Daniel Negreanu Discusses Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge
Kid Poker Talks About the Details of Poker’s Newest TV Show
Fighting back tears, Daniel Negreanu was surprised to realize how much he cared about the contestants’ results on PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge, a new poker TV show that premieres on Fox this Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET, following the National Football League.
“It really hit me hard. I almost cried at one point,” said Negreanu, the four-time bracelet winner who is the centerpiece of the show. “I found myself getting very emotional for the contestants. These are real people, and $25,000 to poker players doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but for someone who has bills piled up, it’s a big deal.”
Contestants can qualify for the show after they finish at the top of a freeroll tournament online on PokerStars and submit an audition tape. The selection process has already produced some colorful characters, including a Roman Catholic priest from South Carolina who will compete on the show in the hopes of earning enough money to finance the building of a new church.
“Even if I didn’t win any money, it would be an opportunity for people across the country to see that there are still young men choosing to be priests, and that one can be joy-filled and have fun as one serves God,” the 28-year-old Fr. Andrew Trapp told Catholic Online.
The new poker show will be of a game-show variety, complete with celebrities and special features.
“It should be understood that it’s a game show first and a poker show second,” said Negreanu. “A lot of people involved are game-show people, and it’s designed to attract a new audience to poker.”
The promo video that PokerStars released (embedded at the bottom of the article) looks promising, as the clips highlight raw emotion, major celebrities, and some of the best poker players in the world.
Playboy Playmate Jayde Nicole, the NFL’s Jerome Bettis, and mixed martial arts champion Tito Ortiz all compete on the show, as does Chris Moneymaker, Barry Greenstein, and Vanessa Rousso.
“Step one is to play against a celebrity,” said Negreanu.
If the contestant wins that match, it’s on to a pro. But… there’s a catch.
“They’ll play against the pro with the benefit of having me, with a microphone and a direct line to their ear,” said Negreanu, who will have the ability to advise the contestants in the middle of the hand. Pros, however, can fight back with what’s called “The Dome of Silence,” where they can press a button that “cuts out my feed to the contestant so I can no longer say anything to him for that hand.”
If the contestant beats the celebrity and the pro, he or she can walk out with $25,000. Or the contestant can risk it all and face Kid Poker for $100,000 and a chance at a $1 million rematch.
All of the contestants who beat Negreanu in the $100,000 heads-up match will face each other in a sit-and-go tournament for the opportunity to play Negreanu one final time in a no-risk freeroll for a million dollars.
PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge debuts this Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Watch Million Dollar Challenge on PokerStars.tv
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