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  • DerekGMZ

Victory Poker Contest: The Reality Show That Almost Was

Updated: Sep 1, 2018

While randomly browsing the internet in the summer of 2010. I came across a poker reality show announcement. After following a few links I eventually found myself on Dan Fleyshman’s Victory Poker website. The fact that I stumbled upon a poker reality show, which did not require a $5,000 – $200,000 buy in, hit me hard with chills and excitement. They were offering sponsorship, $100,000 in tournament buy ins, furnished condo for a year, 2011 car, clothes, jewelry, among other little nuggets of awesomeness!

​The details. 33 players (25 selected from the video submissions) would live in a mansion for 2-3 weeks. In that time there would be one physical/lifestyle challenge and one poker challenge each day. Every day at least 2 players were going to be eliminated. Last player standing would receive the sponsorship and prizes. I would just have to submit a one minute video explaining why I should be considered a Victory Poker Pro.

That sounded simple enough, I can be a creative kind of guy. At the time there were only 2 or 3 videos posted and they were lackluster, just guys staring at the camera stating their case. I started brainstorming. I wanted to be doing something while talking to the camera. At the time, the very random old spice “I’m on a horse” commercial was really big. I thought about spoofing it, but I felt to really make it great, I was going to have to go all out with special effects and camera tricks. Not having the time or know-how in order to pull that off, I scratched that idea. So, on to the next. Remembering a few pranks from my childhood, I thought up the idea to sabotage the house of a person whom owed me money. I wanted to leave the reveal of what I was doing and why for the very last second of the video. With my always handy cousin, Gabriel, doing the camera work, we shot 3 minutes worth of footage. The hard part was editing it down to one minute, while making sure the dialogue still made sense. I had all the scenes and dialogue written down, but the one line that sticks out and happens to be the title of the video (the Victory guys named the videos ) was pure improv.

Shrimp Bomb!

If you didn’t catch it. That was Antonio Esfandiari welcoming me on the show! It started to sink in that I had made it on an actual reality show. On top of that it was centered around poker! Complete dreamville!

Quick notes about the video. There were two pranks cut from the video for time purposes. In one scene I was talking about my night life while injecting milk into pillows. In another I was talking about my athletic prowess while crushing light bulbs inside of socks. The latter was cut, more so, because I was crushing light bulbs inside of socks! That’s just rude. The shrimp bomb scene was much longer, as I had to cut a shot of me throwing a shrimp bomb over and behind the TV as if it were an actual grenade. Regrettably, before I could upload the extended version, my computer crashed and those scenes no longer exist.

(Here’s some links to the other more notable video submissions: Rob Coakley​, Joel Gaucher, Stacey Nutini, Joey Ingram, Daniel Stanzione, Kevin Boudreau.)

After getting all the logistics settled, Victory Poker informed us shooting would start in May of 2011. Unfortunately, the poker gods had other plans in mind. Poker’s Black Friday hit a month earlier on April 15th, 2011. Ultimately, funding for the show was dropped.

Huge bummer. Balloon deflated. Life set awry.

All in all, I’m still grateful for the opportunity to be apart of it. It was going to be the first poker reality show of its kind. For great things to happen, all the pieces have to fall into place and in this case the timing was off.

Sticking with the theme of Victory Poker, I added another video to the bottom of the page, because… well… enjoy.

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