weeks and it will be off the air. Yikes!

  15. Chris Tessaro

    August 4, 2009 5:30 am, Reply

    I have brought this point up before: with the PPA trying to convince Congress that poker is a game of skill, what the HELL is Fulltilt, Lederer, Mori Eskandanti, and everyone else thinking by putting poker into a GAME SHOW format? What a fantastic way to show that it’s just the luck of the draw, and that there is no skill involved. We, as poker players, know different. But to the vast public, this just makes it a big luckfest, and is contrary to what the poker industry is trying to sell Congress…

    • hecubus

      August 4, 2009 4:45 pm, Reply

      I totally agree with Chris. I was trying to explain to my wife that an amateur beating Ivey heads up on one occasion is not really that big a deal or difficult to beleive, and she asked “well then how is poker not just a game of luck?” I think this is how the program may come across when cracked out amateurs are beating Ivey. But what they won’t see is that if the cracked out amateur played Ivey heads up every day for a six months, there is zero chance the amateur would be ahead.

  16. Steve

    August 7, 2009 4:34 am, Reply

    I think the show is a good show, concept is a good one. Playing heads up is not an easy thing to do. If the show is looking at a different MC, then they should look for someone who has poker knowledge or train Steve Schirippa in poker.

    I feel for this show to be successful as Texas Holdem is the game of choice, there should be more qualifying tournaments on Full Tilt. It is hard to play against almost 4000 + players on a sunday night at 9:15 with under 5% of the players being able to move on.

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