When it was an actual cable channel that was searching for outlets, the one huge criticism of Poker Central was that they had no original programming. Other than “made for television” tournaments that they had produced, they had exactly zip in the line of programming for the network itself. That’s all changed now that they’re a streaming network called PokerGO, as seen by the latest program coming on its outlet.
Poker Central, in partnership with Alkemy X, has created a new “unscripted” (re: reality program) series called Chasing Hearts. The six-part series will follow couples on blind dates and capture every moment of their interactions. Hosts Hayley Bright, who is billed as a “relationship and lifestyle expert” (although a Google search reveals exactly zero info about a person by that name being a “relationship expert”) and Blake Eastman, the founder of a poker training site called “Beyond Tells,” then watch the video and analyze the information, with each presenting their thoughts from their particular experiences.
Chasing Hearts combines unpredictable blind dates and poker-themed analysis to present a clever twist on the traditional dating show,” said Joe Kakaty, the president of Poker Central, during the announcement of the new program. “PokerGO’s content library has an incredible diversity of programming that gives subscribers the choice to watch anything from live poker to unscripted reality, and everything in-between.”
Joining in on the announcement was Andy Singer, the executive vice president of television and digital programming for Alkemy X, who also was thrilled with the partnership. “Using our digital and long-form experience in unscripted content, we were excited to partner with Poker Central to create this entertaining ‘poker-adjacent’ programming,” Singer stated during the announcement.
Alkemy X has a pedigree in television that might cause some to pause. The company has worked on the popular NBC television series Blindspot, the CW’s Frequency, STARZ’s Power and M. Night Shyamalan’s Split. When it comes to “reality” shows, Alkemy X has produced Unique Rides for the Velocity Channel.
A simple look at the PokerGO lineup makes you wonder that, if they had done the same thing when they were a cable channel, that Poker Central might have been more successful. Along with the Super High Roller Bowl, streaming the World Poker Tour’s final tables, the recent Poker Masters High Roller series and the rebirth of Poker After Dark, PokerGO has introduced several poker-themed programs to cover airtime. This poker-themed programming has been the major difference between PokerGO and the old Poker Central, which relied mostly on European poker broadcasts to fill out time.
First up was the program Poker Nights, a comedy from former Saturday Night Live alum Chris Parnell that followed a weekly poker game between friends that would occasionally be crashed by a big-name professional player. PokerGO also presented Major Wager, a game show hosted by popular vlogger Joey Ingram. In that program, popular poker pros would take on different prop bet challenges, with the losers enduring shameful punishments taped for the viewers entertainment.
What these new programs have done for PokerGO isn’t known at this point. Since opening shop on the streaming outlet in late May for the World Series of Poker, Poker Central has not released any information as to the number of subscriptions that have been sold nor how many viewers their programming has received. As such, there is no way to determine whether PokerGO has been successful or not. By viewing commentary over such forums as Two Plus Two, however, the audience is pretty much split down the center and, if truth were to be told, the commentary has been in the negative for the channel.
The first episode of Chasing Hearts is already on PokerGO for viewing, but you must have a subscription to be able to access the program. PokerGO’s services run $10 per month or $99 per year, so if poker programming – whatever it is – is what you’re looking for, PokerGO seems to have it.
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