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High Stakes Poker Season 3 Filmed at South Coast

Smash Hit GSN Series Hosted by Newest Las Vegas Strip Casino

Eli Elezra and Jennifer HarmanThe Game Show Network filmed another season of the smash hit series High Stakes Poker this week, and though the show has been runningSeason III of High Stakes Poker less than a year, its success rate is phenomenal. "This show has proven to be a breakout hit with poker fans," said President and CEO of GSN Rich Cronin. "We couldn't be more pleased by the response that we have gotten from viewers and television critics."

A reflection of the High Stakes Poker phenomenon can be witnessed through the popular video website YouTube, which currently hosts 69 versions of the program's short video uploads with over a million viewer hits. "We were betting that High Stakes Poker would be a success and we have won big," said Cronin. And with ratings through the roof, it's no wonder the GSN sensation is winding up for its third season."

High Stakes Poker gives its audience a look into the biggest no-limit hold'em high-limit cash game on television. Players buy in for a minimum of $100,000, with stakes starting at $300-$600 with a $100 ante.

This season's roster of professional poker players includes Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Mike Matusow, Chris Ferguson, David Williams, David Benyamine, John D'Agostino, Phil Ivey, Rachel, Barry Greenstein, and SunshinePatrik Antonius, William Chen, Daniel Alaei, Doyle Brunson, Victor Ramdin, Shawn Sheikhan, Erick Lindgren, Jennifer Harman, Sam Farha, Eli Elezra, Barry Greenstein, and Todd Brunson. High Stakes Poker commentator Gabe Kaplan also took his turn at theRachel and Brian Townsend felt this season, along with a few other faces the audience will easily recognize, including 2006 World Series of Poker champion Jamie Gold, and runner-up Paul Wasicka. Amateurs Dan Harmetz, Dan Shak, Illya Trincher, and Brian Townsend were also added to the cast.

Dan Harmetz, a long time private high-limit poker player sold his investment company in 1998 and has been enjoying the game ever since. Late last year he joined the tournament circuit, going deep in five major events, making three final tables, including the 2005 Fall Pot of Gold championship.

Still fatigued from flying west to rub elbows with High Stakes Poker players after competing in the five-day Taj Mahal event is Dan Shak. Shak traded in golf several years ago for another hobby, and it's paid off with nearly $300,000 in tournament winnings. The amateur poker player alsoEli Elezra and Sam Farha enjoys an occasional game with his friends in New York. "It was a nice experience," said Shak about his time at the High Stakes Poker table. "I just wish I would have played a couple of hands differently."

Sammy FarhaAnother New Yorker who joined the roster of amateurs this season is Illya Trincher, a regular high-limit poker player and friend of Henry Orenstein (inventor of the lipstick cam-equipped poker table). The 21-year-old hit the poker scene only three years ago, yet he sits comfortably among the shows seasoned veterans. A regular at the Borgata and Bellagio $400-$800 tables, Trincher will admittedly be found anywhere there might be a high-limit game. "I've played with these guys before," said Trincher after cashing out. "I had a great time."

The last new face on the amateur team is 25-year-old Brian Townsend, an online player better known asDaniel Negreanu and Daniel Alaei Mori Eskandani and Gabe KaplanSBRugby or ABA20. Townsend is a regular at the $25-$50 to $200-$400 no-limit hold'em tables, but also enjoys an occasional game of $100-$200 or $300-$600 limit hold'em. This virtual poker pro has made a comfortable living over the years and recently applied his online experience to the $10,000 Harrah's New Orleans championship event, placing 10th. "This has been a great experience," said Townsend about his day on the set of High Stakes Poker. "I'm really happy with how things went."

High Stakes Poker is enjoying its third venue change in Las Vegas. Premier episodes that aired in January were taped at the Golden Nugget in 2005, while season 2 was recorded at the Palms. The cast and crew of season 3 have moved the set even further up the Strip to Las Vegas's newest hotel casino, the South Coast.

Now is a good time to catch up on season 1 and 2 High Stakes Poker episodes, as they're currently airing on GSN on Monday nights at 8 and 9 p.m. PT/ET, and 8 p.m. Central. Encore showings air Fridays at 10pm. Check your local listing for times and channels.