A few months ago I wrote a blog to sing the praises of a new poker show on NBC, Face the Ace. Now, having seen several episodes of the show, I am writing to apologize.
The show appealed to me because I expected to see some everyman poker players, and some fun stories. I have seen neither. Frankly, my favorite part of the show is guessing the pro from his/her introduction, in which I'm batting 1000.
The parade of cocky 20 (and 30 and 40) somethings that I feared quickly arrived. Typically the level of cockiness varied inversely with the level of success, which was nice. However, the coversations between the pros and the amateurs is unbearable. Either it's blatant hero worship or blatant self-promotion. I found myself fast forwarding through as much of the chatter as possible.
There's little interesting about the matches. It seems the two players trade pots until the amateur decides he has a pre-flop hand good enough to go all in with, and if the pro has any ace, king or pair, he figures "what the hell, there's a big game developing at the Bellagio" and calls.
Steven Schirripa, whose "timid mouse inside a fearsome lion's body" act worked brilliantly in the Sopranos, is clearly suffering in his role as host. He is obviously not comfortable without a script to work from, and it shows. Often, his contributions are of the "So what do you think?" and "So what's gong on here?" variety. Not exactly what I'm looking for in a host. Ali Nejad's appearances to announce blind raises is a rather random intrusion as well.
Finally, way too many of the contestants are quitting after the first win. In addition to being a mathematically atrocious choice, it doesn't make for very good television.
Anyway, the public was right, I was wrong. Sorry about this one.