GGPoker and Poker After Dark’s latest show, Game of Gold, has received rave reviews from casual viewers and pro players after its first six episodes.
The first episode, which premiered on November 10, has already had over 338,000 YouTube views. Since then, episodes two through to six have each been watched by more than 200,000 people.
Some of poker’s finest have given their take on the first run of episodes. The always measured Phil Galfond described it as “excellent” both in its innovation and execution, while Patrick Leonard said it’s the first time he’s been “excited” about a poker show for a long time.
Poker meets reality TV
Game of Gold’s premise is slightly different to what poker fans will have seen before. Poker pros playing for big prizes is nothing new. However, what Game of Gold does is fuse reality TV with a team format to create a Survivor-meets-poker showdown (see video below).
The show features 16 contestants, all of whom are well-known poker pros, including Daniel Negreanu, Josh Arieh, and Daniel Cates. They’re playing for a winner-takes-all prize worth $456,000, but here’s the rub: they play in teams until the final match.
The team element adds an extra layer of strategy to the mix. Why? Because players earn chips based on their individual efforts as well as the efforts of their teammates. Therefore, people are playing for their team while simultaneously trying to get one over on everyone else.
The unique format is complemented by backstage footage of the players as they discuss tactics, tells, game theory, and, most interestingly, their grievances. Game of Gold is, by all measures, a true reality poker show (watch the first episode above).
Game of Gold brings something new to poker
The drama on the table is matched by what’s going on away from it, which is something GGPoker Creative Director and Producer, Spunky Hwang, wanted.
“We’ve crafted a viewing experience that anyone with the slightest knowledge of poker will enjoy, with fascinating players that everyone can relate to and new gameplay concepts that will delight and thrill viewers in equal measure,” Hwang said in a November 23 press release.
One thing that’s certainly true about Game of Gold is that it brings something different to the table in terms of poker-tainment. Hwang acknowledges that the format used by most poker shows is “overused” and things needed to change. The players involved took this onboard.
For example, the generally reserved Fedor Holz can be seen losing his cool at various points in the first few episodes. He explained on Twitter that it wasn’t for the cameras but a product of the show’s format and how it allowed everyone to show different parts of their personalities.
Members of the poker community seem to agree the format works. Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong said it’s a “great” show. Zack Allen, aka @pokernutzMJ, summed it up best by describing it as a peek into the true dynamics of a home game.
“The amount of F bombs on @GGPoker #gameofgold makes me feel like I’m watching my home game on tv! I love it,” Allen tweeted.
The remaining six episodes of Game of Gold will be released on GGPoker’s YouTube channel every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until December 4. You can also watch the previous episodes for free on YouTube now.