BY RUSS SCOTT
FEBRUARY 26, 2008
AMATEUR’S MOVE FROM TV POKER BACK TO PENNY STAKES “WEIRD”
Thanks to TV reruns and DVRs, a person’s “15 minutes of fame” can last a lot longer these days.
Ken Light, a micro-limit online player, still savors his moment as the first true amateur to win a seat on NBC’s Poker After Dark. That “Dream Table” show opened PAD’s Season 3 in early January and will be rebroadcast in six episodes next week.
“Nothing all that substantial has changed for me since the first airing of the show, but little things have,” the 28-year-old Rutgers University grad student from Pennington, N.J., said last week. “A couple of old friends have resurfaced because they saw me on TV, and I’ve been recognized a few times, mostly at school but once in a restaurant, too.”
The typical comment he hears is, “Hey, you were on TV, right? Cool, good job!” No critics have bad-mouthed his performance in person, “although I know they’re out there,” he said.
Some criticism surfaced in lively poker-forum chat about Light’s conservative play. But many posters agreed with his caution because he was dealt few quality hands and was up against five of the best: Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, Jennifer Harman and Mike Matusow.
Meanwhile, Light’s showing drew mostly favorable comment on my Web site, where he blogged each night’s episode, giving behind-the-scenes color plus exclusive description of his strategies.
Before the first airing, Light alerted viewers they could “expect to see me make mistakes, completely blow bluffs, give away the strength of my hand, and occasionally make a good move.” He added, “I’m not at all ashamed of my performance.”
Light made it to the tournament’s final hand where there was a double bustout — a first for Poker After Dark. Not bad for someone who plays online for pocket change and has minimal live-play experience in card rooms.
“It was weird after playing on such a huge stage to step back to penny stakes and take it seriously. I keep getting invites to home games, but my school schedule has made it impossible to play them so far,” said Light, who teaches quantitative methods at Rutgers.
But poker is on his schedule, including a possible qualifying effort for the World Series of Poker Circuit in March at Atlantic City. Matching his notoriety from TV won’t be easy, but he said “after getting my butt handed to me long enough, I’m ready to get down to brass tacks again and build back up.”
“I think in the past week or so my game has really come back to me.”
For next week’s encore show, I have reorganized Light’s blog reports and the original comments. Viewers can follow his posts at www.luckydogpoker.com while watching the rebroadcast.
VIEWER LAMENTS WPT MOVE
(SET ITAL) * Hey Russ, I’m going to miss the World Poker Tour when it moves from the Travel Channel to the Game Show Network. I’d have to add 30 more channels to get it. At least I’ll still have the World Series on ESPN and Poker After Dark on NBC to watch. — Adam M., Alpena, Ark. (END ITAL)
WPT Enterprises and GSN recently announced the sixth-season TV schedule for 23 two-hour episodes. The lineup begins March 24 (Mirage Poker Showdown) and ends August 25 (WPT World Championship). Episodes air Monday nights after the High Stakes Poker cash-game series.
Announcers Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten return, but the new hostess is Layla Kayleigh. Also new is Kimberly Lansing, who will report on action prior to the final table.
All of that sounds good, but I’m in the same boat as you, Adam. I’d have to buy a new layer of satellite channels to get GSN, and I’d never watch any of the others!
By the way, don’t forget to put the National Heads-Up Championship on your TV-watching schedule. The matches air on NBC over seven Sundays starting April 13.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to email@example.com for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2008 RUSS SCOTT
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