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HiPockets
04-14-2003, 07:12 PM
Someone tell me why poker gets as much or more coverage than pool on TV. The Travel Channel has 2 hours of Texas Holdem on every Wednesday. ESPN has the World Series of Poker on ever so often. Pool, and it's ladies not the men, is repeat after repeat. I am so tired of seeing the reruns of Artistic Pool that I COULD SCREAM. What is the problem here????

qSHAFT
04-14-2003, 08:00 PM
I was talking with a league team mate last night about how we could make pool more interesting to watch on TV.

Came up with the idea of sudden death 8 ball... Any loss of game foul in a game of 8 ball would result in C4 explosives in the table being set off. Expensive, but will bring in the ratings. Any volunteers for the first tourny?

Cheers - qSHAFT /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

JPB
04-14-2003, 10:37 PM
Hard to say exactly, particularly when you consider that the tournament form of no-limit hold'em is a flawed poker game and not all that interesting in some ways. Players are learning to exploit the flaws in the tournament structure to overcome their weaknesses and cause good players problems. Often in no-limit tournaments you don't get to see top players at the final table. And sometimes very sophisticated plays appear pretty stupid. No limit hold'em has struggled as a cash game because good players have such a huge edge, and tournament no-limit may die because the good players will have too small of an edge as weaker players are learning strategies than can screw up the good players and are hard to counter.(Maybe I can't really talk as I can't beat the good tournament players, let alone the geniuses who play the big cash games.) I only saw one of the new WPT events, and I thought it was a good effort at production. The guy who got the thing going has had success in gambling and business. He was able to market a new idea. They used much better production techniques and have made the game more appealing. The commentary has been decent but there are some flaws. Strategy in relation to stack size was overlooked. I don't know if it was deliberate, but in the final stages of a tournament the relationship between the blinds and your stack size vs. the stack sizes of the other players involved in the hand drives a lot of decisions, and these factors didn't seem to be discussed when I watched. I think perhaps because they might make the game less interesting to a new viewer. The announcers kept saying, "well, there's been a 20,000 re-raise, so he has to call 20K more...." and didn't discuss how that 20K related to the stack sizes or other strategic decisions really well. However, the announcing was way better than in other tournament telecasts I have seen.
Poker tournaments also have a lot of the problems that pool players worry about in terms of image. Tournament poker players are often scufflers who do some things that the marketing directors would not like to see publicized. There have been problems with deals and taking pieces of other players, chip dumping, allegations of team play or chip passing, a variety of stuff IOW. So I don't think tournament poker is so far ahead of pool image-wise, although tournament poker players think they can get the holy grail of corporate sponsorship someday.
One thing poker has over pool as a gambling game is this - bad players often don't know they are bad. Or they know, but still know they can get lucky. A good pool player can't give enough weight to a bad player to keep him playing long enough. So people with a lot of money will sit and play poker with world class players. And others will stand to gamble a lot more on poker than on pool because they win sometimes and the edges for good players are smaller and less apparent. In a big cash game, players will play and stand to lose 50K, 100K, more, whatever. What bad pool player is going to go play Efren even and lose 50K? None. Poker is simply a bigger money game overall than pool. At low limits tons of players will stand to lose hundreds of dollars. At middle limits like 15-30 and 20-40, players can lose a couple thousand pretty easily. So poker can and does attract people to the game who have discretionary money and no real chance to win. So there is some incentive for those in poker to publicize it. People are interested in it, and might just try playing sometime.
Pool OTOH is obviously a skill game. People can't always appreciate it and don't think they can jump right in and play at a high level. So I don't think it has the attraction of poker. Pool should be a more interesting television show than poker. Poker can't be shown without editing because a lot of it is pure boredom. And by editing, a lot of the subtle reasons behind decisions can be lost.
I guess that's a long post saying I like both poker and pool and don't know why tournament poker is popular on TV and pool isn't. I'd rather watch pool, even though nine ball is kind of dull and the formats on TV aren't all that great. I think the biggest reason is that a lot of people play poker and the money involved is bigger, ergo better demographics for TV.

Steve Lipsky
04-15-2003, 04:03 AM
Good post, JPB. I think another reason for the success (and really the jury is still out on that one - it's still not that popular) of televised poker is the image of larger money at stake.

I say "image" because in tournament poker there's often a lot more money on the table than is actually at stake. In the premiere of that Travel Channel show, it looked like there was a million dollars in chips on the table - but first prize was I think only $250,000. I'm no expert on tournament poker but I think it is fairly commonplace in these things to buy in for, say, $200 and receive $2,000 in chips (as an example). People will tune in to watch a raise of $10,000 more than they will to watch a raise of $1,000, even though the $10,000 is sort of a fantasy. This was shown - but not spoken about by the commentators. "He's raising $400,000" they would say, even though the real value of the bet was not that high.

There's no real way to do this with pool.

- Steve

Ken
04-15-2003, 07:23 AM
The last time I watched poker it seemed that the commentators knew what cards everyone held and I could see no way they could know unless the comments are added later. It was somewhat interesting in that I knew the hands and was interested in what happened next.

One of the problems I see in pool is that very little that is unpredictable happens. Even the commentators will predict in advance that a game will be run out. There are very few misses or really bad position plays. It gets boring to see successful shots all the time. That's why I like to see the women's play since they might miss at any time, but even they have gotten too good.

I watched Karen beat Jim Rempe last week and her game is totally different when there is no time limit. True, they were almost putting me to sleep but the great safes and kicks were interesting when they finally happened. That match would never get on TV but it showed really great pool played with the amount of thought that might go into a chess match. It showed how good her game really is when she can take time to think.
KenCT

JPB
04-15-2003, 08:23 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Steve Lipsky:</font><hr> Good post, JPB. I think another reason for the success (and really the jury is still out on that one - it's still not that popular) of televised poker is the image of larger money at stake.

I say "image" because in tournament poker there's often a lot more money on the table than is actually at stake. In the premiere of that Travel Channel show, it looked like there was a million dollars in chips on the table - but first prize was I think only $250,000. I'm no expert on tournament poker but I think it is fairly commonplace in these things to buy in for, say, $200 and receive $2,000 in chips (as an example). People will tune in to watch a raise of $10,000 more than they will to watch a raise of $1,000, even though the $10,000 is sort of a fantasy. This was shown - but not spoken about by the commentators. "He's raising $400,000" they would say, even though the real value of the bet was not that high.

There's no real way to do this with pool.

- Steve

<hr /></blockquote>

Yeah, there are a few reasons for this, but in some ways tournament money is monopoly money. Mathematically, the more chips you have in a tournament, the less they are worth. Still, entry fees and prizes in poker are a lot higher than in pool. Big poker tournaments can draw over 600 players for entry fees of between 1500 and 10K. Sure, a lot of players get entry fees in satellites, but that is still money from the poker community and there's a lot of it.

#### leonard
04-17-2003, 07:29 AM
I went to Turning Stone and left after watching 6 hours of nothing. Nineball is more boring than anything I can think of. I watched Charlie Williams chalk his cue 24 times and only hit the cueball once. I don't know why Mike Zuglan doesn't enforce speedier play. ####