Poker’s no longer a man’s game, says Dan O’Callaghan, as eight of the best female players battle it out in cash games in Las Vegas and Macau for a new TV show
One of the benefits of being a self diagnosed babe-magnet, is that I get great gigs such as going on amazing dates with the lovely ladies from the upcoming poker TV series, Girl Got Game (GGG). Okay, fine, so I’m not a babe-magnet, and yes, I might be using the term ‘date’ a little loosely since they were Skype chats, but hey, if you’re feeling strong enough to pry these straws from my vice-like clutches, then go right ahead.
GGG is a new poker TV series set to be aired in April 2016. It will follow eight female poker players on an adventure from Macau to Vegas as they take each other head-on in cash games and prop bets. They each start with $10k and at the end of the series the one with the most cash will get bragging rights, a WSOP Main Event buy in, and a chance to defend their title in Season 2.
Filming starts in February, but from what I gather from executive producer Katrina Lim, the show is going to resemble a high tempo hybrid of Poker After Dark, and Esfandiari & Laak’s I Bet You, just with fewer comb overs, and far more sass and Sambuca.
I know Katrina well. We spent a huge chunk of the summer hanging out in Vegas, and I know that the selection process for her ladies was nothing short of vigorous. She told me that one of the goals of GGG is to promote poker as an art form and lifestyle to a larger audience and, in particular, to bring more ladies to the game.
The un-hateful eight
Each of the eight cast members in Season 1 brings something unique to the table. Yes, the show will include some ‘top-secret’ celebrity cameo appearances, but since the cast is so diverse, I don’t think it will rely on them.
Each of the eight girls already brings enough of their own individual appeal, personality, and poker style to the table. Among others, we have a dedicated mother in Danielle Andersen, international jet-set girlies like Kitty Kuo and Sofia Lovgren, and a seriously focused and competitive German in Sabina Hiatullah.
The casting is sublime and I think that since most people will be able to relate to at least one element of the ladies’ personalities, the show will appeal to existing poker fans, while keeping the attention of those that might otherwise be lost in alienating poker jargon. Sure, they’re all gorgeous as well, but that’s just a bonus.
Interestingly enough though one of the things that really stood out for me was the lack of competition among the girls. It was refreshing to see that they didn’t need to prove anything, either to themselves or each other, and other than Sabina, who (playfully?) fired some banterous shots at her rivals, the girls seem more focused on having fun than playing poker.
As a poker player I can relate to this and I’m most excited more about the prop-bets and chaos than anything else. Katrina has also promised to add some pretty radical spice and surprise to the poker elements of the program too.
That poker life
One of the beauties of playing poker professionally is the freedom and I
think this is going to come to life in the show. Sure, the competition will kick in when the cards hit the felt, but GGG is going to show there’s more to the poker life than cards.
I love that the cast, Danielle in particular, focus far more on the importance of family and living life than ruining bankrolls at the felt. One of the things I love about the poker industry is the sense of companionship you get – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve ended up having a beer with someone that I battled with a few hours before. For the most part everything stays on the felt, and since the show aims to promote the poker lifestyle, I think this will translate perfectly onto the screen.
Could GGG be the source of another poker boom? I honestly don’t know, but I do know many of the cast personally so I’m perfectly qualified to say that even if we don’t see an influx of fresh meat at the tables, we’re definitely in for a treat of a TV show. Great producer. Great concept. Great cast. I can’t wait!
Meet the cast