The Misrepresentation of Poker in TV Shows

I’m not talking poker TV shows, but TV shows with poker in them – such as soap operas, dramas and the like. I was watching a serial drama last night (which I won’t name for fear of embarrassment) and when they talked of having a game of poker, I just smiled and waiting with anticipation for the laughs that were sure to follow. Yep you guessed it, it was Four of a Kind vs. a Royal flush, turned over as if these two monsters of poker clash on a regular basis. I often hear people talk about poker TV shows giving the wrong impression of poker by just showing the action hands, but it’s nothing compared with the action you get in non-poker TV shows.

Actually the Four of a Kind vs. a Royal Flush is not an extreme example. I remember once seeing a drama show with four people playing poker, and the hands were; Four Kings vs. Four Aces vs. Royal Flush vs…wait for it… FIVE QUEENS (they used wild cards). Oh how I laughed.

I know it’s all about entertainment but here’s a few tips for TV researchers:

  • Play Texas Hold’em – it’s the most popular version, so why not use it rather than strip poker or 5 card draw (usually with no draws due to time constraints). The only exception should be if there are hot chicks playing, in which case strip poker is perfectly acceptable.
  • “I see your…and” – When someone says “I see your bet” then it’s a call, end of story. There should be no further raising. This will get a lot of would-be poker players in trouble at a proper poker game, particularly if there’s a long pause between the words “I see” and “I raise you”. It may result in a smack in the mouth. The same goes for slow rolling!
  • Betting Limits – There are 3 main betting structures in poker; Fixed Limit, Pot Limit, and No Limit – and No Limit is still limited to what’s at the table at the start of a hand. Betting your house, car, or entire business empire is not a common situation for poker players. There is no such betting limit as Net Worth Limit.

I do hope any TV researchers reading this take onboard these constructive criticisms and I look forward to not seeing the great game of poker duly mis-represented next time I watch TV. Right must go, the World Poker Tours on telly.

2 thoughts on “The Misrepresentation of Poker in TV Shows

  1. tc in dc

    Hahaha, sign me up for 2/5 NWLHE (Net Worth Limit Hold’em)! Imagine the bad beat stories. “So I was about to become the largest shareholder in General Electric, when the mofo hits his deuce on the river. Dammit how do people run so good?”

    Anyway, why should TV get poker any more right than any other profession? And besides, if it was played the way it is in real life, how would we get that dramatic moment when the casino owner throws his deed on the table right before the showdown? “Hey, WTF, you can rebuy after the hand!”


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