Daniel Negreanu has more career earnings than any other player in poker history, so it’s only natural that producers of a new scripted television series that aims to be in a similar vein as Mark Wahlberg’s “Entourage” and Vince Vaughn’s film “Swingers” wanted the legend to appear on the show, and Kid Poker happily obliged.
According to the plot summary on IMDb, “Four Kings” is about four best friends, three poker pros and one bookie, living in a Las Vegas penthouse and traveling the world as they attempt to become “world champions.”
The drama is being produced by Initiate Productions, a production company that has two feature films to its credit featuring stars such as Billy Bob Thornton, Ed Helms, Hillary Duff, and Chevy Chase.
Negreanu confirmed his participation in the “Four Kings” project by tweeting to his followers, “In LA for the next few days shooting some scenes in a new TV series I think both the poker world and mainstream will really enjoy watching!”
“Four Kings” isn’t going all-in on the poker series blind; in fact, at least two members of the cast and crew have significant experience playing competitive poker.
Kevin Pollak, whose work includes “A Few Good Men,” “The Usual Suspects,” and “The Whole Nine Yards,” is credited with the role of “Paulie.” Pollak is no stranger to poker as he briefly hosted “Celebrity Poker Showdown” and placed 134th in the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event, cashing more than $50,000.
Robert Iler is also billed for the “Four Kings” cast and is also listed as a producer. Iler played A.J. Soprano on “The Sopranos,” and has also participated in WSOP events.
Negreanu tells PokerListings that the show is more about the poker lifestyle than the actual game. “I would describe it as ‘Swingers’ meets ‘Entourage’ meets gambling and poker,” he said.
Watched Pot Never Boils
America’s fascination with poker has seen a resurgence of sorts this year. The World Series of Poker set a new tournament record for participation through its low-cost $565 buy-in Colossus event, and gamblers around the country are eagerly awaiting new legislation in their respective states.
But while the game’s overall popularity appears strong, when it comes to watching the sport, poker interest doesn’t always correlate to viewership.
Aside from actual poker coverage like the World Series of Poker’s November Nine broadcast on ESPN, which is expanding its telecast from two to three nights this November, other forms of poker programming haven’t exactly been lighting up the Nielsen ratings:
Face the Ace: a poker game show that aired in 2009 on NBC where the contestant chose one of four doors, each with a pro behind it they would have to defeat in heads-up play.
Pros included Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Gus Hansen and more. The series lasted just seven episodes.
2 Months 2 Million: a 2009 show on the now-defunct G4TV, the series followed four online poker players sharing a house in Vegas as they collectively tried to make $2 million in just two months. The program was cancelled after the first season when the pros fell short of their goal, accumulating $676,700.
Underground Poker: the Discovery Channel series documenting Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak lasted less than two weeks in 2014.