The Effect of Poker on the Television Industry

Essay by bigwilly2006A, April 2004

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The sport of poker has gambled its way to compete on primetime television. The "ESPN summer series, out-rated baseball throughout the dog days and playoff chases" (Quindt), and the Travel Channel, also affected by poker, has tripled their number of viewers for the World Poker Tour compared to last year's numbers.

The game of most popularity is Texas Hold'em, but on television, in movies, and in books they play No Limit Texas Hold'em. The only difference is that in No Limit any player may chose to go "all-in" putting all his money in on a single hand. When the game of poker is played on a level so high the amount of luck is thin. All of the professional players are great mathematicians and calculate the odds of each hand in seconds. Probability is not the only factor; the greatest liars in the world come together to bluff and try to catch other great liars bluffing with their tells.

"Tells" are something a player sees another player do that tells him in his mind whether or not the other player has a strong or weak hand or even if he is bluffing. Many studies have been made on tells as well as many books, have been writing about these studies. Seth Stevenson found that "a player who picks up a monster hand will instantly look away from the table: it's a reflex that implies indifference"(Stevenson). Monster hands are terrific hands, such as a pair of aces received as your first two cards, pocket or hole cards. The nickname for these pocket cards of aces is "American Airlines" or "pocket rockets". He also found that "a player trying to win with a weak hand (to bluff) will stare right at opponents- reflexive aggression masking weakness"(Stevenson). All the professional poker players...