On Friday, April 15 at 1900 GMT, PokerNews began its live stream of the PartyPoker Big Game V, a live cash game held at Dusk Till Dawn in Notingham, England. Not only was the game streamed live for viewers over the course of the entire 48 hours of play, but the PokerNews Big Game Interactive was in full effect and provided numerous ways for viewers to play along.
What exactly entailed from the PokerNews Big Game Interactive? The interactive live interface allowed viewers to chat about the show, talk with players, play along in exclusive promotions, and most importantly, evict the players they like the least from the game. Combining these interactive factors with the marathon cash-game play made this the best poker to watch of all time, hands down.
Making this the best poker to watch of all time couldn’t have been done without the immense help of both PartyPoker and Matchroom Poker. Viewers had complete access to the hole cards of the players, full graphics and TV commentary from Jesse May. Throughout the course of play, various other co-commentators for analysis and color commentary joined May.
Barry Carter caught up with Eddie Hearn, the Managing Director of Matchroom Sport to discuss the success of the live stream. “I think it's fantastic, I mean, we've always looked at streaming our events and we trialed it in a WPT. ‘Over the moon’ was the response from the poker community,” said Hearn. When asked about the interactive element, here’s what Hearn had to say.
“The interaction element is a must in this sort of thing. I just think, the event itself is a TV show and it's definitely the most interactive event of its time. And to stream it now, full jet out with the best players in the world, poker fans get to watch every single hand and I think that's the beauty of it. You watch TV shows over an hour or two hours, after a while you think 'Well, I wonder what happened here.' Poker fans want to see everything, even if it's a raise-fold, they want to see the hands. To watch every hand over 48 hours and the level of play and the personality of these guys, it's ground-breaking.
“What I like about the mix of the votes is one time you're finding out what the players think and another time you're finding out what the public thinks. So you're getting that mix and I think that's quite interesting. I like the way they integrated with each other. Players want to get off a player who is maybe quite good, but quite tight and the fans might want to get off someone who is more a loud mouth, arrogant and annoying. So, you actually find out who's popular out there and I think a few people got a few shocks this week.”
Throughout the course of the live stream provided on PokerNews, hundreds of viewers joined the live chat to get further involved in the action. It’s very rare that viewers can watch a live stream of a cash game or tournament and chat along. There was an immense interest in this component around the clock and the chatter never seemed to stop.
In the last hour of the game on Sunday, there were over 3,400 viewers in the chat. Over the course of the weekend, 10,000 unique chat messages were received. Both of those numbers are amazing and aim to prove that live streaming is the way of the future for live poker.
Among those who participated in the 48-hour cash game were Tony G, Annette Obrestad, Sam Trickett, Luke Schwartz, Dave “Devilfish Ulliott, Sam Trickett and Mike Matusow. One of the largest hands that sparked a ton of chatter involved none other than Tony G himself during a massive three-way all-in situation.
Kristijonas Andrulis opened with a raise to £150 before Rob Yong reraised to £700 holding the . A couple seats over, Martins Adeniya made the call holding the and then Tony G was next up. Tony G announced that he was all in, having a stack of about £80,000 that covered everyone else in the hand. This really sparked the interest of the table and surprised them all.
Action folded back over to Yong and he thought for a bit before calling all in. Next was Adeniya and he too tanked for a few minutes. Tony G talked and talked, looking to get Adeniya to call as well. Eventually, the young and rising star made the call and created a giant three-way all-in pot worth over £63,000. From there, the board ran out and Tony G’s aces held up to scoop him the enormous pot.
Thanks to this pot and a few others, it was in fact Tony G who won the most money over the 48-hour period of play. He banked over £150,000, which is quite an amazing feat.
|Robert Williamson III||£26,350|
|Roland De Wolfe||£25,675|
As mentioned before, there was much more available to the viewers than just a live, ongoing chat. Included in the exclusive promotions were a couple of PokerNews freerolls held on PartyPoker. In the two freerolls that we run during the course of the cash game, Saturday’s had a field 1,356 entrants with Sunday’s field growing to 1,898 – the largest field ever for a PokerNews freeroll.
After the entire 48 hours of play were over, Carter caught up with May to get his word on how he felt the entire experience went. Even though he only had a tiny break for a short nap during the entire two days, May gave us the following insight.
"This is what poker can be. We've all been excited for about ten years for poker and hole cards and poker on TV, but the drama. Poker is not just a technical game, the drama of a reality show over 48 hours, to me, it's like you're just there. You see not just the hands, but everything that builds up to it. I just think there were so many great stories that went on. It just gives toy so much energy to watch it. It's been a great two days. And then the atmosphere — you can't give up that Dusk Till Dawn was the venue for this. The vibe in here, even among the people. You know, people have been saying that, well, poker's not a great live audience thing, but this was. This was a live audience thing and this is poker as a sport."
With all of the success coming from the PartyPoker Big Game live stream and PokerNews Big Game Interactive, it’s very evident that this was the best poker to watch of all time. It also shows that this may be the way of the future for televised poker shows and we should be seeing much more of this sort of thing in the near future.