Kevin Hart & Kid Poker: Which one is the sidekick?
When you put the most famous man in comedy together with the most famous man in poker...which one is the sidekick?
It was Daniel Negreanu's BET debut.
The six-time WSOP bracelet winner has been on big productions like Katy Perry's "Waking up in Vegas" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," but he never made it to BET until he walked the red carpet of Kevin Hart's "Laugh Out Loud Network" launch party.
Bill Perkins, the hedge fund manager, prop bet enthusiast and poker player, walked the red carpet first and was drawn to the BET cameras. Negreanu was next to go and Perkins dragged him in. The two players chatted and laughed at the potentially revolutionary party.
The Laugh Out Loud Network aims to bring comedy to the masses, the mobile masses. They called it the biggest disruptor in comedy. Television viewership has steadily dropped, replaced by screens like the ones you're reading this on. Lions Gate Entertainment's CEO, Jon Fletheimer, said TV viewership for 18 to 24-year-olds has dropped 50 percent over the past six years and the LOL Network aims to get the viewers where they're at.
Poker has followed a similar trend. It moved from the felt to the computer --depending on local regulations-- to the phone. It changed the game and everyone who played it. Negreanu rode the crest of that wave. He was the young, loud-mouthed Kid Poker at the brick-and-mortar casino and had this crazy thing called a "blog." Negreanu allied himself with the largest poker site in the world and became the most recognized poker player in the world, breaking the barrier into Hollywood movies and music videos.
Now he wants to help move the game forward again, this time by engaging amateurs, fans, and maybe some new audiences. He wants to disrupt how people follow tournaments. As Hart debuted his newest comedy venture, Negreanu spoke about his ideas for poker.
He's on Poker Go, using his star power to try and push the channel into new homes. He's offering polls on Twitter and getting fans to interact. He wants to up the YouTube game, have daily videos with professionals helping amateurs analyze hands they played that day. He wants to find ways for players to gamble on the field and get more involved.
Negreanu wants to make poker fun again.
He truly is the Jackie Chan to Kevin Hart's Chris Tucker. The two men are known by many, similar in height, and dedicated to their craft. The pair showed up to the launch party in bright suits. Negreanu's was blue with a jet-black shirt. Hart's was a deep red with a bright white shirt. Together they made the colors of the American flag with enough color left over for a PokerStars logo. They've both struggled and fought their way to the top of their respective worlds and now those two worlds are colliding. Hart's been at the poker table in the Bahamas and Monaco, and now Negreanu's popping up at Hollywood parties.
Their full potential has yet to be revealed. We've basically only seen the opening credits of Rush Hour. We still have the full movie and two sequels to go before we see how crazy this thing can get.
Poker, like comedy, is fun, and people want to be a part of it.
Alex Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog. Photos by MOVI Inc.