Ryan Riess Ambushed on Fox News

Fox News make a mess of interview with world champ

Every year the winner of the WSOP Main Event receives some mainstream attention in the week after their victory. It’s often the only time of the year that poker is mainstream, popular news. The Daily Mail had a two-page spread on Ryan Riess this week in the UK and the 23-year-old Michigan native even made it onto the holy grail of American TV programming: Fox News. 

It’s brilliant for poker to be in the spotlight, however it’s sad to see so much of the wider media world fail to give players like Riess the respect they deserve. Click here to watch the Fox News video.

The interviewer, Shepard Smith, clearly has little knowledge of poker and, worse yet, is condescending and aggressive towards Riess’s incredible accomplishment. His final suggestion that Riess puts his $8.3m winnings ‘on black’ at the roulette table makes clear that Fox News equates poker much more with gambling and luck than they do skill. Unfortunately, that attitude is likely to carry across to the viewers watching at home, many of whom will also be similarly in the dark about poker. 

If poker is featured more prominently in mainstream media it can definitely help the game grow and attract more casual viewers to give it a chance. Yet when the perception of poker is as a pure gambling game it cannot help poker’s image at all. Interviewers such as Fox News’s Shepard Smith have a responsibility to put across the facts and not just out-dated stereotypes towards poker and poker players that don’t match up with the reality of the game as a hyper-competitive, skillful sport. 

Congratulations to Ryan Riess – here at PokerPlayer.co.uk we will give your victory the respect it deserves. Let’s hope Shepard Smith goes back into his foxhole and never reports on the game that we love again. 

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