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GSN High Stakes Poker Reloads

Season Two Premiers June 5, 2006


When GSN decided to air its new show High Stakes Poker, people held there breath and waited to see how players would handle the possibility of extreme swings in their bankrolls. As if playing for the largest stakes on television wasn't enough, GSN"s new show put the game's top players into the public spotlight and had poker fans drooling at the only live televised look into the world of high-stakes cash games. Fans also got to see top-flight players like Daniel Negreanu endure the rough beats inherent in cash games, after several flopped straights were outdrawn in huge pots.

With a minimum buy-in of $100,000, the high-stakes action immediately appealed to poker's top players and, with legends like Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth, Jr. involved, it wasn't long before the producers had a full lineup of players ready to do battle.

Instead of following traditional poker television format, High Stakes Poker's creators banked on the fact that their action was the only place to find a real game on television. With the debut of the second season of High Stakes Poker on the way on June 5, GSN and its players have succeeded in finding an audience and this season looks as though it will continue to expand on last year's expectations.

The first season was filmed in November of 2005 and featured legends of the game like Brunson, Chan, and Greenstein taking on players like Negreanu, Sam Farha, and Los Angeles Lakers owner and poker aficionado Jerry Buss. The second season, taped after the World Poker Tour Championships in May, should surpass season one's excitement, with new additions to the cash game lineup that include Phil "Unabomber" Laak, Gus Hansen, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Erick Lindgren, John Juanda, and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow.

There are some changes to the show from season one to season two, as locations have changed from The Golden Nugget to The Palms Casino and the second season has expanded from last year's 13 episodes to 16.

Leading GSN's expert analysis and often humorous coverage color commentators are Welcome Back Kotter's Gabe Kaplan and A.J. Benza. Kaplan's quick wit and insight into the game and its players appear to be among the key reasons for the show's successful first run.

Another key reason for the show's success is the fast action at the tables. Daniel Negreanu made his presence felt by buying in for a cool million and nearly losing a good portion of it before coming back, while the wily Farha seemed to be untouchable, as he caught a run of cards that left everyone else at the tables feeling the heat, especially Barry Greenstein, whose pocket aces got cracked by Farha's kings.

With players like the "Unabomber" and Matusow in the lineup for season two, fans can expect some of the best trash talking to ever grace the felt. Hellmuth sent censors running last season after he went on tilt and dropped several f-bombs. Matusow, of course, is no stranger to controversy and should provide fireworks at the table when he starts running his now famous mouth.