View Full Version : Pool vs Poker on TV

11-16-2004, 06:41 PM
What do you guys think the pool world could do to make pool as popular as poker on TV. Seems to me pool is the better spectator sport. I would think one major sponsor could make all the difference. I noticed bowling is getting a push on ESPN also, they even held a bowling tournament in Miller Park, a baseball stadium!!!

11-16-2004, 07:19 PM
I think that a lot of the poker on TV may be underwritten and is not drawing the kind of viewer ship it would seem. In most cases they are little more them infomercials for the host casino.

11-16-2004, 07:47 PM
I agree with Popcorns post. I will also say that I do think poker gets more viewers than pool, but I dont think there is anything simple that could be done to get the same amount of viewers to pool. IMO people watch poker for many reasons. The excitement of the money is some of it, but alot of it is people think they can relate to what is going on alot more with poker. They understand the game more (or think they do) and think they can learn from watching on TV. Many people think "I could do that" when they see poker on TV.

Its not that way with pool. The average person isnt going to see pool on TV and say "I could do that", and if they do, they dont understand what is going on and how hard it really is. While a serious student of the game can learn from watching the pros play, most people wont pick up on the patterns or shot selection that would help them out. And even if they did, they still have to learn the stroke and everything else it takes to play pool well.

I wish there was a simple answer to make pool popular, like just adding money, but Im afraid its going to take much more than that.

11-17-2004, 07:58 AM
Poker is more exciting to watch than pool for the average person. pros make 9 ball look like a kiddie game...who wants to watch that. Most people dont understand how hard pool is...everyone looks at pool on tv and says "this isnt hard...i would have made all of those shots too."

People see poker as a combo of luck and skill...the money is high stakes and its looks like a real big gamble...the people playing the games have great personalities. The commentating and show presentation are whole lot better.

Poker and bowling made tv pool look like crap in my opinion...it is getting to the point that i would rather watch bowling that pool....AND I DONT BOWL!!!

11-17-2004, 08:08 AM
I think the key reason why poker is more popular than pool is because in poker, the viewers are hooked by the characters, sometimes more than the skill of the players. They make the players more interesting by doing stories on them and delving into their lives. In the broadcast, they bring you closer to the game, you can hear the players talk, you get to know them. That's not the same for pool players. They have microphones attached to them but you rarely hear anything vaguely interesting come out of their mouths because they are so focused on the game. Characters are what make ratings, not only skill. Take a look at the resurgence of bowling on tv and you can see what I mean. When they let Pete Weber go nuts, the ratings went up. they wanted characters and it worked.

11-17-2004, 08:19 AM
The first time I watched poker on TV it was because I was channel surfing and while I was stopped on the Travel Channel for a brief moment I heard something like "Well Vince, this is a $450,000 pot and ....."

Now that got my attention and kept my attention and now I watch whenever I can find it because I've gotten to know the game and the players.

The name "Unibomber" brings on a whole new picture in my head these days. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Pool just won't be able to GRAB people the way poker does. We can all imagine that the deck will favor us the way it does those guys on TV and that dream of easy riches will bring me back every time. I'm easy! (well....maybe not "easy"...but I can be made /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif )

11-17-2004, 08:38 AM

"Most people dont understand how hard pool is...everyone looks at pool on tv and says "this isnt hard...i would have made all of those shots too."

Really, I think it is just the opposite. Most people can't make a ball and are amazed when they see you draw the cue ball. Pool they can only watch and wish, poker they can go out and play tonight with their friends if they want. Also with poker, they can say to themselves, "Hay, I'm a smart guy, if I read the books and practiced a little I could play with those guys". Even when one watches an action hero movie, the one watching sits in their chair imagining they would do all those brave feats. Their body will even go through emotional changes, I.E. in a Rocky movie the audience are punching the air as they get into the fight scenes. I really believe for those who like to watch poker, it can be a rush, something they can really get into, even for people who don't really play, they can on some level imagining turning over their cards and winning that $50,000. pot. I can't in my wildest dreams seeing watching pool tapping into that emotional side of a person. That may be what defines boring which is what most people say pool is to watch, even people who play the game. I think there is a lot more to what makes someone watch one thing or another, beyond just the presentation. They have to connect somehow emotionally and poker does that. We had a few people over at the house on Sunday and that Celebrity poker on Bravo was on the TV. We ended up watching it and the reaction of people as they watch is surprising. They are yelling at the TV, "Fold Fold", or "Go all in". Remember they know what the other players have so they can feel like geniuses watching because they know more then the players do. Looking at this, I know pool could never get a bunch people drawn in like that. No profound thoughts here just some observations.

11-17-2004, 08:58 AM
Repost off AZbilliards.
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I think the major cause of pool being a dud on TV is the money. People who tune into a sport on TV want to see something bigger then themselves, they want to see stars that are loaded with talent and money and are playing for huge stakes. They want these people to be famous and have that star quality that makes people tune into the Oscars just to watch people walk down the red carpet. This is not going to happen when you have the finals of a 160 player tournament going and you have 2 people playing who are lucky to make 100K a year playing for about a 15k difference of $30,000 to the winner or $15,000 to the loser. A viewer sees that and thinks "wow, I could not even buy that car I want if I won that tournament, what is the point?"

On the other hand look at golf. You have a sport where a bunch of multi millionaires are all out there hitting balls around a course (as predictable and slow as pool ever was) and they are playing for a payday of over $1,000,000 for first place. The viewer instead sees this and says "Wow, not only could I buy that car I want, I could buy a house as well, my life would be set! What a dream it would be to be able to do that and play pro golf"

It takes money to make money is a popular slogan, it has merit here though. In order for pool to advance it is going to need to impress the audiance with loads of cash and the pressence of stars. It is going to need the sport to look bigger then the lives of the people who tune in to watch it. That is the draw poker has. Joe who works a 9-5 job for 40k a year gets home and he flicks on the TV and he sees the World Series of Poker. He watches a bunch of people sitting at a table betting sums of money that make his yearly wage look like chump change and some guy winning millions of dollars, and for what, playing poker? This is a dream to Joe, he wishes his life could be so exciting and watching poker on TV is an escape for him where he can dream. When he watches pool on the other hand he sees some guy working his nuts off beating 159 other players in a tournament in order to make $30,000 in the biggest tournament in the USA, it looks alot like work to Joe.

Take a pool tournament and put it on TV, have a larger then life setting (a casino floor, or a stadium like the Worlds has, but put it in Vegas cause Vegas sells. When you are opening the show pan down the strip showing the scene in Vegas, the lights, the people milling around, ect... Then show the larger then life casino of the tournament, lets say the Luxor, a shot of the huge pyramid, the large light shooting out the top, the huge sphinx. Now inside the casino we go, briefly seeing the floor and such and then a shot of 2 hot tall show girls at a door who each open one door with big smiles and little clothes, and inside the doors we see the tables. Have show girls sitting near the players who do nothing more then pour the water for the players and such, making the players look important. In no way should the players rack their own balls or their opponent, this can be done by a ref dressed in some fancy tux type thing or if you get Michaella Tab maybe we could squeeze her into one of those show girl outfits? =). The key is to make the players look larger then life, they should be shown as kings and this is their castle. Have the winner winning a million dollars and then after a elaborate scene of getting the cash (not a check, I mean huge wads of hundred dollar bills in a suitcase all stacked up, the viewer will orgasm at the thought and sight of it) and then the winner closes up the suitcase and with 2 show girls, one on each arm walks casually with his head held high into the casino, as the king of his domain. Show over, end credits, leave the viewer wishing he was so lucky as to be a pro pool player. Screw poker.
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I could market this game one hell of alot better then I am seeing anyone else doing it atm. Of this I am pretty damn confident but it is due to the fact that so far the people in charge have done a simply horrible job.

11-17-2004, 09:07 AM
you make it sound so easy....in reality, you could not do any better than the others who have tried because you could not get the sponsorship dollars to do it....there is no money in pool...you said it yourself..."you have to spend money to make money"...but first you have to find the money to spend...it just isnt there in pool

11-17-2004, 06:03 PM
I think getting pool under one governing body is the first step in reaching a bigger audience. And i believe the monies from tournaments could be consilidated and used more effectively to promote pool under one body. And when pool does get on ESPN, how about showing a recent tournament. I have seen 3 year old tournaments on ESPN, of course that might be a ESPN's call. The probably would rather show Jeanette in her tight black leather pants play Alison Fisher in an old match, than show Helena Thornfeld play Monica Webb in a more recent and relevant match.
Well thats just my opinions on this. Thank God for Accu-Stats.

11-18-2004, 04:45 AM
simple: MO' MONEY!