Reality TV meets competitive poker play in GGPoker’s new Poker After Dark production: Game of Gold. A group of 16 accomplished poker players are now vying for a single championship cash prize of $456,000 – with the 15 “runner-ups” guaranteed to receive absolutely nothing upon elimination.
Game of Gold’s first few episodes have had a bit of everything – high stakes “crushers,” poker celebrities, Hall of Famers, online poker bean counters, tournament gurus, plus a couple of contestants who are relatively new to rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the worldwide poker scene.
Read on to discover the Top 10 reasons why we love GGPoker’s Poker After Dark: Game of Gold!
1. Introduces New Characters to Poker Fans
We were introduced to the 16 poker personalities within the first 20 minutes of the show’s first episode. The introductions featured peer commentary that informed us about each player’s on-the-felt accomplishments to set the stage for the opening round of actual poker play. There is also broad appeal beyond poker with Game of Gold’s inaugural cast.
2. Team Format Yields Worthwhile Poker Analysis and “Sweats”
The first stage of competition features four players (one from each team of four) compete in a single table Sit & Go, a nod back to the original Poker After Dark playing format. Each team was provided the opportunity to choose the order in which their respective players would compete.
What’s great about the live SNG format is that viewers get to see – in real time – the reaction and analysis that non-competing teammates provide from their off-table rooms. The SNG format itself starts each player with 100 Big Blinds, but the blind quickly increase after every four hands.
3. Game of Gold’s Element of Mystery
Game of Gold host Ali Nejad does a formidable job setting the tone from the outset. And while the first round of competition is fully explained – the remainder of the competition remains a mystery until later episodes: to all the competitors as well as the viewers.
This keeps us guessing as fans and makes us look forward to what competitive poker elements might be introduced following the initial round of play.
If you liked episode 1 of Poker After Dark: Game of Gold… you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. 😈🤐🐙
If you missed it:https://t.co/P4ZUA4gogX
— Ali Nejad (@Ali_Nejad) November 12, 2023
4. Game of Gold Available on YouTube For Free
One of the gripes that many poker fans have had over the last couple of decades is that A-level televised poker programming trends toward premium subscription models.
While a lot of programming IS legitimately high enough quality to justify premium streaming, it is great to see Game of Gold available for free on YouTube. New episodes are released three times per week, which means that the 12-episode season will conclude in early December 2023.
5. Game of Gold Premiere Was Kept Under Wraps for an Entire Year
In a poker environment in which an untimely, high profile “misclick” can travel around the world as poker news in a few short hours, the fact that intimate details about Game of Gold hadn’t been leaked is astonishing.
The players and production crew spent four days in Korea filming Game of Gold way back in October 2022!
First time for everything.
Asked for ID to get into a bar in Korea.
Figured that shouldn’t be an issue as I’m certainly old enough.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) October 11, 2022
This means Game of Gold Season 1 was able to fly under the radar of the poker-verse with collaborators successfully keeping the show out of social media for the better part of thirteen months.
6. Game of Gold Has Managed to Grab the Poker World’s Attention
You’ll find at least one discussion thread about Game of Gold on all the high traffic poker forums – with both positive and negative feedback that aligns with what we’ve come to expect from reality TV shows. In an age where attention is the world’s hottest commodity and content creators throughout not only the poker world but also far beyond are vying for eyeballs and limited free time, this new poker show has ruled the roost.
Plainly put, with so much excellent content vying for our attention, it says something about this show that it’s winning that battle.
Here’s a look at a few X threads that have been created to discuss Game of Gold Season 1.
Game of Gold:
Excellent innovation & execution!
Players paid to play, rather than paying.
A chance for poker fans to get to know the person behind the chips.
If anything, I’d like to see even more personality and less poker!
Looking forward to seeing how it develops.
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) November 12, 2023
Game of Gold – what a great show & concept. Poker needs more team events/shows and the execution/production on this one is A+
— Alex Livingston (@rumnchess) November 11, 2023
Genuinely really into this Game Of Gold show.
I love the mix between reality Tv and Poker. It’s great to see some mashers with fun personalities mix it up and battle it out.
Poker needs more of this.
This is how we grow the game 🙏
Legit can’t pick a favorite contestant.…
— Jon W. Pardy (@Jon_Pardy) November 14, 2023
7. Return to the ‘Golden Age’ of Poker TV
The players competing in Game of Gold Season 1 didn’t have to “buy-in” in order to participate in the show. The prize pool of $456,000 was all “free equity” offered to every participant. That’s in addition to the excellent exposure to the masses, and of course the trip itself to South Korea for the filming. Even though only one player will end up walking away with the entire prize pool, that’s still a pretty darn sweet deal.
With a major poker brand backing the project (GGPoker), it’s not unreasonable to posit that there may be additional opportunities for Game of Gold Season 1 contestants along with other poker players to receive compensation for their appearances on poker-themed reality TV shows in the future.
8. Game Show Theme Overrides ‘Poker Purist’ Analysis
Poker After Dark: Game of Gold has us intrigued as to the direction of the show once the first round of poker play has come to a conclusion.
Usually, we’d be intensely focused on chip stack amounts, blinds relative to chip stacks, and other poker strategy elements – especially due to the broad success that so many of the contestants have enjoyed in poker. Moreover, that’s where the focus of classic poker commentary would be, further steering us fans in that direction.
Instead, we’ve got not “detached” commentator analysis but rather the emotional commentary of fully-invested fellow team members to enjoy.
The game show element has allowed us to wonder aloud about future competitive formatting while deferring to the contestants themselves for in-game analysis.
9. Representation of Women in Poker – 25% of the Cast
Four of the 16 Game of Gold Season 1 contestants are female poker players – which is a wonderful thing to see.
Overall, women poker players have only represented a very small slice of all live tournament entries historically – so the fact that there are four female players who are featured in Game of Gold Season 1 is refreshing, to say the least. Hopefully this trend will continue, and hopefully the prominence of women in poker will further increase as a result of Game of Gold’s casting.
With that said, the irony was NOT lost on Game of Gold contestants – who were quick to note in real time that three of the four female poker players were selected to participate in the very first Sit & Go round, with the fewest points at stake.
10. A Showcase of Human Poker Talent
Even in the short span of Episode 1 of Poker After Dark: Game of Gold, we are able to see human elements of poker players who are typically known for strict adherence to poker strategy – and the math wizardry that inevitably comes along with that.
Due heavily to the “mystery” element of the show, we are able to witness vulnerabilities that poker players rarely show without measured calculation. The fact that we got to see how players acted when sequestered together in their respective rooms, away from the felt, brought a lot of resonance to the proceedings. We fans, too, could envision ourselves as members of the teams.
Yes, it DOES seem clear that Round 1 strategy is to simply not finish in last place and to advance as a group of twelve to the next round… but what comes next is unknown to the competitors and viewers alike!
Conclusion: Game of Gold Hits the Mark
Overall, we’re extremely impressed with what we’ve seen thus far from season 1 of Game of Gold, and we look forward to watching the remaining episodes as they are released.
If you haven’t checked out poker’s latest reality TV show, you can watch the entire season 100% for free on YouTube, courtesy of GGPoker.