Updated February 27, 2021 - 1:38 am
PokerGO is full speed ahead for 2021.
The poker subscription video service had to cancel many of its productions last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but new president Mori Eskandani said he expects all of its major events to be played live in Las Vegas in the second half of this year.
“I am guessing the second half of this year is going to be the busiest time for PokerGO we’ve ever had,” Eskandani said. “I have a feeling the cameras are never going to shut down for us to catch up with what we missed and produce what we are capable of doing.”
PokerGO is a sort of Netflix for poker, offering tournament coverage, made-for-TV events and studio shows for $10 a month. The app launched in 2017, and PokerGO has steadily produced new poker content while acquiring the rights to previously aired shows (about 3,000 hours of content in all, Eskandani said).
Then the pandemic hit.
“We were all geared up to have our biggest year in 2020, and we got hit with this semitruck like every other business out there,” Eskandani said.
Eskandani has recently taken over the role as PokerGO president after serving as executive producer for its content shot at the PokerGO studio by the Aria. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2018 for his work in popularizing poker on TV, including “High Stakes Poker” and “Poker After Dark,” which are now under the PokerGO banner.
Besides new episodes of those shows this year, Eskandani said PokerGO plans to bring back the big buy-in tournament series it has hosted in previous years — the Super High Roller Bowl, Poker Masters and U.S. Poker Open.
Eskandani said he’s confident that pandemic restrictions will be loosened enough in the second half of the year to allow for the productions.
“Once you unmask the nation, we’ll be tearing through things,” he said with a laugh.
PokerGO is already gearing up for the “High Stakes Duel” heads-up showdown between star players Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, which will be played in mid-March.
With gambling gaining acceptance throughout the country, the time to make another push for poker is now, Eskandani said.
“It’s just the mindset of the whole nation and for that matter the whole world,” he said. “When it comes to online gambling, online sports betting, and poker just comes right along with all of that. So there is no question that this is going the right direction, and all we have to do now is make sure we move as fast as everything else that’s moving around us.”