The Game Show Network (GSN) announced last week that it is going to televise the first high stakes, real money poker games on TV. High Stakes Poker will pit famous players against each other for hundreds of thousands of dollars - of their own money. They will play for a minimum buy-in of $100,000. The series is set to premiere on January 16, 2006 at 9 PM Eastern time.
In the televised poker tournaments , the most each entrant risks is his or her original buy-in, usually $10,000 for the biggest tourneys, but often considerably less. ESPN, for example, televised all of the World Series events from this summer, some of which had buy-ins of $1,000 or $2,000. High Stakes Poker is different. Participants will play for cash, risking huge sums on every hand. “High Stakes Poker is groundbreaking in that it is the first-ever look into the biggest private no limit Holdem cash games in town,” said Rich Cronin, President and CEO of GSN. “This show is intense because players are winning and losing hundreds of thousands of their own dollars on single hands.”
Cash games test the mettle, and the bankroll, of every participant. They also require different strategies from those employed in tournaments, as each player can buy more chips any time he or she runs low. High Stakes Poker represents a great opportunity for observant viewers to improve their game, by watching some of the best compete against each other for huge sums of real money. The all-star line up includes the legendary Doyle Brunson, author of SuperSystem - considered by many to be the bible of poker, Johnny Chan, who with 10 WSOP bracelets is tied with Doyle for the most all-time WSOP wins, Barry Greenstein, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu . Competing against these players are world-class opponents Jennifer Harman, Freddy Deeb, Daniel Alaei, Mimi Tran, Sam Farha, Ted Forrest, Antonio Esfandiari, famed Las Vegas entrepreneur Bob Stupak, and Dr.Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and a frequent player in many of the highest stakes games spread in that city and elsewhere.“For the first time ever in the history of poker on television, viewers will see players playing with very large amounts of their own money,” said High Stakes Poker’s Executive Producer, Henry Orenstein. “This is what makes it exciting, the players can win huge pots that are worth nearly a half million dollars.”
Covering the action will be AJ Benza and Gabe Kaplan. Benza will host the series, with Kaplan, a world class poker player and star of TV’s “Welcome Back, Kotter” providing commentary and analysis. An actor himself, Benza has hosted a variety of television shows. The series’ 13 episodes were taped at the Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Las Vegas.