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Poker After Dark's Fifth Season Debuts Tonight

NBC Show Features Pros Competing for $120,000


Mike Matusow will try to take down the $120,000 grand prize.The fifth season of NBC’s Poker After Dark will debut tonight at its normal late-night time (2:05 a.m.) with a special cast of characters who came oh-so-close to winning the big one.

“Basically, we’re going to have 16 new episodes that will be spread out in 2009,” said executive producer, Mori Eskandani.

This first three episodes, titled “Close but no Cigar,” features players who made the final table of the World Series of Poker main event in recent years, but weren’t quite able to finish the deal.

Mike Matusow, who finished in ninth place in the 2005 main event and made another deep this past year, will highlight the table and should make sure the game doesn’t stay too quiet. His brash demeanor should contrast nicely with his fellow Full Tilt pro, Allen Cunningham, who finished in fourth place in 2006 after losing a coin-flip for his tournament life against eventual champion Jamie Gold.

Two main event runner-ups will also be in the field — David Williams and Dewey Tomko. Williams out-lasted everyone but Greg Raymer in 2004, and Tomko has the notorious but impressive distinction of finishing second in the main event two times — once in 1982 and again in 2001.

Rounding out the table will be Andy Black, who finished fifth in 2005, and Lee Watkinson, who finished eighth in 2007. Both pros met their untimely demise much earlier than expected in their televised final tables.

The methodical Chris Ferguson will be a tough test for any opponent this season.Black at one point was the chip leader of his final table, with one-third of all the chips in play, before a few crucial errors sent him to the rail. Watkinson was the last established pro remaining in 2007, but saw his run come up short when he re-raised all in with ace-seven against Jerry Yang, only to be called by Yang’s ace-nine.

Each player will put up $20,000 of his own money, with the winner taking the entire prize pool.

Poker After Dark will host both six-player sit-and-gos, as well as cash games.

Eskandani says that the combination will appeal to a wide range of poker fans.

“We like to cater to everybody’s tastes,” said Eskandani.

According to Eskandani, a new series of episodes will also debut on the night of Jan. 5, titled “Speak Your Mind,” which will feature Phil Hellmuth and Todd Brunson as well as other pros who don't hesitate to express themselves at the table.

On Feb. 9’s “Brilliant Minds” episode, the show will welcome players who have gotten Ph.D.s, including Chris Ferguson and Andy Bloch.

On Feb. 16, the “Nets vs. Vets” cash game will begin, which will feature young internet players like David Benefield against the veterans on the game, such as Doyle Brunson.

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14 years ago

I really don't plan to watch the show anymore since Clonie Gowen and her past Episodes have been been removed from the air-She is a 3-time Champion of Poker After Dark by the way.


14 years ago

What do you mean by them having been removed from the air, max? Each of her wins was shown at least twice.


14 years ago

not since she got on the rag and decided to sue the company who made her famous