What if you took four online poker players, sent them to Las Vegas to live like high-rolling kings and tasked them with the goal of winning $2 million in two months? I’ll admit, it’s a “what if” scenario I’ve never actually contemplated. But thanks to the new G4 reality series “Two Months. Two Million,” it’s one with which we’re all now confronted.
Emil “Whiteline” Patel, Jay “Krantz” Rosenkrantz, Brian “Flawless_Victory” Roberts and Dani “Ansky” Stern—all in their 20s—have won and lost millions in the fast-growing world of online poker tournaments. Unlike the colorful, old-school poker pros of yesteryear (does the name Doyle Brunson ring a bell?), these are cocky Internet frat boys with chips on their shoulders and negligible people skills. The quartet have pooled their resources, taken over a 10,000 square-foot mansion in Las Vegas and adopted a “win big or go home” mantra. The house (most likely furnished by the producers of “Two Months. Two Million.”) is your typical crazy “Real World” / “Big Brother” manse filled with cameras and tchotchkes. There’s a “War Room,” where the players log on to the Internet and wait for victims to play poker against (more on that later). There’s also a “Tilt Room” where frustrated players can go to smack watermelons and heads of lettuce with baseball bats (sure, why not?)
If our four hotshot nerds aren’t bothering to play poker in the real world, it’s not exactly clear what they’re doing in Vegas—other than hitting on hotties at the pool and running up $5,000 bar tabs. Watching people play poker in real life is not all that interesting—although shows like “Celebrity Poker Showdown” have managed to build a bit of weekly drama around it. Watching people sit at computer terminals and play video poker is less than not all that interesting. “2M2MM” (as the network calls it) tries to make up for it with some enforced wackiness. For example, the player with the lowest win percentage each week is forced to perform some embarrassing stunt (wearing a tutu to an expensive restaurant or playing a musical instrument on the Strip for spare change).
Despite its flaws, “2M2MM” has a certain televisual appeal. The boys, geeky and awkward even in their bravado, are somewhat endearing. Their complete disregard for the concept of money—callously dumping thousands each day and building up those insane bar tabs—is maddening and curious, but never actually boring.
The show also does a reasonably good job of straddling the line between casual viewer and serious online poker enthusiast. The basics are explained, the money is tracked, the lingo is spewed forth, yet it’s leavened with plenty of bikini babe shots and minor dustups between major players for the non-Texas Hold ’Em literate in the audience. At the end of the day, I guess it’s just entertaining to watch someone else get drunk, act dumb and lose money in Las Vegas.