YouTube has given birth to a fair number of overnight successes, but few would have expected a story about poker geeks to be one of them. Yet The Micros, a miniseries that debuted last December, opened to over 93,000 views and a horde of positive comments. Now with its fourth episode under way, it’s set to reach new heights in the worlds of poker and animation.
The Micros was created by John Wray, an instructor on CardRunners.com, and Jay Rosenkrantz, founder of DeucesCracked.com. Both have previously worked in film production, so it was a small step to create the seven-minute pilot episode. What caught them and the rest of us by surprise is finding that there is an overlap between people who play poker online and appreciate quirky 3D characters. Wray and Rosenkrantz happened to be right on target.
The series revolves around three main characters: Chase Berger, a newbie who had a disgraceful $3.48 profit after playing 854,722 hands, and his two pals, Tommy Phuoc, a multi-tabler afraid to play higher stakes, and a Rose Ballenger, a risk-hungry player with no sense of bankroll management. All three are micro-stakes players, hence the name. In the first episode, SwedeTooth decides to join a MegaMillions tournament with $1.2 million at stake, pouring his bankroll of $203 into the buy-in. His friends both buy stakes.
Episode 2, a holiday special released in January, sees them gaining ground with a few lucky strokes and getting closer to big-league games. By this time The Micros had gained a steady following, strong enough to have the third episode sponsored by Full Tilt Poker. The gang finds itself on the Australian leg of the tournament in Episode 3, and the recently released fourth episode finds Chase squaring up against a real pro.
Because of the time required to animate on Xtranormal, a free online movie maker, Wray and Rosenkrantz are only able to produce an episode once a month. But future episodes are already being planned, including cameos from various poker celebrities. Fans have also pitched in with their own suggestions.
One thing’s for sure: more than a few poker sites have benefited from The Micros. The show has attracted new players at the micro-stakes level (including Texas Holdem), and nudged more experienced ones into playing higher stakes. Here’s a preview of the latest episode:
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