Poker fans of a certain age know the phrase, “The biggest game in town is back.” High Stakes Poker is back, and PokerGo has finally unveiled its roster of hosts for the latest season of the classic poker show.
Not only did a brand new season of High Stakes Poker debut on December 16th, but the show also announced that its beloved hosts, A.J. Benza and Gabe Kaplan, were back, calling the play by play for ardent poker fans. Kaplan previously hosted seasons 1-6 and Benza cohosted for seasons 1-5. Both commentators appeared on the show from 2006 to 2011.
High-stakes poker superstar, Jean-Robert Bellande introduced the show’s fans to the hosts during the season opener by saying, “I can already picture Gabe Kaplan with that dope voice saying “and on tonight’s episode we’ll see our first million-dollar pot of the new season.”
Other familiar faces also featured on the season trailer included Bryn Kenney, Phil Hellmuth, Brandon Adams, Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Doug Polk, and other legendary poker players.
The season trailer also included clips highlighting High Stakes Poker’s signature casual banter between the high rollers.
Poker fans can watch for more action on the PokerGo Twitter feed.
The New Home of High Stakes Poker is PokerGo
After a 10 year absence, High Stakes Poker is set to return on December 16th at 8 PM ET on PokerGo. The show will only be available on PokerGo, with new episodes every week. Unfortunately, unlike the original High Stakes Poker, fans will need a PokerGo subscription for $99 a year to tune in.
PokerGo is also home to other highly popular poker-themed shows such as High Stakes Duel and Poker After Dark. The network also hosts live-streams of many major poker events including the Super High Roller Bowl, Poker Masters, World Series of Poker bracelet events, and the World Poker Tour.
The PokerGo channel also airs classic episodes of some of the premier poker television over the last two decades. Subscribers will also be able to watch the classic episodes of High Stakes Poker, as well as the best-of-the-best World Series of Poker action from years past.
Gabe Kaplan, from 70’s Sit-Com to Poker Superstar
Gabe Kaplan is perhaps best-known to the general public as the star of The 1970s situation comedy, Welcome Back Kotter. That show also launched the career of John Travolta.
Kaplan first became involved in both stock trading and poker during his acting career, making his debut appearance at the World Series of Poker in 1978. By 1980, Kaplan was considered a poker superstar, winning the main event at Amarillo Slim’s Super Bowl of Poker. There, he was presented with “a winner’s cup so enormous it made the gaudy gold bracelets given to the winners of the World Series of Poker look understated.”
Kaplan’s reputation as a poker player was galvanized over the next few years, making it to the final table at the Amarillo Slim Super Bowl’s main event two more times.
Ever since the return of High Stakes Poker was announced earlier this year, fans had been clamoring for the return of Gabe Kaplan, as well as the other hosts of the original show.
A.J. Benza, Gossip Columnist, and TV Host
Unlike Gabe Kaplan, Alfred Joseph Benza did not achieve any degree of success as a poker player, but rather, has spent his career exclusively in the entertainment industry. He gained notoriety as a gossip columnist during the 1990s, appearing on shows like Montel Williams, Maury Povich, Hard Copy, and Geraldo.
Benza hosted Mysteries and Scandals from 1998 through 2000, where Benza came up with the phrase “Fame, ain’t it a bitch,” which eventually served as the title of his autobiography.
It wasn’t until 2006 that Benza was teamed with Kaplan to host five seasons of High Stakes Poker on the GSN network. However, it seems his five years on the original High Stakes Poker were not the best years of his career; before he left the GSN network, he wrote a blog post expressing his disgust with the network’s executives titled “Flop turn and river of shit.”