Deal Me Out
Originally posted: February 19, 2010

It comes as no shock to anybody that one of my favorite programs ever to be aired on GSN is High Stakes Poker. I enjoyed the banter between the players, the great play and sometimes not so great play by the players & the excellent commentary between AJ Benza & Gabe Kaplan. It's also good to see how well they evolved together while watching different seasons. I honestly think that Season 4 was the perfect mix of commentary & play. Season 5 was trying to get their sea legs back underneath them, plus having Tom Dwan and his unpredictable play was a great plus. However, it was reported that Season 6 would be sans Benza and Kara Scott would be inserted. We thought that she would just be merely replacing Benza. Oh how wrong we were.

The debut kicked off with a brand new intro & Gabe Kaplan solo in the High Stakes Poker Play by Play room. He then introduced Kara Scott would would be down on the floor doing interviews with the players and doing mainly fluff pieces. Already 5 minutes in and I was really missing AJ Benza. Gabe Kaplan solo doesn't work. He needs to play off of someone in order to make it work. He has done this before when he was doing the World Series of Poker broadcasts back in the early 2000s with Lon Mceheran & earlier than that with whomever was doing the commentary in the late 90s on ESPN. It was just painful to listen to, although Kaplan did come with a few good one-liners, but nothing like when he and Benza were playing off of each other during their time together on the show.

But let's now focus on Kara Scott. She, as people thought, was brought in to replace AJ Benza on commentary and the show would just be like as before, except with Kara Scott doing commentary instead of AJ. But, in what she's doing on that show is a gigantic waste of time. She's doing this 30 seconds with Kara where they ask the players a question about another player, the first one was in 10 words or less, describe Phil Hellmuth. It should be noted that with most players, they wouldn't even be able to air half their answers. The interviews that she did during the show wasn't even that good to begin with. It should be noted that she does commentary for the European Poker Tour & is a skilled poker player herself, finishing in the top 100 in this years World Series of Poker Main Event, which is a feat itself. Her commentary there is good, but not as good as Kaplan & Benza together. The show just feels like it made changes for the sake of making changes and that's not how a show should be like. I hate to do this to one of my favorite shows, but High Stakes Poker is no longer appointment viewing for me. It's a shame, it's just a shame.