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Face the Ace Poker Show Premieres Saturday on NBC

Contestants Can Win $1 Million by Beating Three Pros

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Steve Schirripa will host NBC's newest poker show, Face the AceSaturday evening marks a significant milestone in the poker industry, as the game goes prime time on a national network. NBC will launch its new television show this week, Face the Ace, where contestants can win up to $1 million by defeating three heralded pros.

“It’s an exciting new poker-themed game show premiering on Saturday, Aug. 1 [at 9 p.m.],” said Amber James, with NBC Entertainment. “It’s the first of its kind to air in prime time on a broadcast network.”

Each contestant on the show will have the opportunity to face up to three Full Tilt pros for a chance to win $1 million. The player will select from four smoke-glassed doors whom he plays, and the pro will walk out to play him heads up. If the contestant wins, he can walk away with $40,000 or play another to-be-determined pro for $200,000. However, if he loses, he gets nothing.

If the contestant decides to face a second pro and wins again, he once again has the opportunity to take the money and run, or he can play a third and final opponent for $1 million — or nothing.

“There’s no safety net here like there is in Millionaire. If you don’t win your match, you lose whatever it is that you had won,” said Ali Nejad, best known for his announcer roles on NBC’s Poker After Dark and the National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Nejad will serve as Face the Ace’s tournament director and commentator. “It’s tough for them to hide their disappointment in that situation. The pressure is really on. This is not a cake walk.”

Face the Ace contestants will have to battle top poker pros like Patrik Antonius.The show — which was announced last April — will be hosted by Steve Schirripa, formerly of The Sopranos fame, who has been working more recently as an actor on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

“I don’t think you have to be a gambler to really enjoy this, because it’s part game show, part gambling, part entertainment. You’ve got a little bit of everything here. It’s even for the guy who’s not a big gambler,” said Schirripa. “Some of the poker shows, as great as they are, you really have to know what’s happening.”

While the first two episodes will debut on NBC at 9 p.m. on Aug. 1 and Aug. 8, the third episode isn’t scheduled to run until Saturday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. on NBC. Schirippa acknowledged that the initial broadcasts were to “test the waters” and hinted that the schedule of future broadcasts would be determined by how well the initial episodes were received by the general public. Both Schirippa and Nejad believe that this show can be popular with a broad audience, not just those obsessed with the game itself.

“This is probably one of the few shows where you’re sitting on your couch in your underwear and a week later, you can be playing against him. In nothing else can you do that,” said Schirripa. “It’s like batting against C.C. Sabathia.”

Nejad believes it’ll be hard for viewers not to emotionally connect with the contestants.

“It’s very palpable, the amount of pressure these guys are feeling,” said Nejad, revealing that there were several surprising storylines throughout the episodes that were shot. “[Viewers will] maybe even shed a tear or two in a couple of spots.”

Contestants qualified for the show online at Full Tilt Poker and come from a variety of backgrounds, from students to blue-collared workers to even people who couldn’t secure a full-time job in these tough times.

Phil Ivey may prove to be a problem for some contestants on Face the Ace on NBC.They will face some of the greatest players on the planet, including Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Chris Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Gus Hansen, Howard Lederer, Allen Cunningham, Andy Bloch, Jennifer Harman, Erick Lindren, John Juanda, Huck Seed, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, and Gavin Smith.

For each heads-up match a pro wins, $10,000 will be donated to the charity of his or her choice.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that pros aren’t incentivized to win,” sand Nejad. “Not only are these guys some of the most competitive people that you’re ever going to bear witness to on national prime time TV — and that’s in their head — but there is a lot of real money at stake and it’s going to be their name on the ‘W’ or the ‘L’ that gave up all those ‘000’s. There’s definitely a great two-way dynamic there.”

Face the Ace debuts this Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC.

 
 
 
 

Comments

thegreatwhitedope
almost 11 years ago

If by some miracle I won the first match I'd take the money and run. There's no way I'd bet one beating three of those players.

 
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scootterxlch
almost 11 years ago

if this can be done compellingly with active input from the pros it might be cool. it could help main stream poker and the fulltilt brand.

 
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JaySin420
almost 11 years ago

Ali Nejad is by far the worst poker announcer/commentator of all time. It's almost impossible to hear the actual players on Poker after Dark cause this dude just never stops yapping.

 
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meacpa
almost 11 years ago

I disagree about Ali. I have watched all the episodes of PAD and have found him to be informative and interesting. He tries to let the action speak for itself as much as possible and then add his comments when necessary. Trust me - the producers wouldn't keep him on the btoadcasts if they didn't agree with me!

 
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agehv6
almost 11 years ago

Jaysin that may be the stupidest comment on this website. The guy barely speaks period and when he doesn its usually a one word to one sentence comment about a huge confrontation that is about to happen. Go smoke some more weed idiot, its really cool when you morons add 420 to the end of everything.

 
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reraze
almost 11 years ago

This show should be one of the better poker shows on t.v....Can't wait to see a nobody beat 3 pros, That will be cool to watch.

 
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SarahTHollender
almost 11 years ago

Here is my review of FACE THE ACE (please note there are MAJOR spoilers)

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2014096/tv_review_nbcs_face_the_ace.html?cat=39

 
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DONKEY-OH-TEE
almost 11 years ago

That show was really bad. Like the concept though. The Sopranos guy is out of his element.

 
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HuskerInVegas
almost 11 years ago

1) Was the first guy Ivey played retarded? He has as much personality as a damp washcloth. Maybe he ate at Roberto's that afternoon?
2) Whoever did the stats for the flop whan E-Dawg hit his 9 (with his 9 - 7) has no clue about Poker. NBC showed that the other guy needed a heart or a Jack. They neglected to show that he could have went runner runner 5's to win the hand.
3) The Soprano's guy ain't no Norman Chad (or Lon McCarrin sp?)
4) The Soprano's guy definately ain't no Mike Sexton!
5) I seldom use "ain't no".

Overall, I'd give the show a C (mainly becasue the Hostess chick was HOTT!). Since my DVD is messed up, I decided to stay home to watch it, and will do so next week since the "basement dweller" will be going to a MILL.

 
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duhmojo
almost 11 years ago

As an avid viewer of TV poker, the format of FTA’s struck me as a creative, entertaining concept, so I eagerly anticipated the first episode. Unfortunately, little seemed right, and if this show is destined to continue, it would appear that MAJOR changes will have to be made. Specifically, in my opinion:
(1) Who in the world selected Steve Schirripa to host the show? He’s awful. His persona comes across as a crude, rough, uneducated low-class hoodlum (no surprise there). While this may not be his actual character, this is how he appears, and that’s a terrible image to convey at a time when efforts are being made to change the image of poker and poker players in the minds of the general public. Unlike Mike Sexton or Gabe Kaplan, he is incapable of even the most superficial analysis of what is going on in a hand or what the players might be thinking.
(2) Almost everything on the show struck me as being “forced” and artificial. The banter between Steve and the contestants sounded scripted, unnatural and uncomfortable. I am almost certain that on all the “made for TV” poker shows such as High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark the participants are told to engage in conversation, as a table of silent, focused players would greatly reduce the entertainment value for many viewers. Amateur players may not, in general, be capable of engaging in captivating conversation while trying to play poker against a world class player on TV, so some substitute needs to be designed.
(3) I have to assume that the hands played and the results were all on the up-and-up, but once again, my impression was that I was viewing an artificial “made for TV” episode. As the program neared its end, I told my wife—“Watch, this 2nd guy will decide to “go for the million” and then the show will end, so they think we’ll all be anxiously awaiting the next episode. Sure enough, that’s what happened, and it looked phony and dishonest, even if it wasn’t.
I love the concept of this show, but don’t see it surviving much beyond it’s first few episodes unless drastic and I mean DRASTIC changes are made. They should probably cancel the show immediately, go back to the drawing board, and bring it back at a later date with a knowledgeable host, and more honest, “let the chips fall where they may,” matches. I would also suggest that they drop the "lose the next match and you go broke" aspect. Make the contestants win perhaps 5 matches to get to the million, but not have to risk everything to continue. Just my 2 cents. Hate to see this show die, but I think it will as currently constructed (and it should).

 
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RICARDOJVALENZUELA
almost 11 years ago

I too sat through the premiere of "face the ace." I agree with most in that thr show concept in good but it just didnt run smoothly at all. The host is horrific and has no clue as to what is going on or at least he makes it seem that way. The contestants has little to no personality which must have made it ackward for the pros having to sit across from them. And lastly the pros look like they are being forced to be there, like theyre being drsgged away from "the big game" to play a meaningless game that they could care less about. In its current format the show wont last past 1 month unless there are some major changes it will be another "bad beat" for poker on tv. Sorry to say for all us die hard poker fans.

 
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donah51
almost 11 years ago

the show has promise but the first show was not good poker, at least the way it was edited.

the pros are wasted with that stupid door entrance.

they should use a wheel or some other vegas style way of picking the pro.

and...the pros should have more screen time.
they could show the pros taking side action on the contestant....that would add some reality.

 
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a_better_way
almost 11 years ago

Seriously, this show was painful to even sit through. It looks like they didn't even think about the show or rehearse anything before they started and just sort of winged it. Too much lame talking in between the matches and just crazy boring overall.

 
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CraigBerger
almost 11 years ago

Here's my review of Face the Ace: http://craigshappyplace.blogspot.com/2009/08/facing-ace.html

 
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ckennedy9200
almost 11 years ago

see episode 1 - http://www.hulu.com/watch/86720/face-the-ace-night-1

 
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