In case you haven't seen it, Face the Ace is a new poker show on NBC. I'm not sure when it airs, and I can promise you I'm not going to try and find out.
The idea behind the show was exciting enough for me to tune in for the premiere: regular Joes with a shot at playing heads-up against the greatest poker players in the world for as much as $1 million.Unfortunately, NBC not only dropped the ball, they left it in their own end-zone and walked to the sidelines.
The host of the show, Steve Schirripa, is better known for being the badass Bobby Bacala on the Sopranos. That badass is now making jokes that makes Home Videos Bob Saget look like a comedic genious. Here's a clip from the show:
Somehow, NBC has managed to turn this badass gangster into a run of the mill game-show host. The best way to describe the show came from a friend of mine:
"It's basically a couple of guys who have no idea what they're doing, playing against a bunch of pros who don't want to be there."
From the stilted studio audience applause to the suspenseful Who Wants to be a Millionaire soundtrack, the whole show feels more like a crappy game show than poker in any way.
The first player ever on the show had about as much charisma as a doorknob. His conversation at the table with Ivey started out more labored and painful than a cross-country trip sitting next to the bathroom on a greyhound bus.
He then proceeded to needle Ivey (the greatest poker player in the world) by saying "I walked over to Binions. I didn't see your name on the wall up there, or your picture, for the world series."
He then decides to ask Ivey, "When you gonna win one?" Apparently Ivey's seven non Main-Event bracelets aren't worthy of as much respect as one Main Event win.
After getting dealt pocket aces and queens in the first three hands dealt, the competitor wins the $40k, takes his money and runs.
The second competitor defeats his first two opponents, and will come back next week to play for $1 million.
For a poker player, there' aren't a lot of reasons to watch the show. And the actual poker was less entertaining than watching the q-tips play $1-$3 spread-limit Stud at the Mirage.
For the non-poker player, I'm just not sure why they would care. The whole point of a game show is to play along at home, convinced all the contestants are morons.
If you can't yell out answers, such as "One dollar!" or "What is the Gettysburg Address?" what's the point of watching?
If poker players don't want to watch it, and non-poker players don't want to watch it, I'm just not sure what it's doing on TV. If I was a betting man, I'd say it won't be around for a second season - if it even makes it out of the first.