Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"Face the Ace": Hated it

There was a lot of hype behind NBC's "Face the Ace." It's made by the same production team as "Poker After Dark," "High Stakes Poker," and NBC's "Heads Up Poker Championship," which suggested that it would be worth watching.

But, not so much. I found it nearly excruciating. There was way too much time wasted with small talk about the not-very-interesting lives of the contestants. It seems that the pros had been heavily coached to keep up the patter, lest the show go silent, and none of them were very good at it or comfortable with it, I thought. Every time there was an all-in and call (which was about every other hand), everything would come to a screeching halt while they analyzed to death what might happen next, got the thoughts of both players on how they felt about the situation, etc. There couldn't have been more than about 15 hands of poker in the whole hour, and most of those were completely uninteresting. When the pros lost (as they did every time), their praise for the skill of the amateur contestants seemed to me absurdly false.

Howard Lederer came the closest to speaking the truth when he intimated that the contestant should go for the million dollars, not because he was a favorite, but because he was being offered 5:1 and wouldn't be a 5:1 underdog, given the insanely fast structure of the play. That's true, as far as it goes, though it fails to take into consideration the actual life utility of the first $200,000 already won versus the additional utility of the extra $800,000 that might come. (I.e., each extra dollar adds progressively less life-changing value than the one before it.)

The host, Steve Schirripa, seemed surprisingly uncomfortable on camera, disclosed little or no knowledge of poker, and was basically painful to watch.

The whole thing was just a dreadful mess. I can't imagine it finding an audience sufficient to sustain it, especially given the way NBC is shifting broadcast times around willy-nilly.

See Shamus's excellent summary and commentary here.


The Poker Meister said...

I actually missed the show, but reading Shamus's blog yesterday made me think of one thing: this can ONLY be good for poker. On this show, you have amateurs regularly beating up on the pros which says to the lay person that "poker is easy." This show can only potentially help to get new fish in the seas of the online (and live) world.

-Poker Meister

Matthew Yauch said...

It may be good for poker, but that doesn't mean we have to watch or enjoy it!

admin said...

I agree, the show was a bit weird. And the host(Steve Schirripa) seems don't have any clue about poker. All he said was: "Lets see the flop", "and the turn" ,"now the river".

Anyway, we can't blame them. It was just a first episode. I hope they will improve show.


goose said...

Possibly the worst show, not just poker show, ever.
Awkward, slow, uninteresting, contrived, boring.............. and these are the good parts.

Who ever got this crap on at NBC sure has some pull, and should be fired immediately.

mrhands said...

I caught the second episode of the show and everything in this post is spot-on. Incredibly boring show.