Renovating and filling houses

I have been renovating an old house in Tuscany, which has been an ongoing project. Right now I've been focused on the reality television show with which I participated earlier this year, "La Casa degli Assi," which is now airing on Italian television.

I wrote a little about the show in my last post, but I wanted to talk more about it and what some of the reaction has been now that it has begun to air.

The show was quite an exciting experience and I was glad to have been involved. This marks the first time this kind of television show has been produced in Italy. "La Casa degli Assi" is meant to describe for a wide audience the journey of non-professional poker players -- newbies, you might say -- as they go from being novices to learning more about strategy and the mechanics of poker.

Previous poker shows were based on the professional tours and only showed players who already knew the game, but in this case what is being shown is amateur players learning the game. One challenge of creating the show was to make that process interesting to follow.

I was involved with the show in a couple of ways. My main role was to help select participants for the show, and so I had to assume the perspective of a TV producer and think about how viewers would react to certain people and their personalities. Would they like them? Would they identify with them? Would they enjoy watching them learning and developing as players?


I had to look for people who would be interesting as personalities and who also seemed like they would help convey a message of the show which was to demonstrate how poker is a game that requires study and rewards skill. The learning process had to be clear to the viewer, and so participants had to be chosen who seemed as though they'd be best suited not only as learners but as people who would be interesting to watch learn, too.

So I picked people who had personality but who also were all fast learners and would hopefully be able to pick up the game and thereby demonstrate that learning process. Picking people who would work well together was also important.

We additionally wanted to get across how fun and interesting a game poker is, too -- and not just to pros -- and so that was something we had in mind as well when selecting participants. We found some great people, and they did an effective job helping us to convey those ideas to a mainstream audience.

That was the bulk of my involvement with the show -- the selection process -- although I was part of the show, too, in a small way. The first couple of episodes in the series actually showed the selections being made, and I was therefore shown putting the participants into some difficult situations and even making them uncomfortable to see how they would behave and react. It was quite funny to watch, while also being a good way both to help select participants and to introduce them to the audience, too.

Luca Pagano and Alberto Russo, who do a lot of commentary for the Italian Poker Tour and other shows, were involved in "La Casa degli Assi," too. Alberto was the poker coach while Luca was the director of the house.

The first run has already been shown on Italia 2, and the response was very positive. The show is being shown on Italia 1 which has a bigger audience. The decision was made to rerun it on the larger network thanks to the success and good response to its first airing, which is very gratifying.

It has been fun to be involved in the making of a television show -- both behind the scenes and even on camera a little -- although more importantly I'm glad to have been involved in a program that is helping promote poker to a wider audience.

Pier Paolo Fabretti is a member of Team PokerStars Pro