A new game show debuted on Nov. 25 via Poker Central’s subscription PokerGO network. The Big Blind brings the strategy of poker to a trivia show format with special guests and contestants.
The show has players betting on their knowledge of poker, gambling, casinos and everything else Las Vegas. The show is filmed at the PokerGO Studio at the Aria in Sin City.
“At Poker Central, we are always thinking outside the box of traditional poker content,” company president Sam Simmons.
“The Big Blind and its blend of trivia with poker strategy allows us to bring a fresh form of entertainment to PokerGO subscribers, bringing both new and seasoned poker players to the table for this fun new format.”
Questions, answers, celebrities and $30,000 on the line
The show streams every Monday and Friday through to the show finale on Jan. 6. The final three contestants will then play for $30,000 in prize money.
Poker Central producer John Bovenizer created the 18-player, four-round tournament program. The first season of The Big Blind will feature several guest contestants, including:
- Norm Macdonald – comedian, Saturday Night Live alum, and poker player
- Scott Vener – music producer
- Mike “The Mouth” Matusow – professional poker player and podcaster
- Chris Moneymaker – longtime PokerStars ambassador and winner of the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event
From poker host to game show guy
The Big Blind is hosted by PokerGO host and commentator Jeff Platt, who spoke with USPoker about what to expect.
“It’s an incredibly entertaining group of players, who will certainly make this show stand out,” Platt says.
“I think the Poker Central team, led by Sam Simmons, deserves a lot of credit for green-lighting a project with a completely unique format. The development of this kind of original programming makes me proud to be a part of that team.”
Platt was surprised at how intense the competition gets and believes it makes for compelling viewing for poker fans. The show even throws in a real money poker hand.
“I think poker players watching at home will love the ability to play along with the contestants,” says Platt, who lives in Las Vegas and is originally from Dallas, Texas.
“Not only by answering trivia questions, but the end of every episode brings our ‘Against the House’ video finale, where both contestants and viewers have to put themselves in the shoes of the best poker players in the world during a hand. I also believe viewers at home can simply sit back and be entertained by their favorite personalities.”
The show duties fulfill a dream for Platt, who has also worked as a television sports reporter and anchor.
“I absolutely love being a part of The Big Blind,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to host a game show, and am incredibly fortunate to have found one that has poker elements throughout. It’s different than my traditional role, which is exciting. But for the most part, I’m just sitting back like the audience and being entertained by our contestants.”
PokerGO adds to non-tournament programming
PokerGO debuted in 2015 and streams World Series of Poker events as well as other tournaments and poker-related content. The new program throws something new into the mix.
Trivia categories on the show run the gamut from contemporary poker and tournament knowledge to Vegas history and pop culture. Past Jeopardy champion and poker player Alex Jacob even makes an appearance.
This isn’t the first effort at building a game show around poker. Face the Ace debuted on NBC in 2009 and was sponsored by Full Tilt Poker. Contestants matched up against poker pros for a chance at up to $1 million.
PokerStars sponsored a show called the Million Dollar Challenge for two seasons, beginning in 2009. The show aired on Fox with contestants playing celebrities, poker pros, and eventually Daniel Negreanu in hopes of winning $1 million.
In 2007, I Bet You featured poker pro Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak making crazy prop bets. The famous poker buds traveled the world doing some crazy antics such as wrestling alligators.
Several other poker players have also been featured on Survivor. The most famous was Jean-Robert Bellande, who was on the show in 2007. He was the eighth player voted out that season and the second member of the jury.
The Big Blind doesn’t feature alligator wrangling or a million-dollar payday. But it does offer a fun format and an interesting twist on a poker game show.