High Stakes Poker
|High Stakes Poker|
High Stakes Poker logo
|Starring||Gabe Kaplan (seasons 1-6)
A. J. Benza (seasons 1-5)
Kara Scott (seasons 6-7)
Norm Macdonald (season 7)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||98|
|Producer(s)||Henry Orenstein, Mori Eskandani|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Original run||January 16, 2006 – December 17, 2007
March 1, 2009 - May 21, 2011
High Stakes Poker is a cash game poker television program, which was broadcast by the cable television network GSN in the United States. The poker variant played on the show is no limit Texas hold 'em. It premiered on January 16, 2006 and ended on December 17, 2007 for the first 4 seasons and the last 3 seasons ran from March 1, 2009 to May 21, 2011 and was simulcast in 3DTV on N3D.
The participants on the show include both professional poker players and amateur players.
The show was hosted by AJ Benza in the first five seasons, alongside Gabe Kaplan. Starting with the sixth season, Kara Scott replaced Benza as Kaplan's co-host, with Scott conducting interviews from the poker room floor. Starting with the seventh season, Norm Macdonald replaced Gabe Kaplan as Scott's co-host.
The first season of High Stakes Poker, taped at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, was first broadcast in January 16, 2006 and consisted of 13 episodes until April 10, 2006, hosted by A. J. Benza and comedian/actor-turned-poker pro Gabe Kaplan.
The second season, taped at The Palms and consisting of 16 episodes, premiered on June 5, 2006 and ended on September 18, 2006.
The third season, consisting of 13 episodes, was taped at the South Point Casino and premiered on January 15, 2007 and ended on April 9, 2007. New players for the third season included Jamie Gold, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Patrik Antonius, Paul Wasicka, David Benyamine, Brian Townsend and others. Returning players from previous seasons included Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Sammy Farha, Phil Laak, Jennifer Harman, Barry Greenstein, Erick Lindgren, Mike Matusow, Brad Booth and others.
On April 2, 2007, GSN announced that High Stakes Poker would return for a fourth season, again taped at South Point. Still 9:00pm. Taping was completed in May, with the season premiering on August 27, 2007. Returning players included Patrik Antonius, David Benyamine, Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Sam Farha, Jamie Gold, Barry Greenstein, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Jennifer Harman, and Daniel Negreanu. Newcomers for the fourth season include Brandon Adams, Mike Baxter, Brian Brandon, Phil Galfond, Guy Laliberté, Bob Safai, Antonio Salorio, and Haralabos Voulgaris. The later episodes of this season featured a $500,000 minimum buy-in (compared to the regular $100,000 minimum) and these games saw more than $5 million in play on the table at one time. Season four finished airing on December 17, 2007 and featured 17 episodes. The network cited the show's strong ratings performance in younger demographics.
Season five, which ran from March 1, 2009 to May 24, 2009 at 9:00pm, was taped at the Golden Nugget on December 19–21, 2008 and featured a minimum cash buy-in of $200,000. The format for season 5 differed slightly from its predecessors by having Kaplan and Benza not appear on camera until after the first commercial break in the show, rather than at the outset.
Season six premiered at 8:00pm on February 14, 2010 and ended on May 9, 2010, with Gabe Kaplan and Kara Scott. It was taped for a second straight season at the Golden Nugget. The sixth season aired with three different groups of players throughout 13 episodes. Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey bought in for $500,000. Other rotating players, including newcomers Jason Mercier, Dennis Phillips, Andrew Robl, and Lex Veldhuis, bought in for $200,000.
Season seven debuted on its new GSN Saturday night time slot from February 26, 2011 to May 21, 2011, Norm Macdonald replaced Gabe Kaplan as the host and Kara Scott conducted interviews from the poker room floor. The series was filmed in December 2010 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Sponsored Full Tilt Poker pros were required to boycott the show this time around, as rival site PokerStars became its official sponsors. Thus, “High Stakes Poker” Season 7 is devoid of such Full Tilt pros as Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, David Benyamine, Mike Matusow, and Eli Elezra. GSN later announced it would be scaling back its airings of High Stakes Poker after PokerStars pulled out of the U.S. market following the indictments in United States v. Scheinberg et al. crackdown on online gambling.
When it first aired, High Stakes Poker was unique among televised poker series because it did not take place in a tournament setting. Instead, the program showed a high stakes cash game. The minimum buy-in to the game is US$100,000, but players have bought in for as much as $1,000,000, such as Daniel Negreanu in Season 1 and Brad Booth in Season 3. For part of the fourth season, the minimum buy-in was $500,000. The first episode with the minimum $500,000 buy-in was broadcast on November 5, 2007. The minimum cash buy-in for the fifth season increased to $200,000 – the largest buy-in for an entire run of a television series. Unlike in poker tournaments, the chips involved represent real money. If a player loses his initial buy-in, that player may rebuy a minimum of $50,000. In addition, players may use cash instead of casino chips. Cash plays and stays as cash in the pot; it does not have to be converted into casino chips. Unlike tournament poker, blinds and antes are constant, instead of increasing as time goes on. High Stakes Poker has $300/$600 blinds with a $100 ante. The fourth season features three forced blinds of $300, $600 and $1,200, with a "straddle" or optional fourth blind of $2,400.
The players include poker professionals along with amateurs such as Jerry Buss and Fred Chamanara. The show was created by executive producer Henry Orenstein. In season one, Daniel Negreanu confirmed in a post on his website's forums that all players were paid $1,250 per hour for taking part and that 13 episodes were edited down from 24 hours of actual play. 2006 WSOP Main Event Champion Jamie Gold commented that players were paid for participating, though they had to put much more money at risk to get to play the game. Gold also spoke about his interactions with other players, particularly Mike Matusow. The theme song for the show is titled "I'm All In", written and performed by John Pratt, Los Angeles.
- GSN's 'High Stakes Poker' Joins DirecTV 3D Channel Multichannel News February 7, 2011
- "High Stakes Poker Returns for Third Season Tonight". Card Player. 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2007-01-23.
- "GSN Has Yet To Order More High Stakes Poker Episodes". Card Player. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- Pempus, Brian (7 Feb 2011). "Norm MacDonald New Host of 'High Stakes Poker'". Cardplayer.com. Card Player Magazine. Retrieved 9 Feb 2011.
- Jeff Haney (2007-05-16). "Jeff Haney on how 'High Stakes Poker' is a good bet to become poker's most popular television program". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2007-06-09.
- Steve Horton (2007-08-11). "The PokerNews Interview: Mori Eskandani". PokerNews. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Daniel Negreanu (2006-01-30). "are the players in "high stakes" on gsn comp'd?". Fullcontactpoker.com. Retrieved 2007-01-23.
- "Jamie Gold Goes Heads-Up With Wicked Chops Poker". WickedChopsPoker.com. 2007-03. Retrieved 2007-07-12.