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New Poker Television Show Coming to NBC

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Jul/23/2009

Not enough poker on TV?

NBC apparently thinks so.

That's why the American television network will premiere a new TV show about poker next week.

Called "Face the Ace," the new program won't be endless rounds of tournament participants playing no-limit Texas hold ‘em, as is ubiquitous on cable.

Instead, the reality-type show will take members of the public and put them up against top poker pros, in poker competition that could win a member of the public $1 million.

According to a press release from NBC, the show, "gives contestants the opportunity to compete against as many as three different top professional poker players on national television for the chance to win $1 million. The unique format of the show incorporates the entertainment of a traditional game show, the drama of a reality show and the tension of a high-stakes poker match. The series will premiere on Saturday, August 1, 2009,? at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, with back-to-back Saturday primetime shows and continue its seven- episode run on Saturday afternoons beginning in September."

The show will be hosted by Steve Schirripa, best known for his portrayal of a mobster on the hit TV show "The Sopranos."

Schirripa is quoted in the press release saying, "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 chance at winning life-changing money."

According to the release, the premise of the show is this: "Contestants will select a pro from behind four smoked-glass doors and the contestant and the pro will play heads-up no limit Texas hold'em for $40,000. If the contestant wins, he can keep the $40,000 or play a different pro for $200,000. If the contestant wins the second match, he can keep the $200,000 or play a third pro for $1,000,000. Win a third match and they take home $1 million. If the contestant loses at any point, he walks away with nothing."

The release also notes that 15 poker pros have been selected to participate in the show: Patrik Antonius, Andy Bloch, Allen Cunningham, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Phil Gordon, Gus "The Great Dane" Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Phil "Poison" Ivey, John Juanda, Howard "The Professor" Lederer, Erick Lindgren, Mike "The Mouth" Matusow, Huck Seed, Erik Seidel and Gavin Smith.

Collectively, the release adds, the 15 pros have won 41 World Series of Poker (WSOP) championship gold bracelets and almost $100 million in live tournament winnings.

Although poker is everywhere on cable television, it's not so apparent on broadcast TV-with the exception of NBC. Besides "Face the Ace," NBC currently airs "Poker After Dark" on most week nights and annually airs the made-for-TV poker compeitition the "National Heads-Up Poker Championship."

And NBC even featured a poker player-Annie Duke-on three of its other programs: the reality show "Celebrity Apprentice," the game show "Deal or No Deal" and the now-cancelled drama "Las Vegas."

Thomas Somach, www.pokerhelper.com

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