Poker Innovator and Toy Creator Henry Orenstein Dies Aged 98

Stack of Red Poker Chips Against Black BackgroundHave you ever watched a poker tournament on TV or online and marvelled at the ‘under the table’ camera, which allows you to see the hole cards of the players?

The man who invented that, Henry Orenstein, died this week at the age of 98, and it’s fair to say he had a diverse life of creating all manner of innovations and trends.

It’s not beyond the pale to suggest that the Polish-American completely reinvented poker, introducing a whole new generation to poker with his brainwave, which improved the production values of televised poker beyond all recognition – it wasn’t long before some of the world’s most prominent broadcasters were utilising Orenstein’s patented idea.

Interviewed back in 2012, Orenstein said: “It was about 30 years ago, maybe 1981 or ’82. They had a poker show on ESPN and there were six hands in a row where the player didn’t call the bet, so we couldn’t see what happened! I was sitting there for 10 minutes and I couldn’t see anything. It was boring.

“And then suddenly, the thought struck me that if we put a camera in [the table], and we were able to see the pros’ cards, that that would make the thing much more interesting. So I called my engineers in, and within about four weeks we had a working model. I got the patent around ’84, ’85.”

It would still take the best part of two decades for the technology to be implemented, with the World Poker Tour introducing hole card cam via their deal with the Travel Channel back in 2002. A year later, ESPN had weighed in to poker broadcasting, and with the World Series of Poker Main Event, the under-the-table camera had become a regular fixture.

Orenstein was a vaunted poker player himself, and the legendary Phil Hellmuth paid tribute to a man who survived the holocaust to change the face of poker forever – still finding time to invent the Transformers toy brand too.

888poker Confirms Return of LIVE Festival in London

London Sunset

It might not be televised, but 888poker has confirmed that their LIVE Festival will return early on in 2022.

Hosted by Grosvenor’s Victoria Casino in London, the action will kick off on January 6 and run all the way through to the 17th. There will be a number of tournaments, cash games and other contests throughout the 12-day event, which will feature 888’s unique ‘shot clock’ in an attempt to speed up play.

There will be a number of satellite tournaments leading up to the festival, with buy-ins from as little as £0.10. Or you can book your seat directly in the £40 qualifier, via which you can reach the £444 Opening Event.