IS POKER HOT? YOU BET!
For poker players, “Shuffle up and deal!” are some of the sweetest words in the English language. They signal the start of a poker tournament — America’s new craze, thanks to television.
“Certainly poker has been the rave of the country as the new pastime because of television,” said Mike Sexton, who co-anchors no-limit hold-’em tournaments for Travel Channel’s World Poker Tour telecasts.
“Because of the success of the tour, many more prominent business people are coming to play. More women and certainly more college-age kidsJudi Online24jam, they love the show and are starting to play. The success of the show has been good for the entire poker industry because it’s brought so many more players into the game.”
The number of WPT viewers has climbed from 790,000 in its premiere season last year to 1.5 million this year. On ESPN, 1.9 million viewers recently watched a replay of the 2003 World Series of Poker tournament.
Poker is also hot on Fox Sports, which carries World Series of Poker-sanctioned tourneys, and on Bravo, home of Celebrity Poker Showdown. Television executives are thrilled to find a television show that skews to a young (most viewers are 21-34), predominantly male (70 percent) audience.
The growing viewership has resulted in increased entries in poker tournaments, including online poker tourneys in which amateurs can Judi Online24jam participate for as little as $40. Record purses have resulted.
A record audience is expected this week (8 p.m. Wednesday, Travel Channel) as the WPT presents its 2004 tournament, with the winner taking home a record purse of $2.7 million. On July 6, ESPN will begin telecasts of last May’s World Series of Poker, in which the winner won a record $5 million.
It’s hard to believe that poker-watching has come so far. The magic hinges on viewers being able to see the concealed cards the Judi Online24jam players hold, courtesy of well-positioned lipstick cameras around the poker table.