Cash Poker, from Ultimate Poker Challenge's producer, has the same basic strengths and weaknesses as High Stakes Poker, but it's not quite as polished. Its primary strength is that it's real poker, which I and many others prefer to tournament poker (the latter is also massively over-represented on TV). Cash Poker's primary weakness is that they don't show all the hole cards. The show is well worth watching and I give it four stars.
I've grown to like Chad Brown, who also hosts Ultimate Poker Challenge, more over time, and consider him to be a competent announcer. I really enjoy it when he's paired with a top-flight co-host like Barry Greenstein. Cash Poker does a reasonable job of combining commentary and table talk, but this isn't one of the few shows where you can hear everything (e.g. Celebrity Poker Showdown and the World Poker Tour); perhaps that's impossible to achieve at a full table. Serinda does brief player interviews, which vary in quality: some are useful, while others display an embarrassing lack of poker knowledge. The UPC's eye candy, Brandi, is also present on this show, but I don't think she adds anything to either show.
Cash Poker isn't as polished and beautiful as High Stakes Poker. It lacks that show's beautiful sets and stunning cocktail waitresses. Its stakes are lower than High Stakes Poker, and it doesn't have as high a proportion of superstar players. Cash Poker's onscreen graphics are small and hard to read compared with other shows. The audio quality is poor, with constant bothersome background noise. The hand of the day and player of the day segments are a waste of time that could be spent showing more hands.
The major flaw of the show, though, is that they don't show all the hole cards. You won't learn much about preflop hand selection or playing styles here. They do show some of the unplayed hole cards, but their choices seem to be arbitrary, and they use hole-card video rather than onscreen graphics. If Cash Poker wants to move into the top rank of poker shows they're going to have to adopt the best practice in hole-card displays: showing all of them at the beginning of each hand, as Poker Dome does. Actually, even Poker Dome could be improved upon: they should indicated the button and the blinds, and arrange the cards around the screen according to the players' actual seating positions. In a previous post I wrote about a new technology that claims to reduce production costs by generating hole-card graphics in real time. Hopefully such technology will make the best practice in hole-card displays more common in the future.
There are no pot size graphics on Cash Poker, a major flaw which makes it harder to follow the action. They also seem to show a very small percentage of the hands.
Overall, I heartily recommend Cash Poker: I'm glad to see more real poker shown on TV. I'd like to see them make a few improvements, such as showing all the hole cards at the beginning of the hand, improving the clarity of the graphics, and adding a pot-size graphic. If they made those improvements Cash Poker would vie with the best poker shows on TV.