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Poker News | World Poker News

PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge Debuts October 11 on Fox

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The fall of 2009 brought several new poker productions to television, but one of the most anticipated will premiere on Fox on October 11. The PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge will pit contestants against celebrities and sports stars as well as numerous poker pros, including fan-favorite poker pro Daniel Negreanu, for prizes and cash. One million dollars is at stake for each contestant, and the excitement of average players competing for such high stakes looks to provide entertaining television.

Taping has already begun in preparation for the October 11th premiere, and contestants were able to secure their places on the show by winning free qualifiers on, then submitting 60-second videos for the selection process. Winners received roundtrip airfare to Los Angeles, as well as accommodations, for themselves and two friends. That was the easy part.

Once on the set of the PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge, the contestant sat down to play Round 1, which consisted of a heads-up no-limit hold’em poker match against a celebrity like Playboy Playmate Jayde Nicole or sports stars like football legend Jerome Bettis or MMA champion Tito Ortiz. During that round, Negreanu would act as a coach and be seated directly next to the player. Winning that match awarded the player a trip to the Bahamas in January of 2010 for the Caribbean Adventure tournament and sent the contestant to Round 2 to pit him or her against a Team PokerStars Pro like Chris Moneymaker, Barry Greenstein, or Vanessa Rousso. Negreanu would be in an isolation booth for that match and be able to offer some advice, albeit more limited than in the previous round. For each of the first two rounds that a contestant may win, PokerStars will donate $10,000 to the charity of Negreanu’s choice.

Should the contestant win both of those rounds, the next two would be an even greater task. First, the contestant would be given the choice of walking away with $25,000 or putting it all at risk to win $100,000 in Round 3 or walk away with nothing. And Round 3 would consist of playing against, and no longer with the help of, Negreanu. Winning that match presented another challenge: take the $100,000 or risk it for the chance at $1 million for winning Round 4, another heads-up match against Negreanu.  

An interesting aspect is the introduction of charitable donations to the mix. For each of the first two rounds that a contestant may win, PokerStars will donate $10,000 to the charity of Negreanu’s choice. If the celebrity in Round 1 wins, they earn $5,000 for their pet charity, and if the PokerStars Pro wins Round 2, he or she will receive $10,000 for their charity. Everyone wins.

Negreanu commented on the production, “I’m thrilled to be part of this show. I love the concept and I know that it will be packed with great poker and all the bells and whistles, hip graphics and drama that FOX is known for.”

The premiere episode of PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge will air on Sunday, October 11 after the NFL on Fox Sports. The second episode will follow on October 18, the third on November 22, fourth on December 13, and the final episode of the first series will air on December 27. Local listings and the end of the NFL games will determine the exact start times.

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