Official High Stakes Poker Discussion Thread
Thoughts or comments about High Stakes Poker? Please post them here!
New host: Norm McDonald.
I thought Gabe did a good job, but as a Norm fan I'll be sure to check out HSP at some point this season.
Also... the new season will be available in 3D.
*** no Gabe.
My TV room just got a lot drier.
I love High Stakes Poker. I also love playing poker, especially Texas Hold 'EM. I played a couple of table games in Vegas and it was very exciting. I think it would be grand to be a professional poker player. I don't understand why it is illegal in most states. Do law makers have the right to take away rights like these? I mean even presidents have always had poker games. We should too.
I was disappointed at first that Gabe Kaplan was no longer part of the show. I always thought he was fantastic on it. But with that said, I thought Norm MacDonald did a great job for his first show and I now look forward to the rest of the season with him. On top of that, I was glad to see that neither Tom Dwan or Phil Ivey were playing here. Those guys are great, no doubt about it, but it seems like whenever I'm tuning in to any poker show these days, it's just about those two guys. So far, I think this opening line-up has been just fine.
Gabe Kaplan made watching other people play poker both a good learning experience and fun. He was good at poking fun at players and himself and was able to give props to those players who made good plays. Norm McDonald, on the other hand, shows no sense of humor and rather than being insightful about the decisions the players make, he just does play-by-play, stating when someone calls, folds or raises. Every season with Kaplan commenting was a fun season to watch, when it was just AJ Benza or just McDonald, it is unwatchable. Kaplan did a good job of explaining what a player was thinking at any particular time, McDonald comments from a the perspective of a person who knows what the other players are holding (he really adds nothing to the show, other than a desire to change channels).
^I kind of agree, actually. Norm's not cringeworthy, but I don't find him terribly insightful (not a surprise) and, more disappointingly, he's not terribly funny either (on HSP only, that is).
2 episodes seen. I'm now watching season 2. The play is more interesting, the commentary unbelievably good. Season 7? It's the first time I started reading a book while watching a brand new HSP. Well the second... I got that bored on both episodes so far.
There are some fun hands to watch, but they're more about bafflingly strange plays than excellent ones. Instead of Tom Dwan winning a monstrous pot by bluffing out the then-World Champion and one of the best players in the world (Barry Greenstein) while knowing where both of them were, we have Phil Ruffin calling down a turn raise and an enormous river bet with second pair, no kicker, on a three-heart board almost instantly because "I has a King!" Instead of Erick Lindgren making an extemely difficult all-in call on the turn with a mediocre flush draw and a double gutshot against a weak overpair, we have Vanessa Selbst unable to get away from an overpair when a transparent amateur raises a dry board with an obvious top two or better. The interviews after these hands were remarkably bad as well. With the loss of Full Tilt sponsored players, the show has devolved into four pros taking turns against three rich businessmen, and none of them looking very good.
As for the commentary, I know Norm is capable of being funny, but he's not. I know he's a huge gambling degenerate, but that doesn't make him an analyst. Gabe is both an extremely respected nosebleed player and hysterical, and AJ was the perfect foil/straight man/everyman translator. I have no idea what the suits at GSN were thinking when they lost AJ in season 6 and now Gabe in season 7, but in my mind I see a scene like this playing out:
GSN Executive: Gambling is bad and immoral. Therefore we should get rid of HSP after season 4 and instead concentrate on shows where people take a chance to win money, which is completely different.
Wall Street Journal: Is GSN crewed by such idiots that they would cancel their highest rated program?
AJ: I've done a bunch of free publicity in order to save you from your own stupidity.
GSN Executive: I never said I would cancel HSP. (Season 5 airs.) Thanks for your great advice AJ. You're fired. Well, that takes care of that. At least he won't post on his blog about what a bunch of tools we are. (Season 6 airs.)
Gabe: I'm lonely and I'm talking to myself.
GSN Executive: All those poker guys on the internet say the show is way worse without AJ, but everyone knows that guys play poker and guys like boobs, so we made the right decision. Gabe is so great at his job we should replace him with a guy who loses his shirt at $5-$10 games. I hear he's also great at improvised comedy, so let's help him by giving him the worst possible scripts of all time. (Season 7 airs.)
Norm: I remember when I was funny. At least I get these paychecks to stake my big comeback in the world of poker! (Goes broke.)
GSN Executive: Everyone says HSP sucks now. See? I told you gambling was bad. I am never wrong.
WHY No Gabe? He made the show fun and exciting. Norm is more like Ben Stein, it might be better to turn down the sound except I'd miss something said by the players. Please bring back Gabe and AJ. It seems like, with this change, that you (GSN) Don't like HSP anymore the BEST Show you have going.
Last edited by datrebor; 03-22-2011 at 05:27 PM.
Reason: misspell and added.
This use to be my favorite show on television when Gabe and AJ hosted it. With the new hosts I'm boycotting HSP and GSN all together... very disappointing
The value that Gabe brought to the show was unmeasurable.
Why the old seasons HSP (1-4) has such poor quality?
They are impossible to watch.
The only reason I carried GSN on my subscription package was to watch HSP hosted by a decent analyst and a reasonable poker player in his own right. So now that reason is gone and I saved a few bucks every month. Just wanted to drop you a note of thanks.
BTW, I like Norm a lot, I hope his career flourishes. This wasn't a good career move for him but everyone has to eat and I get that. I think we all mourn a bit when something we loved is gone. RIP HSP.
What....what are you thinking, GSN? Gabe Kaplan was the best poker commentator on television, hands down. He's so far ahead on the knowledge curve that his humor was actually POKER HUMOR; he knows the players and the play and can make intelligent jokes about both.
Damn, GSN, this was a bonehead move. HSP went from the best poker show on TV to mediocre with this decision....not to mention your new giant blackjack table that holds only 7 players. Please, please, hire Kaplan back.
With out making this overly complicated, Norm Sucks.
Bring back Gabe............period.
I love the show before they got Norm. It's something my wife and I can sit back and enjoy together, and Gabe's insight helped rather than detracted-from the action. Sadly, we don't even record it any more. I guess if Norm were to have even the slightest poker knowledge, or knew the players and their style of play, or if he was at all humorous...I could overlook his moronic inferences to his "aunt".
I know you can't expect much from an e-list former "comic", (doesn't even qualify as a d-lister) but he makes the table action monotonous to sit through, and you miss the players stories and such if you mute the host. At least Gabe and A.J. understood the action. I find myself hitting the fast forward button and watching the sped-up action without his meaningless color-analysis droning-on in the foreground. How about turning his microphone down (or off) and letting us listen to the table banter?
Two thumbs down for using an uninformed, dry host for a former winner of a show. At least there's previous seasons to re-watch when we want a poker fix.
And what's up with "Oodle Boy"? This is the best that GSN can come up with for fan interaction...? Wow.