Late Nigh Poker is a British television show which has a large part in popularizing poker and turning it into a spectator sport. Its innovative approach towards poker and its presentation played a major part in turning poker to the most popular form of gambling in the world. It also inspired the televising of other events such as the World Poker Tour which they said could never be done.
The first series of the show was aired during 1999 and another six were made till 2002, each show was produced in Wales and aired on the British Channel Four. Each of the series presented a short No-Limit Texas Hold'em tournament. Each of the series consisted of seven preliminary rounds, one semi final show and one final table show. Each of the shows was 60 minutes except of the season finals which was 90 minutes long.
The poker players on Late Night Poker were all either professional poker players or very strong amateurs. This had a great deal with the tension around the table. Unlike some other shows of the type Late Night Poker was not just a free invitational tournament, it had a buy in of 1500 pounds and also a first prize between 40 to 60 thousand pounds.
Late Night Poker was also the first show to use special cameras that enable the viewers to see the player's hole cards or starting hands . It is very unlikely that the show would become as popular and influential to the world of poker if it was not for these cameras. Unlike many other shows that followed the success of Late Night Poker, the producers of the show made quite a minimalist use of those cameras. The producers usually showed the hole cards of only one player and thus created much more interest and tension. The commentary in such situations reflected to some degree the same decision making that the poker player had to use. Its creative use of technology and innovative approach to poker will always keep Late Night Poker in the history of poker.
Daniel Aronson, Editorial Staff