At first glance The Micros is yet another Xtranormal creation, the likes of which are often slapped together hastily to run some topical banter about subject du jour. But a closer look here finds a skillfully crafted animated comedy web series that dives deep into the world of online poker. So deep it struck a chord with poker nerds, raking in just under 1 million views on its 5 episodes so far.
Created by Jay “KRANTZ” Rosenkrantz and John “JimmyLegs” Wray, The Micros doesn’t come as a primer, and much like other niche web comedies like RPG gamer GOLD or MMO-junkie The Guild, assumes a level of aptitude with the lexicon it plays in. The series borrows its name from the nickname for the low-stakes tables in online poker matches.
The pilots episode (below) launched back in November broke out, now with over 230,000 views, netting the series a sponsorship deal from FullTiltPoker.com by the second. Donovan Oakleaf, Kristin Aldrich, Nathan Baker and Jeff Cannata voice the lovable characters, a tight knit cadre of poker junkies, dropping lines like “I’ve been grinding the micros for seven or eight months now,” and “I already hit my target number of hands for the day, now I’m just 20-tabling to cool down.”
Authenticity is an all-too-overused word in online video, but it seems apt for this series, both creators are about as leveled up as you can be in the poker without a WSOP bracelet. Rosenkrantz runs a membership-based poker instruction site called DeucesCracked that coaches players making the leap from home game donkey to tourney regular. Wray (JimmyLegs) also coaches poker, through CardRunners, where he made their 2010 team.
If there’s one complaint from fans so far, it’s the slow release schedule, something that might be holding this series back from further breakout. The Poker world is still giving it the benefit of the doubt, as the animated format doesn’t exactly lead to a fast turnaround on 10-minute episodes. A recent feature in Bluff Magazine promises a grand prize of a cameo in the next episode of The Micros, which incidentally is a bigger prize than an iPad.
As for the sponsorship, it’s not certain whether Full Tilt will reamin on board given its recent shut down by US authorities. This has led to a bit of a liquidity problem for the online poker site, which is supposed to return $150,000,000 in deposits to US players. Poker star Phil Ivey, a longtime Full Tilt sponsored player, is suing the company and sitting out the 2011 WSOP while this gets sorted out.