Johnny Chan Poker Reality Show: It’s Real

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Over the weekend, a thread surfaced on PocketFives about a rumored poker reality series featuring Johnny Chan(pictured). PocketFives can confirm that the show, tentatively called “Full House,” is real and is currently being pitched to major networks for broadcast. A video preview that cropped up on YouTube linked in the original post began with Chan walking down a flight of stairs saying, “I am the most famous poker player in the world.”

The premise of the show is that five poker apprentices staying at Chan’s house are staked with $200,000 of the back-to-back World Series of Poker Main Event champ’s money. Each episode, two of the five will enter a nine-man live poker game in Las Vegas in which viewers of the show can compete against them. If at any time a contestant goes broke, they’re vanquished from the house and replaced with a new player.

The teaser is admittedly a bit over the top, but the show’s producer, Jay Ishimaru, told PocketFives in an exclusive interview, “The most common misconception regarding the video is that it is a trailer for Season 1. The video is actually a sizzle, which was not even targeting the viewers, but rather the TV networks. It is a demo, an exhibition of an idea. The people involved are not actors or reality stars, but actual ranked poker players who may or may not appear on the actual show.”

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Ishimaru continued, “The premise of the show is a combination of reality TV and poker. It is about challenging viewers to go up against real poker pros. In a nutshell, it’s a reality-style game show. It was an honor to have Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson (pictured) support that idea.” Brunson appears in the video and Ishimaru suggested that Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth are among others who could appear.

Ishimaru is the creator of the show and has been working on the idea for the last two years. He wrote, produced, and directed the entire concept and told PocketFives, “Before there was even a chance to pitch the show or before the reel was even created, we had offers from major TV networks. Unfortunately, those cannot be named, as negotiations are still ongoing.”

Ishimaru identified the target networks as “major” and not of a cable variety. The first offer from a TV network was for $500,000, but Ishimaru and company turned it down.

Despite the mixed reaction from the poker community, the show’s producer explained, “The majority of the reaction has been very positive, especially from Europe. There has been some criticism, as expected, but that is mostly due to the aforementioned misconception about the video. The public mistakes the sizzle reel for an actual trailer or pilot.”

The sizzle reel was shot in three days, leading Ishimaru to say, “There was only so much limited time because of the TV networks that were eager to see it.”

Ishimaru is targeting one-hour episodes, with about 20 of them comprising Season 1. At the end of the first season, a cast for Season 2 will be selected. The series will be filmed in Las Vegas, with the poker action taking place either at MGM Resorts International or Caesars Entertainment properties. Interested cast members can apply online through the network’s website or at the poker rooms where the show will be filmed. Both the network and filming locations are still to be determined.

Aside from games featuring Chan’s students, the show will follow poker players’ everyday lives and try to give an accurate account of the Vegas poker lifestyle.

Why now? Why is the time right for a poker reality show? Ishimaru explained, “Online poker has taken a decline over the last couple of years and cash games are coming back to life. The idea behind the show is something unique that has never been done before and one that combines two styles of TV.”

30 COMMENTS

        • lol @ the trailer on youtube. Funny as hell, no wonder people thought it was fake. Overall the show will prolly be pretty good.

          Doyle and Johnny Chan in the same show will appeal to the masses. I thought for sure this was a level when I saw the YouTube video earlier today, but after talking with the show’s producer, this seems to have a legit chance of succeeding.

          • they disabled all comments on youtube lolz the trailer makes it looks stupid, fake , annoying. Maybe the show will be good but hard to imagine its real after that trailer

          • To serious poker players it looks ridiculous. I’m all for anything that might attract new players though. As a community we should be embracing ventures that could potentially increase interest for the game. Especially at a time when the poker economy needs some type of jolt (however absurd it may be)

          • For a second, i thought Psy from gangnam style fame was doing a tv show before I read the article. Johnny Chan the original gangnam style master?

          • I was to contact embarrassed to watch the entire trailer but I think the actual show is gonna be sweet…

          • lol holy shit that looks so bad. ahhahahahahahaha I couldnt get through the whole trailer…But Im sure alot of brain-washed americans will like it, its “reality tv” isnt it?… definitely good for the game 😉

          • FOR GOD’S SAKE, JAY ISHIMARU is not a genius. He is just a cheater who cheated women’s money in Singapore. He was a gigolo who worked in a club when he was in Singapore 2009. His mother’s name is Lee Ki Ok. His full name is Lee Ji Soo. And he still owed many Singaporean women money and not paid up till now. What the fuck genius was he but A CHEATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • FOR GOD’S SAKE, JAY ISHIMARU is not a genius. He is just a cheater who cheated women’s money in Singapore. He was a gigolo who worked in a club when he was in Singapore 2009. His mother’s name is Lee Ki Ok. His full name is Lee Ji Soo. And he still owed many Singaporean women money and not paid up till now. What the fuck genius was he but A CHEATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            seems legit lol

          • FOR GOD’S SAKE, JAY ISHIMARU is not a genius. He is just a cheater who cheated women’s money in Singapore. He was a gigolo who worked in a club when he was in Singapore 2009. His mother’s name is Lee Ki Ok. His full name is Lee Ji Soo. And he still owed many Singaporean women money and not paid up till now. What the fuck genius was he but A CHEATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Thats one hell of a first post.

          • FOR GOD’S SAKE, JAY ISHIMARU is not a genius. He is just a cheater who cheated women’s money in Singapore. He was a gigolo who worked in a club when he was in Singapore 2009. His mother’s name is Lee Ki Ok. His full name is Lee Ji Soo. And he still owed many Singaporean women money and not paid up till now. What the fuck genius was he but A CHEATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Link to this?

          • Wow I have known Jay for several years and he has never once tried to get money from me. He is a very good poker player and also a very smart man. I think this show is going to be a hit and I also think it will give a true look in to the lifestyle of the poker pro in Vegas. I am sure the show will also portray the “old style” players along with the newer ones. Poker is not like it was back in the days of Amarillo Slim. I wish Jay all the luck in his new venture and I hope he has the fame and fortune he deserves….

          • FOR GOD’S SAKE, JAY ISHIMARU is not a genius. He is just a cheater who cheated women’s money in Singapore. He was a gigolo who worked in a club when he was in Singapore 2009. His mother’s name is Lee Ki Ok. His full name is Lee Ji Soo. And he still owed many Singaporean women money and not paid up till now. What the fuck genius was he but A CHEATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Wow I have known Jay for several years and he has never once tried to get money from me. He is a very good poker player and also a very smart man. I think this show is going to be a hit and I also think it will give a true look in to the lifestyle of the poker pro in Vegas. I am sure the show will also portray the “old style” players along with the newer ones. Poker is not like it was back in the days of Amarillo Slim. I wish Jay all the luck in his new venture and I hope he has the fame and fortune he deserves..and oh by the way…I am a girl poker pro.

          • FOR GOD’S SAKE, JAY ISHIMARU is not a genius. He is just a cheater who cheated women’s money in Singapore. He was a gigolo who worked in a club when he was in Singapore 2009. His mother’s name is Lee Ki Ok. His full name is Lee Ji Soo. And he still owed many Singaporean women money and not paid up till now. What the fuck genius was he but A CHEATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            “Jays a cheater”, says cheaterjay. mmm

          • It’s real, real bad.

            Mentioning Doyle’s appearance on the show goes against his own tweets about not being aware of the show Monday.

          • For a second, i thought Psy from gangnam style fame was doing a tv show before I read the article. Johnny Chan the original gangnam style master?

          • I assume if this gets picked up, they’ll get a budget so they can find a better place to play than Johnny’s dining room table, and better chips than the Walmart dice chips?

          • To serious poker players it looks ridiculous. I’m all for anything that might attract new players though. As a community we should be embracing ventures that could potentially increase interest for the game. Especially at a time when the poker economy needs some type of jolt (however absurd it may be)

            +1

          • Isnt he the one who pays like $400 ea for his t-shirts?..Besides being Johnny Chan, thats all I know about him…Show will probably be cool with regular annoying spots…In the trailer some cat named chico kisses a full grown large man (x-man) in a dress, dont care for all that really…

            The openin scene with Johnny coming down the stairs must have takin 3 days to shoot..Im SURE the movie people were reminded of the stallone challenges when they filmed the first Rocky movie..

            Oh and Johnny, Your not the most popular player in the world, in case you think you are…there will never be a most popular player in the world, except Ivey or Doyle…

          • Wow what a great idea for a show. This should be an instant success !!! I play poker professionally and it amazes me the different type of players you see on the table.I think this show will give the wanna be players or anyone else interested in poker the ability to view the different lifestyles of a professional poker player whether it be a young internet pro or a 70 year old “old style” pro. Jay you were brilliant to come up with this show and I wish you all the fame and fortune you deserve !!!

          • Wow what a great idea for a show. This should be an instant success !!! I play poker professionally and it amazes me the different type of players you see on the table.I think this show will give the wanna be players or anyone else interested in poker the ability to view the different lifestyles of a professional poker player whether it be a young internet pro or a 70 year old “old style” pro. Jay you were brilliant to come up with this show and I wish you all the fame and fortune you deserve !!!

            Hi Jay.

          • Doyle and Johnny Chan in the same show will appeal to the masses. I thought for sure this was a level when I saw the YouTube video earlier today, but after talking with the show’s producer, this seems to have a legit chance of succeeding.

            highly, highly, HIGHLY doubt this ever makes it on tv. i can’t even imagine Spike airing something this shitty.