The first time I watched Dead Money, PokerGO’s original series following Matt Berkey’s preparation for the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl, I thought, “Man, this is a lot like Hard Knocks.”
Last night, while watching the first Hard Knocks episode of the season, HBO and NFL Films joint venture that will follow the Tampa Bay Buccaneers through the 2017 preseason, I thought, “Man, this is a lot like Dead Money.”
Both series use a reality-documentary style to give fans unprecedented and never-before-seen access to the show’s respective training camps.
Dead Money picks up Berkey’s journey just over a month out from the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl. His team, which includes poker professionals Jordan Young, Christian Soto and Brian Lamanna, set up shop in Pittsburgh to prepare for the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Dead Money also puts viewers in the thick of the action, and Berkey’s thought processes, with running coverage of the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl.
While Dead Money focuses on one character, Hard Knocks follows the entire Buccaneers team through training camp and preseason. Although, after one episode, it is clear that Jameis Winston, the Bucs quarterback, leader, best player, former Heisman winner and face of the franchise, will be the main focal point throughout the course of the season.
In the opening episode, Winston goes back to his childhood home, pretends to be the “Crocodile Hunter,” lifts weights and laughs, a lot. Linebacker Gerald McCoy also shows up to training camp in a kimono, Snoop Dog makes a cameo appearance and as I learned last night, DeSean Jackson is still in the NFL.
For the most part, like their cheerful leader Jameis Winston, the Buccaneers are young, inexperienced and will likely be forced to punch well above their weight class if they want to make a run to the playoffs or Super Bowl LII. The same was likely said about Matt Berkey prior to the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl and then he finished 5th for a $1,100,000 score.
Does that mean the Buccaneers are destined for similar success this year? We will have to wait and see but until then, relive Berkey’s run to the 2016 final table exclusively on PokerGO and stay tuned to poker’s premier subscription platform for next week’s anticipated return of “Poker After Dark.”