Longtime poker fans will wax poetically about High Stakes Poker. The televised cash game known for massive stakes with some of the biggest names in poker holds a special place for most poker fans. Part of that lore comes with the longstanding presence of Gabe Kaplan as one of the commentators.
That relationship seemed to screech to a halt after Kaplan somewhat awkwardly and abruptly announced he was done with the show during the Season 10 premiere of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO.
After mentioning to co-host A.J. Benza that he had only played with one of the seven players on the episode, Kaplan seemingly threw in the towel on his time in the booth.
“High Stakes Poker needs someone that knows these players and knows how they play. And I don’t think I’ve got it anymore. I don’t think that I know how any of these players play, never played with them,” Kaplan said.
“This is not a bit, you’re serious?,” Benza asked.
“No, I am serious. I think – Mori is looking at me – don’t you think you’re better with somebody who knows all these guys? Ten seasons is enough for me,” Kaplan replied, invoking PokerGO President and High Stakes Poker director and producer, Mori Eskandani.
“Oh come on – wow,” Benza replied.
“You got AJ. You get somebody else, somebody that knows all these players,” Kaplan said, seemingly still talking to Eskandani.
“So you’re done? You’re saying that?,” Benza said.
“Yeah, because if I retire on air, he can’t tell me anything,” Kaplan said.
PokerGO confirmed Kaplan’s departure, calling it a retirement from poker broadcasting, Wednesday afternoon in a press release.
“I had a blast doing High Stakes Poker, but the time has come for me to hang it up and empty my locker,” Kaplan said in the press release. “I want to thank A.J., Mori and all the staff, players, dealers, and viewers. We had sixteen years of good times and now memories.”
Kaplan worked alongside Benza for the first five seasons of High Stakes Poker when it ran on Game Show Network. He worked one season with Kara Scott before being replaced by Norm MacDonald for Season 7. Kaplan and Benza reunited in Season 8 when PokerGO assumed ownership of the show and made it a staple of their streaming content.
“Gabe’s impact on the poker world is nothing short of legendary,” said Eskandani,
President of PokerGO. “His genuine and unmatched enthusiasm for the game was evident from the first day of filming and never wavered in the more than 100 episodes that Gabe was a part of. He brought the world of high-stakes poker into millions of homes worldwide and did so by seamlessly intertwining his one-of-a-kind comedic wit and expansive knowledge of the game. Without Gabe, High Stakes Poker wouldn’t have reached the incredible heights it has achieved. Gabe will be greatly missed, and we wish him nothing but the best in retirement.”
PokerGO plans to announce Kaplan’s replacement next week before the second episode of the season airs.