Poker Dome Challenge

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Gameplay in the Poker Dome
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 43
Running time 2 hours
Original network Fox Sports Net

The Poker Dome Challenge was a 43-week series of speed poker tournaments offering a grand prize of US$1,000,000. The tournament aired in the United States on Fox Sports Network from May 2006 to March 2007. The tournament featured a number of technological gimmicks in an effort to increase viewer interest and excitement. Commentating duties were shared by rotating hosts including Barry Tompkins, Jon Kelley, Michael Konik, Michael Gracz, Joel Meyers and Chris Rose with Leeann Tweeden serving as co-host/exit interviewer (occasionally covered by Nafeesa DeFlorias). Matt Savage was the tournament director.

The series consisted of single table tournaments of six players each. Five of the six competitors qualified through daily freeroll tournaments held at Another competitor came from the National Pub Poker League, an amateur poker league that partnered with and qualified its nightly bar tournament winners into a private weekly freeroll.[1][2] Winners of the online qualifiers were flown all expenses paid to Las Vegas, Nevada and received $500 in casino chips and other amenities.

Professional poker players Tony G, Dennis Waterman and Perry Friedman and reality television personality-turned poker pro Rob Mariano have appeared in the Dome. Nevada casino author Al W Moe appeared in the Dome and his wife, Shannon R Moe, was an alternate selection a month later.

Players started with 50,000 in tournament chips and play continued until one player had all 300,000. The tournament was single-elimination and only the winner of each table received prize money. Players had just 15 seconds to act on a hand before it was ruled dead. Each player was given one 30-second time extension that could be used at any time. When the table got to heads-up, each player received another 30-second time extension (although if a player hadn't previously used the extension he or she did not then have two). Betting was pot-limit pre-flop and no-limit post-flop until heads-up play, when it became all no-limit.

Each preliminary winner pocketed $25,000 in cash and advanced to the semi-finals. After each set of six preliminary tournaments, a semi-final single table tournament was played among the six winners, with the winner of that table taking $50,000 and advancing to the final table. After the six semi-final matches were played, the finalists played one more single table tournament for the $1,000,000 winner-take-all grand prize. Each of the other finalists won a prize package from Mansion Poker worth $13,000.

The Poker Dome[edit]

Tournaments were played in front of a live audience in a structure called The Poker Dome. The audience couldn't be seen or heard by the players and players were screened before entering the Dome to ensure they were unable to communicate with anyone outside the Dome. The high tech table featured an LED display for the dealer button, hole card cameras, automatic card reading technology (described on-screen as "computer chips," possibly passive RFID tags) and built in LED hand timers. Two dealers worked the tournaments to maintain the fast pace, and players were attached to heart monitors. Players' hole cards and heart rates were displayed for the live audience and in particularly stressful situations like all in bets, heart rates were displayed to the home audience.

The Tropicana Resort & Casino hosted the first eight Round 1 preliminaries and the first Round 2 playoff prior to the completion of construction at the Neonopolis, where a top-floor movie theatre was reworked into the Poker Dome set. Eventual Poker Dome Challenge winner Rodel Tuazon won the first preliminary held in the Neonopolis studio, in an episode also featuring Tony G.

Tournament Results[edit]

Round Winner Hometown Round Winner Hometown
Preliminary 1 Rhowena Colclough Birmingham, UK Preliminary 7 Reg Brittain Northampton, MA
Preliminary 2 Andrew Rogers Montgomery, MN Preliminary 8 Neil Jones Mankato, MN
Preliminary 3 John Bowman Surrey, UK Preliminary 9 Rodel Tuazon Des Moines, IA
Preliminary 4 Marissa Chien Las Vegas, NV Preliminary 10 Stan Poczatek Woodbridge, VA
Preliminary 5 John Woods Abbey, UK Preliminary 11 Ed Betzel Fraser, MI
Preliminary 6 Robert Brown Shiawassee, MI Preliminary 12 Rick Berger Melbourne, FL
Semi-final 1 Andrew Rogers Semi-final 2 Rodel Tuazon
Preliminary 13 Gagan Virk Sylmar, CA Preliminary 19 D.K. Thomas San Pedro, CA
Preliminary 14 Jason Martyn Ipswich, UK Preliminary 20 Victoria Wale Princes Risborough, UK
Preliminary 15 Jerry Schrader Woodbridge, VA Preliminary 21 Bruce Spencer Pensacola, FL
Preliminary 16 Bill Sheldon Cape May, NJ Preliminary 22 Walter Graden Statham, GA
Preliminary 17 Jon Davies Albrighton, UK Preliminary 23 Ben Ludwig Collegeville, PA
Preliminary 18 Marlon Delinois Spring Valley, NY Preliminary 24 Steve Goodemote Canandaigua, NY
Semi-final 3 Jerry Schrader Semi-final 4 Ben Ludwig
Preliminary 25 Kristian Gilleland Conway, SC Preliminary 31 Carl Olson Seattle, WA
Preliminary 26 Rob Sherwood Manchester, UK Preliminary 32 Zack Williamson Ontario, CAN
Preliminary 27 Dale Rodda Frankston, AUS Preliminary 33 Ryan Hall Sheffield, UK
Preliminary 28 John Ritchie Dundee, Scotland Preliminary 34 Dennis Waterman Sedona, AZ
Preliminary 29 Keith Hubbard Brampton, Ontario Preliminary 35 Jason Phipps Omaha, NE
Preliminary 30 Toly Braylovsky Hamden, CT Preliminary 36 Clayton Mozdzen Stonewall, Manitoba
Semi-final 5 Rob Sherwood Semi-final 6 Dennis Waterman

Final table[edit]

Finish Player Total cash winnings
1 Rodel Tuazon $1,075,000
2 Dennis Waterman $75,000
3 Rob Sherwood $75,000
4 Ben Ludwig $75,000
5 Andrew Rogers $75,000
6 Jerry Schrader $75,000

World Pro-Am Challenge[edit]

On July 12, 2006, The Poker Dome played host to the World Pro-Am Challenge, with a US$1,000,000 prize pool. Three professional players were pitted against three amateur online qualifiers, who had access to three other pros for coaching. The top three spots paid, and if an amateur cashed the prize money would be split with the coach. Each amateur started with $20,000 more in chips than the pros and each amateur/coach team was allowed two time outs, one called by the player and one by the coach.

Position Player Hometown Coach Payout
1 Gavin Smith Guelph, Ontario $500,000
2 Scott Gardner Spalding, UK Michael Gracz $270,000 ($30,000 to Gracz)
3 John Gale Bushey, UK $200,000
4 Todd Brunson Las Vegas, NV $0
5 Joe Isaacson Eau Claire, WI Kenna James $0
6 Andy Stoll Cincinnati, OH Tony G $0


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  2. ^ [1]

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