It was months ago that the idea of Face the Ace was presented to the poker community as a prime time NBC television show to be broadcast in the fall of 2009. And the time has finally come for the show to begin airing on Saturday, August 1. All accounts from poker pros who participated in the tapings of the show indicate that it was exciting to record and should be just as exciting to watch.
The host of Face the Ace is Steve Shirripa, who most people remember from the hit show “The Sopranos.” He walks contestants through the game show that allows them to compete against professional poker players for the chance to win $1 million. A player starts by selecting a poker pro - an Ace - from behind a secret door, and the pro is revealed so the two can play a game of heads-up no-limit hold’em for $40,000. If the contestant wins the round, he or she chooses whether to keep the $40K or play a new pro for $200K. If the player happens to move on and win the second round, the same dilemma arises as to whether to keep the $200K or play one more pro for the chance to win $1 million or lose it all.
The pros were selected from a group of Full Tilt Poker team members, all of whom are playing to win themselves, as a win against the contestant garners $10,000 for the charity of their choice. The players on the list included Patrik Antonius, Andy Bloch, Allen Cunningham, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, Gus Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Howard Lederer, Erick Lindgren, Mike Matusow, Huck Seed, Erik Seidel, and Gavin Smith.
Schirripa discussed the show: “Most people don’t get to compete against their favorite athletes in sports like football or basketball. This show gives contestants an incomparable opportunity to test their skills against some of the best poker players in the world. The same people they’ve read about or have watched on TV are the ones they have to defeat for [the] chance at winning life-changing money.”
Along with Shirripa, the show will boast of Ali Nejad of Poker After Dark fame as the tournament director and commentator and Megan Abrigo, one of the models on Deal or No Deal, as the hostess. The show is produced by Poker PROductions, the company that handles the production of Poker After Dark, which is also an NBC television show.
The NBC premiere on Saturday, August 1, will air in a one-hour time slot beginning at 9pm ET. The second episode will be exactly one week later on August 8, after which there will be more than a month of hiatus, presumably to analyze the viewership and popularity of the show, before it resumes on September 12 at 2pm ET. Again, there will be a break before the next episode on October 31 at 3:30pm ET. The last episodes will air on November 14, December 12, 2009, and January 2, 2010.