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Fox Raises Stake In Poker

Fox Sports Net is still betting on the televised poker craze, launching a new 26-week instructional poker series beginning next month. Presents: Learn From The Pros will premiere Tuesday, Sept. 27, then air new episodes every Sunday at 4:30 p.m. with repeats Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

The half-hour show will be hosted by Best Damn Sports Show Period host Chris Rose and poker pro Howard Lederer.

Each episode, which FSN Executive VP of Programming and Production George Greenberg hopes could end up as a DVD set, will include pros breaking down one specific strategy.

The first episode will focus on when a player should bet all of their chips ("going all in" in poker parlance).

As for poker on TV, Greenberg says that not only are ratings on his network and others (including ESPN, Travel Channel and Bravo) still strong, but he expects poker to have three-to-five more years as a programming product.

"It’s like watching golf, you not only enjoy the competition, but you also can glean something for the next time you play."

But one person Greenberg still needs to convince is Bob Costas, who recently blasted televised poker on his HBO show, saying it has "all the pageantry and magic of Saturday night at my Uncle Murray’s basement."

Responding to the comments, Greenberg points out that NBC, one of Costas’ employers, programmed poker on Super Bowl Sunday when CBS had the game in 2004.

"Bob is entitled to his opinion, but it seems there are a lot of people that would disagree with him. He has done a lot of events that are really the most high-quality events in the world, but that is no reason to take a cheap shot at a very interesting genre of programming.