The Poker Channel is the world’s first television channel dedicated purely to the game of poker. Launched initially in the UK on 23rd March 2005. The Poker Channel provides coverage of both pre-recorded and live action of major poker tournaments from across the globe as well as coverage of major online tournaments where online poker players compete against each another in front of a TV audience of millions. Not content with merely showing poker action, The Poker Channel also commissions series that explore the grass roots of poker and gets under the skin of both the game and it’s players by showing the viewers the various angles of the game, both from a human perspective and from observing and learning the skills of the game.
The Channel now broadcasts poker meetups throughout Europe. In Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland the channel is available on channel 94, on the regions’ largest digital satellite network Canal Digital. In France the channel appears on Noos Numericable (channels 48 and 95 respectively) and Free (channel 65); in Germany on Kabel Deutschland, Kabel BW, Unity Media and Wilhelm Tel; in Belgium on BeTV; and in Spain on Imagenio.
What the BPO lured top players over from the US whom had not played in the UK before, such as the current World Poker Champion Greg Raymer, Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey and Howard Lederer and this in turn brought the BPO further exposure.
The inaugural BPO was eventually won by Adam Dujmovic, a semi-professional from Chicago whom after qualifying for the tournament online, collected a prize just shy of 100,000 pounds.
The success of the BPO 2005 inevitably bought along the BPO 2006 a year later. The 2006 version had a pot of 100,000 pounds to be won over 6 heats and a final. Noah Boeken collected around 56,000 pounds.
Poker Million II returned in 2003. Snooker-player Jimmy White won the $150,000 first prize. The final was played under the Texas hold 'em rules and broadcast live on Sky Sports 1. All cards were visible via cameras placed underneath glass panels on the tables, and the players were wired to a heart monitor, so that viewers could see the top players' strategies and how relaxed or nervous they really were.
Seventy-two poker professionals played the 2004 Poker Million III, competing for the $300,000 first prize. The tournament counted snookers stars Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams and 2003 winner Jimmy White, rugby World Cup star Mike Tindall and sports celebrities Tony Cascarino and Phil Taylor. Half of the 2004 players had qualified online via Ladbrokes Poker, marking the progress of the online qualifiers.
$855,000 were added in the prize pool by Ladbrokes for the Poker Million IV, and there was a guaranteed first prize of $1,000,000. Sixty-six of the finalists qualified online. Tony Jones, who started the evening as an 8/1 outsider, beat TV celebrity Helen Chamberlain.