Poker Night in America wouldn’t have been a notable television show a few years ago, when high stakes cash games sponsored by major poker sites doted the late-night television landscape.
These days, however, the amount of poker programming on American television is way down, which means that the show is now one of the best places for US audiences to watch celebrities and poker pros risk cash on the felt.
The latest taping of Poker Night in America took place this weekend, as the show taped for several days at the Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York.
“I don’t have any illusions I can hang with these folks for any extended period of time,” Roeper said
The competition promised to be serious, with players like Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Layne Flack and Phil Laak slated to be among the participants.
But there’s also another name involved that most poker fans might not expect to see mixing it up with some of the world’s best. Film critic Richard Roeper, who once reviewed films along with Roger Ebert on At the Movies, will be looking to mix if up with some of the world’s finest poker minds.
“I don’t have any illusions I can hang with these folks for any extended period of time,” Roeper said in a press release, “but who knows, maybe the cards will be in my favor for a couple of hours and I’ll get lucky. I’m also looking forward to bantering with some of the better talkers in the game. Should be a lot of fun between hands as well as during the action.”
Roeper became a prominent writer after becoming a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1987. He would later replace the late Gene Siskel of Siskel & Ebert after ten guest appearances on the show. He remained on the program through 2008.
But Roeper also has a gambling background as well. He is described as a lifelong poker player, and while this is his first televised gambling appearance, he’s also written a book (Bet the House) about his own gambling experiences.
Roeper says that he has seen Poker Night in America, and that he enjoys the program.
“It’s about the personalities as much as poker,” Roeper said. “This is what poker night is like in a million basements and man caves across the country. It’s as much about the socializing and the ribbing as the poker.”
While Roeper will likely be meeting many of the poker pros for the first time, it’s possible that he’s familiar with one player’s other work. Actress and poker player Jennifer Tilly, who has performed in prominent films like Liar, Liar and Monsters, Inc. is among the players scheduled to appear.
If you’re looking to catch Roeper’s television appearance, you may have to wait a while, and you’ll also have to be sure you have a fairly extensive cable package. The games played this past weekend were filmed for a broadcast that won’t be aired until sometime in early 2015 on the CBS Sports Network.
Poker Night in America is sponsored by 888 Poker. Along with the televised broadcasts, the cash games and other events are streamed live through the program’s website.