I Re-Raise You Two Huge Wads of Cash

Story provided by: Beans

Hsp_1If anyone has seen High Stakes Poker on the Game Show Network, then you have seen what can only be described as the most fascinating poker ever shown on television. 

Not that it was more dramatic or packed with greater story lines than other poker shows, but it was just more…well, real. It’s kind of like watching the Discovery Channel and seeing "creatures" act in their "natural habitat," which in this case, is the cash game (and thankfully comes without any of the mating scenes). 

Instead of the "zoo" that is tournament poker, which normally is full of characters, plots, back-stories, and crazy ass bitches, what you have here are high-stakes players risking hundreds of thousands of real dollars on every turn of the deck.

Not that tournament poker isn’t great to watch, but there is just something more visceral about watching these poker heavyweights take on each other dollar-for-dollar.  It’s hard to explain the distinction to a layperson (I tried and received glazed over eyes in response), but if you have ever played in a tournament and a cash game then you know the mental subtleties between the two.

The premise behind the show is that players bankroll themselves at a minimum $100k buy-in, and that each chip is worth exactly the corresponding amount that it displays.  So it’s just like what you’d get to see in Bobby’s Room if the Big Game had cameras to show you the hole cards.  And at these stakes, the GDP of some small countries is in the pot just waiting to be picked up on any given hand. 

JchanThe show features poker royalty such as Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Johnny Chan, and Jennifer Harman, but also brings the spotlight to some relatively unknown (until recently) cash game specialists such as Shawn Shiekhan, Fred Chamanara, and the ever-entertaining Dr. Jerry Buss.  As you can see, the firepower at this table is not to be underrated or even matched during regular tournament play. Where would you find all of those names at the same table (not counting Fox’s terrible Poker Superstars)?

Here are some of the more salient rules of play from the GSN website:

1. Players are allowed to buy in and continue playing if the initial buy-in of $100k is lost.
2. Players who lose his/her initial buy-in as often as preferred with $50k, $100k, or more each time.
3. There is more game play with more bluffs because Blinds and Antes remain the same.
4. Players are indeed permitted to place his/her cash on the table for all to see.

DnraiseThe game is played with the casino chips for the most part, but each player has massive amounts of cash sitting next to them that can be used at any time for raising purposes.  One of the enduring scenes from the episode that I saw was Daniel Negreanu looking at a raise, thinking, then reaching over and hoisting two 6-inch stacks of bills into the middle of the table to raise to an amount that I will never see in one place, ever. Seriously, ever.

If you get GSN (sorry Chops), then check out this one of a kind show on Mondays at 9/8c.  It also looks like you can catch the re-runs at any random time on any weeknight.

 

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