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High Stakes Poker Will Premiere March 1

Fifth Season of Popular Show Attracts Big Names


Doyle BrunsonThe fifth season of High Stakes Poker will premiere March 1 on Game Show Network, Card Player learned today.

While NBC established that in the fall, “Sunday Night is Football Tonight,” thanks to its relentless marketing campaign, it appears that as of March, Sunday night will be Poker Night on GSN.

The network plans on featuring a poker haven for its audience on Sunday evenings. Starting at 6 p.m., the network will air past episodes of its World Poker Tour events as well as older High Stakes Poker shows, and at 9 p.m., new episodes of the fifth season of HSP will debut.

The season premiere will air on March 1 with new episodes on each subsequent Sunday, according to Heidi Diamond, the executive vice president of GSN.

Filming began today at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino for the new season and will continue through Sunday.

All of the producers on set seemed genuinely excited to see how the action would unfold.

“I like it when the young online guys play against the old timers,” said GSN’s on-air promo producer, John Charles. “I love to see that generational difference.”

That contrast could not be overlooked in the first day of filming, as 75-year-old Doyle Brunson, with his classic cowboy hat, rubbed elbows with the 23-year-old Italian, Dario Minieri, and his patented scarf.

High Stakes Poker has been a staple of GSN since the first season aired in January 2006.

Dario Minieri“For me, this program is a signature of the network,” said Mike Bevan, vice president of original programming at GSN.

Bevan remembers when the show was first conceptualized. He was having dinner at Bellagio with a few colleagues, and Johnny Chan had come up to them and told them that he had just lost a monster-sized pot in a cash game to Phil Ivey. After he left, they looked at each other, and realized they had a great concept for a new show.

“When [Chan] walked away, we said, ‘Oh my God, that’s an amazing thing,’” Bevan said. “It’s not like a tournament where you lose your buy-in, you’re losing ten times that much.”

In the fifth season, all players must put up a minimum of $200,000 of their own money to play in the game. It’s the highest minimum requirement the show has ever had to start its series.

Last season, one of the cash games toward the end of the season featured a $500,000 minimum, and HSP executive producer Mori Eskandani said that players can set higher limits this season as well if they want to. He said the one problem they saw with the half-million minimum is that players never really loosened up.

“Half a million made the game tighter. There was less action,” said Eskandani. “If you let the players decide what they’re comfortable with, you’ll have a better game.”

According to Eskandani, players need to put up their own money for the cash game. They are awarded a “nominal” fee for appearing on the show, he said, somewhere around $10,000. But that pales in comparison to the amount of money they risk on each hand. He also said that according to GSN policy, no player is allowed to wear logos during the filming.

Daniel Negreanu“This is the real thing,” said Eskandani. “This is what poker is all about.”
The fifth season of HSP will see World Series of Poker main event champions, as well as internet prodigies. It’ll feature established cash game pros and part-time players with a lot of cash to throw around.

Besides Brunson and Minieri, Friday’s action featured Phil Laak, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Eli Elezra, Mike Baxter, Alan Meltzer, and David Peat.

Saturday’s action will feature Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Howard Lederer, Patrik Antonius, Antonio Esfandiari, Sam Simon, and Nick Cassavetes.

Sunday’s table will include Peter Eastgate, Doyle Brunson, Ivan Demidov, Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, David Benyamine, and Ilari Sahamies.

Although that is the order in which the tables will be filmed, GSN may not necessarily air the episodes in that particular order.



13 years ago

Cannot wait to see this


13 years ago

Where's Sammy???


13 years ago

Licking his wounds back in texas from what I hear...