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by: Rich Korbin.
There is a new sport that doubles the Travel Channel’s evening audience, it brings 1.3 million viewers to Channel 4 in Wales and packs a cruise ship full of as many spectators as it can hold.

The rating-conscious television executives have taken notice of high-stakes competitive tournament poker, which has truly evolved as the newest indoor spectator sport.
What makes it exciting you may wonder. With new camera angles, poker has become more than watching a group of players sitting around the green felt with their poker faces on. There are now cameras focused on each player?s cards allowing the viewer a sneak peak at the hole cards of the competing players.

Voyeurisms? No more so than ?Big Brother? or ?The Real World?. With the poker tournaments, you actually watch people doing something interesting rather than watching them sit around the house.

February 2000 marked the debut of ?Late Night Poker?. Aired in the United Kingdom, this show features an ongoing series of competitive tournament poker culminating in a televised championship event. World-class champions like Peter Costa, David ?Devilfish? Ulliott and Phil Hellmuth have now become celebrities in the world of poker stardom.

But perhaps the most famous and eagerly awaited event in the Poker TV Guide is ESPN?s coverage of the legendary ?World Series of Poker? (WSOP).

The World Series of Poker is an event that has always captured the interest of global gamblers, but what is truly pushing the event into the stratosphere is that players are participating in the WSOP via a series of satellite tournaments held online. Thus, Internet poker sites play a vital role in the new ?Poker Explosion?.

The multi-table tournament savvy, PokerStars.com hopes to produce thirty entries for the $10,000 championship event at this year?s WSOP while the world?s largest online poker room, Paradise Poker also fills the seats at this ultimate poker event.

Party Poker?s main event is the ?PartyPoker.com Million? event which allowed online players a chance to compete in blood thirsty poker competition for a mere $25 online buy in. The event was then moved from the virtual to the terrestrial when the finalists played ship-board on a luxury cruise liner and were televised on the Travel Channel?s ?World Poker Tour?.

If you are a poker player, and you want to cash in on the new poker revival, there are a few things you?ll need to swallow before you earn your place at the final table. If you are a seasoned offline player, you?ll immediately find that the online game is much faster than a terrestrial game. A 4-8 limit game online might have the exposure of 5-10 in a card room. In the excitement of the faster pace it is also important to remember that the object is to win as much money as possible, not as many hands as possible. Playing too many hands or failing to release hands when the odds don?t exist is the fatal mistake most players make after migrating online.

The coupling between online poker rooms and brick and mortar tournaments is allowing true interactivity in televised poker. You could be watching the tournament from your living room one day, competing in the event from your den the following day, and flying to the finals to compete in front of millions of poker fans in their living rooms a few weeks later.

Online poker is now the primary breeding ground for the cultivation of new generations of poker talent. The new interactive model of Internet sites conducting online satellites to enhance brick and mortar tournaments results in a productive ?forged? relationship between the old guard and the new. Whether you are a player or a spectator, poker will only get better from here.

By Rich Korbin

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© Copyright 2004 Gambling Online Magazine This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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