High Stakes Poker Ratings Up, Quiets Critics

Despite having success in its first five seasons, the super-popular poker show High Stakes Poker decided to make a big change by dropping the witty A.J. Benza from the commentator booth and replacing him with the sultry Kara Scott.  When the move was made, people immediately started criticizing the Game Show Network producers who made the decision, and some online poker rooms even considered pulling their advertising.

Well it’s a good thing those Internet poker rooms didn’t make a hasty decision because High Stakes Poker’s ratings are actually up in Season 6.  In fact, they’ve soared above Season 5 with the target audience of ages 18 to 49 watching a full 27% more!  So all those poker sites that like to advertise their services and rakeback deals can rest easy with the increased success of Season 6. 

The VP of Programming and Development at GSN, David Schiff, actually believes the improved ratings are a result of the participants themselves as he stated, ““We’re very gratified to see this season of High Stakes Poker performing so well among these important demographic groups, and we can attribute it to an especially strong player lineup this season. We have some of the biggest names in poker this season, including more international players, and the viewers are clearly responding to the outstanding game play.”

Some of the players Schiff is talking about include Patrik Antonius, Antonio Esfandiari, Barry Greenstein, David Benyamine, Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Eli Elezra, and Daniel Negreanu.

Getting back to the whole announcer switch, fans of the older format are still complaining that the chemistry between A.J. Benza and Gabe Kaplan is missing from the show.  They don’t think that Kara Scott works as well with Gabe Kaplan in the booth.  However, it’s hard to argue with the switch when the show has attracted a 27% larger share of the target audience they want.

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  • I wonder who in High Stakes Poker or GSN is doing Kara. That’s the reason anyone would put her on the show….she’s terrible.