GGPoker's New Hit Show 'Game of Gold', Poker After Dark Spinoff, Off to Flying Start
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The first episodes of GGPoker's latest YouTube show Game of Gold aired on Friday, and word on the street is that it's a smashing success after receiving very positive feedback from the poker community. Three episodes in, the show has already already up to over half a million in views and raving reviews.
Game of Gold is a continuation of the Poker After Dark brand, purchased by GGPoker and put to interesting use here. Where the original Poker After Dark was a straightforward poker show in which six players would duke it out in a winner-takes-all sit-and-go, Game of Gold takes its cues from Survivor with various poker challenges each week and a metagame in which gold coins are earned and players and teams are eliminated.Over the course of four rounds, the sixteen contestants will compete to earn gold coins, each coin will translate into one big blind's worth of chips in the final round. What the gold coin challenges will be, is anyone's guess until Ali Najad announces them at the start of the round.
Of those sixteen players, only one will win the first-place prize of $456,000.
Meeting The Players
Episode One opens cold with Kevin Martin turning up on set, drawing a card, and being sent through to the game's main stage.
Martin came in with the Survivor mentality. As soon as he felt the warmth of those klieg lights, he began ferreting about for any clues, edges, or immunity totems that might have been secreted about the set.
Finding nothing, he was soon joined by the other professionals and personalities like Daniel Negreanu and Jason Koon, Maria Ho, Josh Arieh, and PokerNews ambassador and poker streamer Lukas "Robin Poker" Robinson.
After fifteen minutes of a preamble, in which we got to know the sixteen players, Ali Nejad appeared to kick the game off properly.Nejad explained the game and corralled the players into their teams. Then the first challenge began...
|Team Spades||Team Hearts||Team Diamonds||Team Clubs|
|Fedor Holz||Lukas "Robin Poker" Robinson||Josh Arieh||Daniel Negreanu|
|Nikita Luther||David Williams||Maria Ho||Jason Koon|
|Johan "YoH Viral" Guilbert||Olga Iermolcheva||Daniel "Jungleman" Cates||Michael Soyza|
|Charlie Carrel||Andy Stacks||Kyna England||Kevin Martin|
The First Challenge
With the teams sorted, Najad explained that the first round would be made up of four-player sit and goes with one player from each team—a format that reflects the show's branding as part of the extended Poker After Dark universe.To make things interesting, the different tournaments pay out different amounts of gold coins, with the fourth table's payouts a complete mystery. The team earning the most gold coins wins the round, while the team with the fewest coins is eliminated. This made the decision of who plays which match a key part of the team's strategy. Right off the bat, the different teams settled into wildly different strategic modes. Some teams were full of players accommodating each other, others saw egos clash, while Holz's team settled the order in moments with German efficiency. The matches were played sequentially. This meant that the teams had to watch their teammates from the green room, discussing the action, calling out their teammates, and—in Arieh's case—climbing on the furniture. The first round pitted Luther, England, Iermolcheva, and Soyza against each other. Despite the fast-paced editing of the show—which managed to boil the whole sit and go down to about 30 minutes of TV—there was still room to see the players show off their styles. England tangled with Soyza several times in the opening match, while Iermolcheva stole the show with her aggressive play, drawing plaudits from across the aisle as Negreanu and Martin praised her "raw talent" and "feel play" from the green room. As a result, it was no surprise that it was Iermolcheva who caught a massive bluff from Soyza, putting him on life support. Nor that it was Iermolcheva who put England at risk in the final cliffhanger moments of episode one.
The episode opened with the second half of Friday's cliffhanger hand. Unfortunately, the hand send England to the rail, causing Ariah, her teammate to quietly commit to playing the best poker of his life in the following round.With the blinds rising, three players left, and most of the chips in front of her, Iermolcheva ramped up the pressure shoving the next few hands. When she eventually folded preflop, Soyza took this as a chance to get something going and shoved only to double Luther up. Iermolcheva took him out the next hand and mopped Luther up shortly afterward, bagging 30 gold coins for herself and putting her team in the lead. The second match pitted a new foursome made of up of Andy Stacks, Kevin Martin, Josh Arieh, and an open-shirted Charlie Carrel. Arieh put on a clinic, playing smart, losing the minimum when beat, and extracting the maximum when ahead.
Meanwhile, Carrel ran hot, going up against Stacks over and over while the cards did Stacks dirty every time. Carrel managed to double through Martin with A♠Q♣ against Q♦10♦.
Stacks finished Martin off the next hand before getting it all in with queens against Carrel's A♥9♠. The board gave Carrel two pair to win the pot and a massive chip lead.Despite having three-quarters of the chips in play, Carrel struggled to hold his own against Arieh who sailed smoothly through the heads-up phase, going from way behind to way ahead to having all the chips. "I told you I was gonna win," Arieh said into his Lavalier mic as he stood up from his win, his team cheering his victory from the green room.
Robinson took an early lead in Episode three when Guilbert ran two pair into his set. He gave some of that to Ho shortly afterward—when he laid down a better ace on the river, garnering some criticism from the green rooms—then a little more when he bet into Negreanu's made flush.Negreanu took those chips and won a bunch more with some sharp bluffs and near-constant table talk. Robinson hit the rail first after running sixes into Guilbert's kings. As the blinds rose, Negreanu started shoving more and talking less till an unfortunate all-in against Guilbert sent him to join Robinson on the rails. Some odd play developed as Guilbert and Ho battled to not go out in second, including one hand with limped aces preflop that had every single greenroom baffled. Eventually, Guilbert managed to get Ho all in, held, and took the top spot putting Team Spade well into the lead.
Match Four BeginsThe final team members came to the table for what was arguably the toughest round of all. Holz, Williams, Koon, and Cates all came out to the table.
As you might expect with a crew like that, things got off to an explosive start. However, play only lasted a couple of hands before the Game of Gold title card came up and the episode ended, inviting viewers back on Friday for the final installment of round one.
You can catch that installment on the where the remaining three round of Game of Gold will play out each week with new episodes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12 p.m. UTC.