Antonio Esfandiari: Discovery Channel Passed on Underground Poker

Discovery Channel won’t be picking up high-profile reality show Underground Poker, according to Antonio Esfandiari.

Esfandiari, who starred in the show along with long-time friend Phil Laak, announced the news on Twitter earlier today and spoke with PokerListings while on break from WSOP APAC in Melbourne.

“I didn’t get picked up,” said Esfandiari. “It’s currently being pitched elsewhere.”

The show features Esfandiari and Laak playing actual underground poker games around the United States.

In the pilot episode that aired on Discovery last month the pair traveled to New Orleans to play against the locals. The show wasn’t staged and featured legitimate hands from underground games.

Producers Pitching Show to Other Networks

Antonio Esfandiari

Esfandiari mentioned there was still room for improvements after the pilot.

“With any TV series the first show is never going to be great. If we had a full season I think we could deliver a great product,” he said.

“It has a lot of potential and I think Phil and I can do better. The production value was high.”

While losing the Discovery Channel was a big blow, Esfandiari mentioned he still thinks there’s a “pretty good” chance the series will be picked up by another network.

"The producers have a lot of contacts in LA," explained Esfandiari.

Regardless of what happens Esfandiari won’t stop trying to break into TV any time soon.

“It’s life,” he said. “Some things work. Some things don’t. What can I do? Dwell on the fact it didn’t work out? Who gives a shit.

“That one time it hits, it’s incredible. Having a show on Discovery would have been amazing. If someone gives you a 1% chance of having something incredible to happen then you take it.”

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