Friday, February 03, 2006

Don't Cross Your World Series of Bridges Before You Get To Them

Poker remains a huge draw on TV and shows no signs of slowing down. Blackjack is living off the winnings of its older brother. Now I see the World Craps Championship is scheduled for July 2006.

Maybe craps will develop into a third-tier TV series. You can't easily play it at home and it requires less skill than blackjack, but it does generate a ton of excitement at the table. One out of three — probably not a huge draw. Even though blackjack is the younger sibling, it already has three shows to its name ("World Series of Blackjack," "Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament" and "Celebrity Blackjack") with one more series ("World Blackjack Tour") on the way this summer. I reckon craps deserves one series on the Wealth Network sometime at the end of this year.

What other card or casino table games might we see on TV? Pai Gow or Caribbean Stud? Too few people know the rules. Baccarat? Too James Bondish.

What about bridge?

It's a distinct possibility. The demos might skew a bit old, but it has many of the same elements as poker. You can play at home with friends. It requires skill. Small cameras transformed poker by giving the viewer full information, and these same cameras can be used for bridge. (Bridge players are already used to similar gameplay because of Sharif's syndicated newspaper columns, which also means you have a built-in audience.) Make the stakes high. Find unique characters. Show only key moments of each hand. All that's missing is a sponsor.

Or is it? Back on December 15, 2005 Harrah's filed a trademark application for "World Series of Bridge."

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