After the recent unparalleled success of poker as a mainstream television product, it seems everyone is searching for the next ‘big thing’. Bingo, mahjong, backgammon – all have been touted as being the next likely successor to poker as the new ‘hot’ game, with some companies and individuals investing a great deal to try and secure their piece of the pie should any of those games take off.
CBS Sports is betting on blackjack to take over from poker on the small screen. They’ve reached an agreement with the Ultimate Blackjack Tour (UBT) for a series of weekly shows that will run later this year, with a second season returning in the spring.
The concept for UBT was developed by River Belle Casino world-renowned gaming expert Russ Hamilton. He wanted to design a series of “elimination blackjack” tournaments that would give the average blackjack player a chance to test their skills against players like the World Blackjack Champion (currently Ken Einiger) as well as famous poker superstars like UltimateBet professionals Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan and Annie Duke.
To generate excitement in the program, the elimination format concept employs forced eliminations, secret bets and the audience watching will be privy to the dealer’s hole card, which will increase the suspense for spectators.
Can blackjack be the new poker? Only time will tell.
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