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HOME > NEWS > Featured Articles > Top-10 poker player appearances on reality TV

Top-10 poker player appearances on reality TV

15 January 2013

By Aaron Todd

Last week, Daniel Negreanu was one of the people looking for new love on The Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo. Negreanu's appearance on the show was the latest in a series of reality television appearances for professional poker players. Poker players are great for reality TV because they are pseudo-celebrities, so their fans are likely to watch the show, and their lifestyle is interesting, even to those who don't follow the game.

Here's a list of the top-10 reality television appearances by poker players.

10. Mike Matusow on My Life on the D List
This is a pure classic. Mike Matusow goes on a blind date with Kathy Griffin, and hilarity ensues. I'm not going to spoil the four minutes of wonder contained here. Just watch the video.

9. Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak on I Bet You
This "reality" show pitted good friends and pro poker players Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari against each other in prop bets. Sure, the bets were likely scripted, but the action was real. And it was hilarious. My favorite episode came in the second season premier, when Laak and Esfandiari wagered on which of them had a higher sperm count.

8. Liv Boeree on Golden Balls
Okay, so this happened before she was a well-known player in the poker industry, but Liv Boeree's appearance on the game show Golden Balls displayed why she would soon be recognized as a great player.

7. The wizards on Two Months, Two Million
This show featured four Internet poker wizards (Dani Stern, Jay Rosenkrantz, Brian Roberts and Emil Patel) attempting to make $2 million in two months in Las Vegas. This show makes the list because it really shows the young guns in their native environment, living like they actually live. It only made it for one 10-episode season, and no, the group didn't quite hit their goal. But they did win $676,700.

6. Jennifer Harman on Sin City Rules
Meant to be a "Real Housewives of Las Vegas"-type show, Sin City Rules featured five Vegas-based women living their lives. When Harman appeared, it was obvious which parts of her dialogue were scripted and which parts weren't. The unscripted stuff provided an interesting insight. Unfortunately, it only made up about 20 percent of her time on the show, and she had to share the stage with four women that I couldn't have cared less about.

The TLC show didn't last long. It's already been pulled from the airwaves, just a few months after it debuted.

5. Daniel Negreanu on Millionaire Matchmaker
Finally, a poker-related program that my wife was eager to watch! Negreanu appeared very comfortable on Bravo TV's Millionaire Matchmaker, and he was certainly the more likable of the two bachelors that Patti was attempting to find a match for. And he was even able to overcome an inherent mistrust of astrologers to get something out of the meeting shown below. (But I'm with you 100 percent on that front, Daniel.)

4. Johnny Chan on Full House sizzle reel
This show hasn't actually been made. The promotional video below was produced solely to shop around the idea of the program to television networks. But the unintentional comedy is off the charts, and if it ever were to be made, it would be appointment viewing in my house.

3. Mario Ho and Tiffany Michelle on The Amazing Race
Two well-known female poker players were on an extremely popular network reality television competition (though they weren't the first). It was kind of a big deal. They beat half the field, finishing sixth.

2. Jean-Robert Bellande on Survivor
Jean-Robert Bellande didn't make many friends on Survivor, but he did get a lot of kudos for his strategy. He lasted for 24 days and beat half the field and definitely increased his Q rating in the process.

1. Annie Duke on Celebrity Apprentice
While Jean-Robert Bellande didn't make many friends on Survivor, at least he wasn't compared to Hitler.

The feud between finalists Annie Duke and Joan Rivers on Celebrity Apprenctice was epic. She was a part of some very memorable scenes, including the one below.

A lot of people thought Annie was going to win, including Annie, who felt like Donald Trump slow rolled her when he made his final decision.

Aaron Todd
Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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