Why is Poker After Dark so damn BORING?

Previous posts on this blog have mentioned the fact that I spend a lot of time watching poker shows on TV and YouTube. My TiVo is actually automatically set to record all episodes of WSOP, WPT and Poker After Dark. I tried to record some HPT stuff too but I don’t get those channels so it was a bust.

Just last week I checked my recorded shows and saw some episodes of Poker After Dark available for me to watch. I’ve been trying to watch things on a regular basis because I’m running out of space, so I pressed play while I had some free time.

The show was not even 20 minutes in when I stopped paying full attention. I realized that this happens every single time I watch Poker After Dark. It’s the dullest fucking poker show I’ve ever seen, and though I racked my brain I couldn’t figure out why!

I watched all the episodes I had recorded and finally decided to write a post about it.

What makes Poker After Dark so boring?

  1. The players they choose are almost always extremely uninteresting.
  2. The hosts don’t seem to have much personality and the player interviews are always painfully bad. (I’ve written about this previously.)
  3. The music is outdated.
  4. They spend a lot of time on introductions/interviews/recaps (which a lot of shows do, actually, but this coupled with the dull hosts is just a death knell).
  5. Most episodes are centered around what are basically Sit-N-Go’s.

I think this last point, the Sit-N-Go model, is what really makes the show boring. The levels for this type of tournament go up very quickly, and the number of chips in play force an all-in or fold strategy for most of the time people are playing. The number of plays that can be made is drastically reduced and the stakes are not really that high.

The professionals who play on Poker After Dark may have the opportunity to win a large amount of money, but they’re not playing for a bracelet or a trophy, so the atmosphere is inevitably less exciting. The cash games tend to be less boring, but obviously this is because there is no risk of busting. If you lose all your money you can always buy back in, and the blinds stay the same the whole time.

Out of all the Poker After Dark tournament episodes I’ve watched (and there have been many), only a few have been entertaining. I’ll give you three guesses who was playing.

Give up? Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak and Phil Hellmuth. Three guys who are extremely charismatic and always hilarious, so how could their tournament not be entertaining?

Here’s a snippet from that episode:

What do you think about Poker After Dark compared to other poker shows? Do you have a hypothesis for why it bores me to tears?

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