Face the Ace

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Face the Ace TV Poster Image
Tedious gambling game show pits amateurs against poker pros.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show promotes the game of poker without discussing the potential impact of losing money. Speaking of money, with $1 million on the line, the contestants are definitely swayed by game show greed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The series celebrates the professional poker players, essentially endorsing gambling as a career option.

Violence
Sex

The show features an attractive woman in a skimpy dress with little obvious job besides fielding flirtatious -- and sometimes suggestive -- comments from the host and contestants.

Language
Consumerism

The series heavily promotes the online gambling site FullTiltPoker.net. The pro players’ shirts all feature its logo, and contestants must play at the site to qualify for the show. Several well-known Las Vegas hotels and casinos are also mentioned by name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this game show -- which pits amateur poker players against top professionals in a series of one-on-one matchups for a potential $1 million prize -- doesn't have much in the way of swearing, drinking, or sex, its focus on gambling (it makes professional poker seem like a glamorous career option) makes it more appropriate for older viewers. The show also heavily promotes the online gambling site FullTiltPoker.com.

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What's the story?

Amateur poker players get the chance to FACE THE ACE in this game show, where contestants can win up to $1 million if they manage to beat a world-class professional gambler. Steve Schirripa hosts the show, but most of the action is focused on the green felt table where the two players go head-to-head.

Is it any good?

The contestants are amateurs, but they're not novices; they know what they're doing, and the game moves quickly enough. Expert commentators explain the action, though they don’t explain the rules or much of the strategy -- this isn’t a show for people who aren't already well-versed in the tactics of Texas Hold ‘Em. The problem is that poker doesn’t make for a great spectator sport. There’s not much to see, and the chit chat between the players as they size each other up is banal at best.

Schirripa is even more of a distraction. He’s affable, but his introductory comments are inane and annoying. The poker pros are good spirited, but they’re playing below their level, and they don’t seem to have much interest in the game at hand. The only people who would really have much interest in this game show are the contestants, since they're the ones with the chance to win money.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about gambling. Do you think poker is a game of skill or chance? Why do you think so many TV shows and movies make gambling seem exciting and fun? What side of gambling is more common, winning or losing?

  • Skilled poker players can win huge sums of money. Does that sound like a fun job? What would it take to become a poker pro? Do you think other people lose a lot of money trying to make it to the top tier of the game?

TV details

For kids who love games

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