Poker on Screen: Intercontinental Poker Championship (2006)

Poker-on-Screen-Intercontinental-Poker-Championship-(2006)While there have been a plethora of poker shows on television, few have had the impact of the greats. Think of the European Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker or the PartyPoker Premier League Season 4. You probably won’t think of the Intercontinental Poker Championship, but we bet that you remember its most famous scene.

It’s an interesting quirk that the show that was designed to welcome players from all over the world features something of a storm in a global teacup. Tony G was the offender in the hand, telling Russian player Ralph Perry to ‘Get on your bike’ as he bade him back to his motherland. 

It’s quite a famous clip. It’s also one that – much like the show itself – hasn’t aged well.

The Intercontinental Poker Championship was only broadcast for a single season on television. It featured players such as Chris Bjorin from Sweden, Johnny Chan from China, and messrs Daniel Negreanu (Canada) and Doyle ‘Texas Dolly’ Brunson (USA), all of whom had dramatic hands in the series. 

While the series was only screened for seven weeks back in 2006, three years post-Moneymaker, it had plenty of action, with 21 players reduced to three groups of seven players in a double-elimination ‘shootout’ style game. Each winner of the seven players made it through directly to the semi-finals, with the six players left in each group having to do battle again, with the next shootout winner joining the original winners in the final.

Six-handed, the final was a highly dramatic affair, and it wasn’t Tony G who eventually won, as he was defeated in the best-of-three heads-up match by Japanese player Yoshio Nakano, who beat the Australian/Lithuanian to win $350,000. Tony G ‘only’ won $150,000 and was on his bike… in a manner of speaking.

Presented by Gabe Kaplan and Jeff Medders, who provided some excellent commentary, the series did try to push the game in a global sense, but in the end, it felt like something was missing. The World Series of Poker may have been set in Las Vegas only at the time, but it still felt like more of an International series of events than this off-shoot of a highly prolific period in poker’s chequered TV history.