Poker Royale

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Poker Royale was a television series on the Game Show Network (GSN), which featured No Limit Texas hold 'em Poker. The first series began on December 7, 2004. The seventh and final series, Poker Royale: Battle of the Ages, began airing on November 4, 2005. The series host at its conclusion was John Ahlers, with commentary by Robert Williamson III and sideline reporting by Lisa Dergan.

The Series[edit]

Poker Royale: The WPPA Championship[edit]

The first series was based on the championship of the World Poker Players Association. The show was hosted by Kevin Nealon, with commentary by Williamson (Evelyn Ng provided commentary for the first two episodes). A total of 72 players participated and put up the $10,000 entrance fee.

Unlike later series, this series was done in a tournament-style format where players who had zero chips were eliminated. Also different from other series were that three tables were active during the early episodes, and was later lowered to the top ten players at the main table in center stage.

This was the only series where there was a contest for viewers. During intervals of the program, various poker buzzwords would appear on screen. Viewers would log into GSN's website and input this word for a chance to win up to $10,000,000 in a poker hand with the winner of the WPPA championship. In order to win the grand prize, the poker tournament winner had to get a full house or better by choosing 5 cards form a deck at random (each card was sealed in an envelope). James Van Alstyne won the tournament and shared an additional $30,000 with a member of GSN's website, in addition to the cash received, they each won a year's supply of pizza from Pizza Hut.

Results[edit]

Position Competitor Prize Money
1st James Van Alstyne $125,420
2nd Lee Markholt $65,305
3rd Paul Wolfe $46,505
4th Juan Carlos Mortensen $32,125
5th Bill Carroll $22,320
6th Kathy Liebert $17,285
7th Johannes Murez $14,100
8th Vinh Truong $12,000
9th Jesse Jones $10,540

Poker Royale: Battle of the Sexes[edit]

Poker Royale: Battle of the Sexes was the second series, hosted by radio personality Tom Leykis and Kennedy. Additional commentary was by Williamson once again, except for preliminary match #6, when Matt Vasgersian covered for him.

As opposed to the previous series, this one relied on males vs. females, which also incorporated the current scoring format, where players would be awarded points for their teams, depending on how they finished in that particular episode (one point for finishing sixth place to six points for finishing first). The six players (three each of men and women) who had the highest points played in a grand final with the same rules as above, and the highest team score won the tournament.

The men were Chris Moneymaker, Paul Wolfe, Greg Raymer, Amir Vahedi, Layne Flack and Antonio Esfandiari. The women were Kathy Liebert, Jennifer Harman, Evelyn Ng, Karina Jett, Kristy Gazes and Clonie Gowen.

Results[edit]

Episode Winner Prize Other Finalists
Preliminary Match 1 Amir Vahedi $20,000
Preliminary Match 2 Layne Flack $20,000
Preliminary Match 3 Paul Wolfe $20,000
  • Kristy Gazes
  • Evelyn Ng
  • Chris Moneymaker
  • Layne Flack
  • Karina Jett
Preliminary Match 4 Antonio Esfandiari $20,000
  • Kathy Liebert
  • Jennifer Harman
  • Greg Raymer
  • Amir Vahedi
  • Clonie Gowen
Preliminary Match 5 Amir Vahedi $20,000
  • Layne Flack
  • Clonie Gowen
  • Evelyn Ng
  • Chris Moneymaker
  • Jennifer Harman
Preliminary Match 6 Greg Raymer $20,000
  • Karina Jett
  • Kathy Liebert
  • Paul Wolfe
  • Antonio Esfandiari
  • Kristy Gazes
Grand Final Kathy Liebert $55,000
  • Layne Flack ($5,000)
  • Evelyn Ng ($15,000)
  • Amir Vahedi ($5,000)
  • Karina Jett ($15,000)
  • Antonio Esfandiari ($5,000)

Poker Royale: Celebrities vs. Poker Pros[edit]

Poker Royale: Celebrities vs. Poker Pros featured famous poker players playing against celebrities. As before, the scoring system was used, but was altered (10 points for finishing first down to 0 points for finishing last). The six highest point-scorers would play in the grand final for the championship.

The celebrities who participated in this tournament were Lance Bass, Jennifer Tilly, Mimi Rogers, Morris Chestnut, Patrick Warburton and Traci Bingham. They faced poker players Scott Fischman, Kathy Liebert, Cyndy Violette, Roxanne Rhodes, Paul Darden and "Cowboy" Kenna James. John Ahlers became the permanent host with this series. Matt Savage and Bill Bruce were the Tournament Directors.

Patrick Warburton was the eventual winner.

Poker Royale: Young Bloods[edit]

Poker Royale: Young Bloods was a live special that premiered on May 20, 2005. It initially ran approximately 2 hours 15 minutes. Subsequent airings were edited for a two-hour timeslot. All the players were under the age of 30. Players were awarded cash prizes based on the order of finish. The winner received $20,000, second place $10,000, and third-sixth received $5,000. The players were Michael Mizrachi, David Williams, Michael Sandberg, Erin Ness, Erica Schoenberg, and Scott Fischman. There were two final table events between these players. In the first event, Williams defeated Ness heads-up to take the win. Sandberg took third. In the second event, Williams outlasted Sandberg heads-up. Mizrachi took third.

Poker Royale: Comedians vs. Poker Pros[edit]

Poker Royale: Comedians vs. Poker Pros was similar to Celebrities vs. Poker Pros, but with stand-up comedians in lieu of celebrities. This series had more preliminary games than in previous series (ten instead of the previous six). The comedians were Paul Rodriguez, Robert Wuhl, Mark Curry, Tammy Pescatelli, Carol Leifer and Sue Murphy. They faced off against poker players Phil Laak, Robert Williamson III, Linda Johnson, David Williams, Connie Kim and Kathy Kolberg. Since Williamson was a competitor, "Cowboy" Kenna James took the commentator spot for this series.

Results[edit]

Episode Winner Prize Other Finalists
Preliminary Match 1 Phil Laak $5,000
Preliminary Match 2 Phil Laak $5,000
Preliminary Match 3 Carol Leifer $5,000
Preliminary Match 4 Kathy Kolberg $5,000
  • David Williams
  • Tammy Pescatelli
  • Linda Johnson
  • Mark Curry
  • Sue Murphy
Preliminary Match 5 Robert Williamson III $5,000
  • Phil Laak
  • Kathy Kolberg
  • Paul Rodriguez
  • Mark Curry (tied)
  • Carol Leifer (tied)
Preliminary Match 6 Tammy Pescatelli $5,000
  • Robert Williamson III
  • Phil Laak
  • Sue Murphy
  • David Williams
  • Carol Leifer
Preliminary Match 7 Linda Johnson $5,000
  • Kathy Kolberg
  • Mark Curry
  • Paul Rodriguez
  • Robert Wuhl
  • Connie Kim
Preliminary Match 8 Linda Johnson $5,000
  • Connie Kim
  • Paul Rodriguez
  • Sue Murphy
  • Tammy Pescatelli
  • Robert Williamson III
Preliminary Match 9 David Williams $5,000
  • Tammy Pescatelli
  • Connie Kim
  • Robert Wuhl
  • Carol Leifer
  • Kathy Kolberg
Preliminary Match 10 Mark Curry $5,000
  • Sue Murphy
  • Phil Laak
  • Connie Kim
  • Linda Johnson
  • Robert Wuhl
Wild Card Match Kathy Kolberg None
  • Sue Murphy
  • Robert Williamson III
  • Paul Rodriguez
  • David Williams
  • Carol Leifer
Grand Final Phil Laak $55,000
  • Kathy Kolberg ($15,000)
  • Linda Johnson ($5,000)
  • Tammy Pescatelli ($5,000)
  • Sue Murphy ($5,000)
  • Mark Curry ($5,000)

Poker Royale: The James Woods Gang vs the Unabombers[edit]

James Woods and other poker players about to begin their Poker game at Pechanga Casino

Poker Royale: The James Woods Gang vs. the Unabombers featured two teams featuring celebrities and poker pros. Once again, the point system was used, but this time points were combined into a total score for the whole team as opposed to scores for individual players. The James Woods Gang was led by celebrity and poker player James Woods, and had celebrities Nicole Sullivan and Bob Goen, plus poker players Kathy Liebert, Ted Forrest, and Susie Isaacs. The Unabombers were led by Phil Laak. His team had celebrities Jennifer Tilly, Danny Masterson and Gail O'Grady, plus poker players Hasan Habib and Cyndy Violette. Matt Savage and Bill Bruce returned as the Tournament Directors.

Results[edit]

Episode Winner Prize Other Finalists
Preliminary Match 1 Cyndy Violette $5,000
Preliminary Match 2 Hasan Habib $5,000
Preliminary Match 3 Ted Forrest $5,000
  • Nicole Sullivan
  • Jennifer Tilly
  • Gail O'Grady
  • Susie Isaacs
  • Phil Laak
Preliminary Match 4 Kathy Liebert $5,000
  • Cyndy Violette
  • Bob Goen
  • Hasan Habib
  • James Woods
  • Danny Masterson
Preliminary Match 5 Kathy Liebert $5,000
  • Nicole Sullivan
  • Danny Masterson
  • Phil Laak
  • Bob Goen
  • Cyndy Violette
Preliminary Match 6 James Woods $5,000
  • Hasan Habib
  • Gail O'Grady
  • Jennifer Tilly
  • Susie Isaacs
  • Ted Forrest
Grand Final Phil Laak $25,000 *
  • Kathy Liebert
  • Cyndy Violette
  • Hasan Habib
  • James Woods
  • Ted Forrest

* $25,000 to Grand Final winner, $50,000 to winning team. Team captains pick two team members to take part in the final.

Poker Royale: Battle of the Ages[edit]

Poker Royale: Battle of the Ages was the most recent series of Poker Royale. This one featured six poker players over the age of 60 playing against six players under the age of 30. The older players were T. J. Cloutier, "Action" Dan Harrington, "Miami" John Cernuto, Barbara Enright, Maureen Feduniak and Wendeen Eolis. The younger players were Michael Gracz, Dutch Boyd, Erin Ness, Evelyn Ng, Jennifer Leigh and Kasey Thompson. A bounty was introduced for each episode. Matt Savage and Bill Bruce were, once again, the Tournament Directors.

Results[edit]

Episode Winner Prize Other Finalists
Preliminary Match 1 Jennifer Leigh $5,000
Preliminary Match 2 Michael Gracz $5,000
Preliminary Match 3 Dan Harrington 1, 2 $5,000
  • John Cernuto
  • Dutch Boyd
  • Michael Gracz
  • T. J. Cloutier
  • Kasey Thompson
Preliminary Match 4 Erin Ness 3 $5,000
  • Wendeen Eolis 3
  • Barbara Enright
  • Maureen Feduniak 1
  • Evelyn Ng
  • Jennifer Leigh
Preliminary Match 5 T. J. Cloutier 2 $5,000
  • Wendeen Eolis
  • Michael Gracz 1
  • Barbara Enright
  • Kasey Thompson
  • Evelyn Ng
Preliminary Match 6 Jennifer Leigh 2 $5,000
  • Dan Harrington
  • Erin Ness
  • John Cernuto 1
  • Maureen Feduniak
  • Dutch Boyd
Grand Final Dan Harrington $50,000
  • Michael Gracz ($10,000) 2
  • John Cernuto 4
  • Wendeen Eolis
  • Jennifer Leigh 1
  • Erin Ness

1 $1,000 bounty on this player
2 bounty winner
3 joint bounty winners
4 $400 bounty on this player

Poker Royale: Young Bloods II[edit]

Poker Royale: Young Bloods II was another special featuring poker players under 30, and aired on December 9, 2005. This special featured the same players and format as the first Young Bloods.

Kenna James once again did commentary instead of Williamson for this special.

Airings[edit]

GSN aired new episodes of Poker Royale every Friday evening from 10-11PM EST, part of their Casino Night block (the block has since moved to Mondays, and does not feature Poker Royale). Episodes of previous seasons are rerun occasionally on GSN.

As of 2006, GSN does not intend to do any more Poker Royale shows. A cash game poker show titled High Stakes Poker premiered on January 16, 2006 on GSN. This series is unrelated to Poker Royale. GSN has since returned its focus exclusively to game shows, and they reverted their on air branding to Game Show Network, so it is unlikely that reruns or a new series of Poker Royale will air on the network in the foreseeable future.

External links[edit]

place to find the royal urls