first post to my blog

by Lou on April 13, 2005

Welcome to my poker blog. This is my first effort at blogging, but I intend to keep this blog fairly well up-to-date by including information about the poker world, my poker playing, and all of the other activities I’ve been involved in. And that inlcudes a lot.

I recently completed filming “Vegas Virgins,” a show that will air in the U.K. late srping and in Canada this summer. It should be shown in the USA this fall.

Here’s the show’s concept in a nutshell: It’s a poker-meets-reality-show in which 10 people who have never played casino poker before — five from the USA and five from the UK — were whisked away to Las Vegas for three weeks, put up in a first class hotel and provided with poker coaching. That was my job, and it was on camera. They’ll also provided a “life coach” for the players in the person of Las Vegas psychologist Dr. Sally St. John, who worked with each of them on life lessons while I concentrated on making poker players out of absolute newbies.

Each night featured a poker tournament and each evening’s winner got to select one player to be tossed off the show. Each day the contestants had to perform a variety of tasks (think “Fear Factor:” eating duck embryo, walking a tightrope, you get the picture) and each day’s the task performance determined how many chips each players started the nightly tournament with.

In alternating fashion, they tossed a Brit and then an American, until just one player from each country remained. The two survivors played a heasds-up match and the winner was given $5000 to play poker against a few real “pros,” each of whom were be armed with less money. The money discrepancy was designed to level the playing field and give the newbie a fair shot at winning.

Sally St. John and I were on camera for all shows, and I got to give poker lessons and broadcast the play by play of each evening’s tournament. Not only was this enjoyable work to do, it also provided an opportunity to talk up my books, as well as Royal Vegas Poker and the College Poker Championship.

Prior to this show I had never been involved with any sort of TV production. Filming ran 18 days. There was a day off in the middle, and we were off on Super Bowel Sunday too, but I was in the process of buying a new house and selling my old one, and had to use that off-day to go out to the local Las Vegas branch of the title company handling the sale and sign a bunch of loan documents. Not the best way to spend a day off, but at least it was better than having to drive 275 miles to Palm Springs and sign docs, then turn right around and return to Las Vegas.

The days were long. We generally began between 8:00 and 9:00 AM, and with a poker lesson, tasks for the contestants to perform, and a nightly tournament, filming generally didn’t end until midnight. The crew was terrific and so were the contestants for the most part. Still, with that kind of filming schedule (we shot at the Orleans, at a TV production studio nearby, and at a variety of locations in and around Las Vegas) I had a chance to play poker only three or four times during my entire stay.

But I can play poker anytime. I don’t get a chance to do this every day. And from what the guys in London who are editing the show tell me, it looks great. They’ve finished editing the first three episodes, and are busily boiling down 400 hours of film into ten, 46-minute segments (a show is 46 minutes long; the rest of the time is for commercials), and they need to be finished in a month or so in order to get the show on the air in the UK.

I even passed an audition of sorts without realizing it. One night some of the folks from the soon-to-launch Casino and Gaming TV Network (who invested in the show) were on hand and were sufficiently impressed with my work on camera to ask me to film a series of poker tutorials for them that will air when the network goes live later on this summer.

At this point I hope it’s a big hit so I can come back for a second season. Some poker purists won’t like the show because the players are inexperienced, but you have to take this in context. It’s not exclusively a poker show. It’s a reality show with poker mixed into the stew, and it has some terrific dramatic moments you won’t want to miss. When they’re finished editing this, I’m in line for a DVD with all 10 episodes, so I can watch it unfold and provide my (somewhat biased) review right here on this blog.

In subsequent editions of this blog, I’ll talk about a new book I’m writing, my new gig as a Sunday poker columnist for a newspaper, and the trials and tribulations of buying a new house, fixing it up, selling athe old one, and doing all of that while trying to manage the rest of my life.

OK…………..that’s it for the frist blog. More to come.

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