It’s the most welcome return to poker since Phil Ivey ended his self-imposed exile to rejoin the World Series circus a couple of years ago.
High Stakes Poker is back for a brand-new series.
With original hosts Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza, HSP is back, back, back in a big way and we watched the first episode of the returning series with a mile-wide grin on our faces here at Calvin Ayre.
The cash game, with players sitting down with a minimum of $200,000 and a maximum of “a biscuit short of half a million dollars”, features some terrific action, great banter between a perfectly cast pick of players.
Casting the professionals and guest stars is everything in televised poker and PokerGO get it spot on in this opening episode. There are some great hands, too, and while we won’t spoil them for you, players are more than happy to risk plenty for the rewards and bragging rights that come in equal measure for winning a really big High Stakes Poker pot. It’s the ultimate poker credibility brag and plenty get to make it after the first episode of the show.
PokerGO have hit a home run with this one, and we have been saying it for years; there was no reason for this show to ever go away in the first place. Of course, we all loved the old episodes, featuring the biggest names in the game, but some new players have just as much showmanship and it hasn’t even taken one 45-minute long show to prove that opinion to be spot on.
Two of the stars of the show are predictable in Tom Dwan and Jean-Robert Bellande, with the latter chastising Major League Baseball pitcher Michael Schwimer for value-betting Dwan on the river by telling him “You wouldn’t have got away with that seven years go; he’d have emptied the clip on you.”
Dwan is an amazing player to watch, but he’s in great company, with Bellande and Schwimer both seeking plenty of action and Rick Salomon living up to his reputation, too.
Overall, it’s an overwhelmingly positive restart to a brand that never really went away. With a terrific set, some fantastic players such as Phils Ivey and Hellmuth still to come, and some whip-smart lines from Gape Kaplan in every minute of the commentary, there’s everything to play for.
The stakes could hardly be any higher.
You can watch the Premiere Episode of the 8th Series of High Stakes Poker right here on PokerGO (subscription required).