In the early 2000s there was a plethora of poker content on TV. I am sure if you asked some of your non-poker friends, they might recall seeing advertisements on TV or late-night shows like Poker after Dark. If you take some time to dig around on the internet you can even find commercials that were aired during this time starring poker players like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, or Erik Seidel. You might even come across some more recent commercials that you didn’t know existed.
Now take a moment to imagine a world with nowhere to stream poker shows. Everything that you remember or might come across would not exist unless you knew about it. For many years, this is how poker content existed after Black Friday. Then, in 2017, PokerGO came into existence and gave the poker community a location to consume poker content. While they may not own the rights to every poker show, they have worked hard to be able to provide some of the most popular poker-related content. Here are some reasons why PokerGO plays a critical role for the poker community.
Unique Poker Content Creation
PokerGO has and will continue to put out original programming that is neither a tournament nor a cash game. They always look to diversify their library and because of this they will partner up with other companies or individuals to make new, creative ideas come to fruition. There are many ways to make poker entertaining and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a cash game or tournament to be marketable. The question becomes, who in the industry is willing and committed to make that kind of content? Content that as a poker player will keep us entertained. One contributor to PokerGO’s library, Matt Berkey, had this to say about his documentaries that can be found on their platform, “PokerGO played an integral part in both documentaries being made. Without them, the budget restrictions would have certainly altered the final products of both pieces.”
Even though Matt is confident that his production team is able to put together intriguing content on a shoestring budget, I think it’s hard not to acknowledge that PokerGO can provide the resources needed to put out a top-quality polished product. Without them, it might have been years before we got to see a behind the scenes story like “Dead Money” or have to watch a film like “To Be Determined” on a different platform, like YouTube, where it would be much harder to distribute and be subject to their terms of service. It’s obvious that PokerGO is committed to distributing high quality poker content and is invested in making entertaining content for us to consume.
Preventing the Loss of Poker Archives
Did you know that there were game show style poker shows that existed? One such show is “Face the Ace” which originally aired on NBC in 2009 and was canceled after seven episodes. The Game Show Network, currently known as GSN, was the network to originally air High Stakes Poker. This was the first cash game show that featured celebrities and poker players competing at nosebleed stakes! As happens with network shows, no matter how popular, sometimes they end up getting cancelled with the viewing audience none the wiser as to why.
After these shows and many more were taken off the air, there was nowhere to find full episodes to watch. Networks like Fox and NBC were separating themselves from poker after Black Friday happened in 2011. Poker sections once found on their respective sports websites were removed and in what felt like an abrupt move, poker on TV almost ceased to exist. In hindsight we now understand that the online poker sponsorship money for producing the shows disappeared, but it was nonetheless a tough blow to avid fans of the game. There was still some programming that you could find but it was extremely limited to big tournament events like the WSOP or shows that might be in syndication. Eventually PokerGO would come into existence and purchase the rights to most of these shows so we could continue to enjoy and rewatch them for years to come.
Big Business Sponsorships
Back in what is considered the greatest poker boom of our time, you could find everyone jumping on that band wagon to get business from players. As with any other sports that you might watch; there is a lot of money in advertising. The merchandising was insane! There were even poker video games on consoles like Xbox and the PlayStation. These days if you talk to anyone who has been in the poker industry long enough to remember what it was like, you will hear that the sponsorship money is just not the same.
What does this have to do with PokerGO? Its simple: because they have a service that poker players want and are willing to pay for, they can use that revenue to invest in more high-quality content to provide for their subscribers. Looking at the bigger picture, with broadcasting deals like the WSOP or WPT, there is thus some negotiating leverage when a company like PokerGO steps in.
The fact of the matter is, PokerGO fills a need for the poker community. It’s a place where we can go watch the WSOP every summer, study old footage of poker plays, and still see the new up-and-coming talents of poker tournament circuit grinders. No matter what the future is for poker on broadcast television is, we will always have someplace to watch poker. There will always be clips that we can find on YouTube or other corners of the internet, but that content will always be subject to the terms and conditions of the site they are on. So long as there is enough demand for poker content, PokerGO will exist to fill the integral role that it plays in the poker community.