Tomorrow on Channel 4, the main Late Night Poker tournament finally
begins. It's great to see hot young players like Annette Obrestad, Jen Mason
and Praz Bansi crop up in the show that changed the world when they were still
learning how to change their socks (although probably already laying bets on
what colour they'd be).
What I love about the new series is the way it
tips a hat to its past. A strand called Late Night Poker Gold shows us great
encounters from former years: tomorrow, we see the nightmare that sprang up for
Phil Hellmuth in 2001, when he tried his best speech-play on a Frenchman who
responded with nothing but baffled mime. It drove Phil even madder than he is
Another strand involves showing a modern
hand in the old Late Night Poker style, when we didn't see all the hole cards.
Nowadays, the audience is much more informed and watches very technically:
blinds and stack sizes are regularly flashed (which is good), but they also
want to see all the cards from the off, which reduces the suspense of what was
once more of a drama than a sports show.
Tomorrow, Bo Sehlstedt raises
with AJ off and gets called by Ian "Razor" Frazer, who has already won big pots
with AA and with 4 high. Bo bets 500 on a flop of A diamonds, K diamonds and 6
spades, and Frazer calls. They both check a Q hearts turn, Bo bets 600 on a J
spades river and Frazer moves all in. In the dark, one realises how scary it is
that Frazer could have the nuts or bugger all but a busted flush. You think
it's irritating that I can't spoil the moment by telling you now? How annoyed
do you think I feel? In five weeks' time, I have to play this guy for $60,000.