The glory days of televised poker may be over but fans still have options to watch. As with the less-popular sports, it’s a bit complicated to find the events you want. But below we explain the lay of the land.
In a hurry? Serious poker fans will want to sign-up with PokerGO. But they should combine it with a live TV streaming service that offers at least CBS Sports Network to watch live poker events. We recommend:
- FuboTV: This sports-heavy streaming service offers over 110 channels. FuboTV allows you to try out its service free for 7 days.
- Hulu + Live TV: A great overall entertainment service with the sports you want.
- DIRECTV STREAM: Though substantially more expensive, it also comes with Bally Sports (where available), which air a substantial amount of poker. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
Table Of Contents
The World Series of Poker Main Event (WSOP) is the world’s most prestigious poker-related tournament, and it is broadcast on CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) and streamed on PokerGO ($14.99/mo), the latter a tremendous streaming option for watching non-WSOP poker events as well.
A regional sports network that broadcasts poker events is Bally Sports. In order to get your local Bally Sports affiliate, if applicable, and CBSSN, you need DIRECTV STREAM’s Ultimate plan ($104.99/mo). However, more affordable options for just CBSSN are available as well. These include FuboTV ($69.99/mo), Hulu + Live TV ($69.99/mo), and YouTube TV ($64.99/mo).
Poker is one of the world’s most popular card games, especially so in the US but also around the world.
Origins of Poker
Arguably, the first important date in poker history is 1837. That is when Foster’s Complete Hoyle initially described what poker is. It claimed that the game was related to As-Nas, which originated in present-day Iran. Its origins are believed to have dated back more than 1,000 years to China.
The first widespread playing of poker was during World War II as soldiers played various forms of it during their free time.
The Moneymaker Effect and Black Friday
In a story that would not be believed if it had been offered at Hollywood, Chris Moneymaker unexpectedly made a lot of money for himself when he stunned the poker world by winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event.
Prior to that year, the professional poker-playing world was more of a tight-knit club with not that much fluctuation among those who did well at major poker tournaments. But then Moneymaker earned his spot in that prestigious group as the result of parlaying an $86 satellite tournament all the way into that WSOP win. In other words, he came out of nowhere — his story was completely unexpected. And he had the perfect name for his story as well.
As a result of this Moneymaker Effect, interest in poker skyrocketed as others wanted to play online and possibly do their own parlaying of a $86 buy-in to become world champion. Key figures in poker like Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and Phil Ivey became household names. Playing in various online games and tournaments throughout the year grew significantly.
However, numerous poker sites were shut down as far as US-based access goes on April 15, 2011 — a date referred to as Black Friday by poker players. The resulting difficulty in finding online games in poker’s largest market resulted in interest decreasing significantly in the years that followed. In addition, interest in Europe and elsewhere in the world went down as American players had helped build tournament sizes and had otherwise improved the options available.
But, with that said, interest in the game is still significant.
Types of Poker
Poker’s most popular version is Texas hold ’em, which was, unsurprisingly, said to have been initially played in Texas, more specifically Robstown, in the early 1900s. It took its time spreading from the Lone Star State. It eventually reached the city where it would become famous, Las Vegas, in 1963. The Entertainment Capital of the World has served as the home of the WSOP since that event was first held in 1970.
In Texas hold ’em, each player receives two down cards while five cards are placed on the board, three initially and then one at a time for the fourth and fifth cards with betting rounds between each step. Each player creates the best five-card hand among the two that they are holding and the five that are in front of them. If the hand lasts to the showdown (ie, not everyone folds prior to then) the best remaining hand takes the pot.
Many other types of poker are played as well, including various forms of Limit, Omaha, Razz, Draw, and Stud. The end result is generally the same although what is essentially the worst hand wins in Razz.
World Series of Poker
The WSOP is held from around Memorial Day to the middle of July in Las Vegas. The Rio had hosted it, at least in part, from 2005-21. Now hosting duties are shared by Bally’s Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas.
It traditionally starts with a casino employees Texas hold ’em tournament and ends with the main event. The latter competition lasts two weeks.
WSOP events are varied, not just focusing on Texas hold ’em, although it is the type played in the main event and in a significant percentage of the WSOP events.
Also note that there is a World Series of Poker Europe and the WSOP Circuit, which travels worldwide. Both attract top players as well.
Other Poker Tours
Other poker tours that are unrelated to the WSOP include the World Poker Tour (WPT), European Poker Tour, and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour.
Other Poker Tournaments
There are also a number of standalone poker events that are of interest to players and viewers.
Arguably the most popular of these is the Aussie Millions, which is officially known as the Australian Poker Championships. It is annually held in Melbourne and is the Southern Hemisphere’s most significant poker tournament, attracting top players from around the world.
Meanwhile, a historic one is the Irish Poker Open, which is the world’s second-oldest, trailing only the WSOP. It was first held in 1980, and it attracts a number of British and Irish players.
The Super High Roller Bowl is held twice a year and, as the name indicates, it features high-stakes bettors.
Online players focus on PokerStars’ World Championship of Online Poker, a WSOP online equivalent as far as its structure and wide selection of games are concerned.
Poker has been a compelling television product for decades as both professional players and those who have only played sporadically tune in to see how others fare under the pressure.
Television coverage of poker has been occurring since the 1970s with its prime focus, understandably, the WSOP. However, prior to the hole cam, which allows viewers to see which cards each of the players is holding, it was much more challenging for viewers to follow the action, particularly those without extensive knowledge of the game. But once that started being used, in 1997, interest in broadcasts and, as a result, television ratings, shot up.
The most important channel for most poker fans is CBSSN since it broadcasts the WSOP Main Event and numerous other WSOP bracelet events. In 2021, this included 15 hours for the former and 36 hours for the latter. Another popular event that is showcased on CBSSN is Poker Night in America. It airs on Mondays at 10:00 pm (ET).
An additional important network is Bally Sports, which is available in many areas of the country. It shows a tremendous amount of poker content. Included is coverage of the World Poker Tour.
There are a number of poker-related live streams that you can utilize to watch this card game in action.
PokerGO is easily the top option amongst the live stream choices. It is the self-proclaimed “#1 poker TV streaming service in the world.” It backs up that claim with access to numerous prestigious events.
Its showcase offering is the WSOP, and it even features coverage of its Main Event from start to the final table. In 2021, it streamed 36 days of play and dozens of bracelet events. Also, PokerGO provides access to the Poker Masters and Super High Roller Bowl series as well as Poker After Dark and the relaunch of the GSN TV series High Stakes Poker.
In addition, PokerGO has broadcasted a series of TV shows since its launch in 2017. These have included The Big Blind, Dead Money, Legends of the Game, Pokerography, Real Talk, and Super High Roller Club.
Historic poker tournament broadcasts are also available through PokerGO, such as the 2003 WSOP Main Event. That is when Chris Moneymaker shook up the poker world by going from a completely unknown player to winning it.
Note that PokerGO is available worldwide with the exception of China.
If you would like to pay for a single month of access, it will cost you $14.99 while a three-month plan is $29.99 and an annual one $99.99. This last option averages $8.33 per month. Autorenewals are in place until a plan is canceled.
If you want to watch World Poker Tour events, ClubWPT.com ($19.95/mo) is where you want to go.
To watch coverage of the Triton Millions, YouTube (free) is your option. That competition may be watched on Triton Poker’s official channel.
A tremendous amount of other poker content, including analysis of hands, may also be watched on YouTube.
Twitch offers numerous poker-focused channels, including 888pokerTV, KomodoDragonJesus, PokerStars247, MattStaples, and worldpokertour247.
Streaming Poker on TV
To watch poker on television, most poker fans are going to want to subscribe to multi-channel streaming services that provide access to CBSSN at a minimum and a Bally Sports regional sports network if you want additional coverage of this card game.
Of course, make sure to also consider getting access to poker-focused streaming services, particularly PokerGO ($14.99/mo). Between CBSSN and PokerGO, you will get to enjoy complete coverage of the WSOP.
FuboTV ($69.99/mo) is an option for CBSSN as it includes it in its base plan. Those looking for sports action to go with poker coverage may also be interested in beIN Sports, Fox Sports 1 (FS1), Fox Sports 2 (FS2), Big Ten Network, ESPN, and TUDN, all of which are included in FuboTV’s base plan.
Hulu + Live TV
CBSSN is also available through Hulu + Live TV, which costs $69.99/mo and provides access to ESPN+ and Disney+ as well. If you are looking for sports content with your streaming service, note that this one offers ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, FS2, NFL Network, SEC Network, and ACC Network in its base plan.
DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) has a few choices. For those wanting CBSSN and one or more local Bally Sports affiliates, DIRECTV STREAM’s Ultimate plan ($104.99/mo) is your cheapest option. Note that, in many cases, Bally Sports content is available on different regional sports networks, so you may not necessarily need a Bally Sports regional sports network in your area to watch Bally Sports’ poker programs.
If you are only interested in Bally Sports’ poker content and not CBSSN’, subscribing to DIRECTV STREAM’s Choice plan ($89.99/mo) will suffice. Both plans come with unlimited cloud DVR (online subscribers only) and streaming on up to 20 devices at the same time. See our DIRECTV STREAM review for more information.
YouTube TV ($64.99/mo) offers CBSSN in its base plan. Meanwhile, sports fans subscribing to this streaming service will often find themselves watching FS1, FS2, SEC Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, NBA TV, and MLB Network.
Devices to Stream Poker
All the live TV streaming services we’ve highlighted support the following devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android mobile
- Apple TV
- iOS (iPhone, iPad)
- Samsung TVs
- Web browsers.
DIRECTV STREAM offers its own device, which you are purchase directly from them.
The other services additionally support Android TV, LG, and VIZIO smart TVs as well as Xbox gaming systems. Hulu and YouTube also support PlayStation units.
PokerGo supports Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android mobile, iOS, and Roku devices.
If you want to watch poker, you are most likely focused on the WSOP. In that case, make sure to secure access to CBSSN, which can be done with FuboTV and Hulu + Live TV. Also consider signing up with PokerGO ($14.99/mo).
Meanwhile, other poker content can be watched on Bally Sports, which, as far as streaming services are concerned, is only available through DIRECTV STREAM. If you want that access plus CBSSN, you need to get at least its Ultimate plan ($104.99/mo).
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