Will NBC’s new poker reality TV series, “Face the Ace,” help to increase poker’s reputation as an enormously popular worldwide sport embraced by young and old alike? Or can the association with reality television — best known for celebrating immature on-screen behavior and whiny D-list celebrities — actually hurt poker’s hard-won reputation as a respectable sport?

At any rate, the show’s management seems to have made a smart choice in casting their host. Steve Schirripa is best known for co-starring on the groundbreaking, hugely popular HBO show The Sopranos, and his cigar-smoking, tough-guy mafia persona is likely to have lots of cross-over appeal with the poker crowd.

Hopefully that’ll be enough to keep the proceedings respectable. We’ll all find out in a week — the show debuts on August 1.