Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament
The Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament was a series of no limit Texas hold 'em poker tournaments. The first season is available on NTSC DVD. It airs on Fox Sports Net in the United States, Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and ftn in the United Kingdom.
- 1 Crew
- 2 Competitors
- 3 Structure
- 4 Results
- 5 Computer versions
- 6 External links
The first series grand finale aired in February 2005 on the same day as Super Bowl XXXIX. Fox carried the Super Bowl that year, so instead of the series' usual home on FSN, NBC carried the finale instead. It was hosted by Matt Vasgersian, with support from poker professional Erick Lindgren. Backstage interviews were conducted by poker player Evelyn Ng.
Howard "The Professor" Lederer replaced Michael Konik at the beginning of the 3rd season, with Annie Duke joining for several episodes as a "special guest". Mary Strong conducted the backstage interviews.
- Season 1 featured 8 competitors each paying $400,000 to enter. (This $400,000 entry fee was the largest in history until the Big One for One Drop in 2012)
- Season 2 featured 24 competitors each paying $40,000 to enter, and $250,000 added to the prize pool.
- Season 3 featured 24 competitors each paying $50,000 to enter.
|Competitor||Seasons||WSOP Bracelets||WPT Wins|
|Doyle Brunson||1, 2||10||1|
|Todd Brunson||2, 3||1||0|
|Johnny Chan||1, 2, 3||10||0|
|Kassem "Freddy" Deeb||2, 3||2||1|
|Eli Elezra||2, 3||1||1|
|Antonio Esfandiari||2, 3||1||1|
|Ted Forrest||2, 3||5||1|
|Barry Greenstein||1, 2, 3||3||2+1|
|Gus Hansen||1, 3||0||3+1|
|Phil Hellmuth Jr||3||13||0|
|Phil Ivey||1, 3||7||1|
|Chris Moneymaker||2, 3||1||0|
|Carlos Mortensen||2, 3||2||2|
|David "Chip" Reese||1||3||0|
|Mike Sexton||2, 3||1+1||0|
|Mimi Tran||2, 3||0||0|
|Cyndy Violette||2, 3||1||0|
The tournament was split into two series, with each player's finishing position in the series final determining their starting chip count in the grand finale.
Similarly, the finishing position in two preliminary rounds per series determined the starting chip positions of each player in both series finals.
The Grand Final winner received $1,000,000. The payouts for the other entrants from the $3,200,000 prize pool were unclear in the broadcast. However, Phil Ivey has said, on Full Tilt, that he walked away with about $400,000, and, therefore, broke even.
In the first two rounds of each series, players start with 100,000 in chips. Their finish in each of these rounds determines their starting chips for the final round of the series as follows:
Series 1 Round 1 finish + Series 1 Round 2 finish = Starting chips for Series 1 Final
Series 2 uses the same format. Finishes in each series final are then used to determine the Grand Finale starting chip count as follows:
Finish - Finals
Series 1 Final finish + Series 2 Final finish = Starting chips for grand finale.
The blinds increased every 20 minutes.
Six players competed in each tournament, with points being allocated as follows:
- Winner: 10 points
- Runner-Up: 7 points
- 3rd place: 5 points
- 4th place: 3 points
- 5th place: 1 point
- 6th place: 0 points
Each player played six preliminary tournaments with players randomly drawn. At the end of this, the points were tallied and the 16 players with the most points progressed to the next round.
The top 16 are then split into 4 pools of players
Players in the final 16 started with 25,000 chips for every point earned up to then. (20,000 in Season 3)
Each pool had two matches, with points being allocated as follows:
- Winner: 10 points
- Runner-Up: 7 points
- 3rd place: 4 points
- 4th place: 0 points
The points were cumulated from those 2 matches, and the players with the highest points then progressed to the quarter-finals.
The quarter-finals are 2 groups with 4 players in each. Each group will play one match where the top two finishers will advance to the semi-finals. The winner of the match will start the semi-finals with 1,000,000 in chips while the runner up will start with 700,000. Players start with 50,000 chips per point earned in the round of 16.
Semi-finals and finals
Both the semi-finals and finals were played in best two out of three heads-up matches.
Time limit rule
Players had 60 seconds to act on their hands. A player failing to act was penalized the worth of one small blind. An additional small blind penalty would be imposed for each additional ten seconds without action. The collected penalties were added to the next pot. Kathy Liebert and Mimi Tran were the only players penalized in season two, for one small blind.
The payouts were as follows:
Runner Up=$140,000 USD
The total prize pool was $1.21 million. It is unclear who supplied the extra $250,000 for the pool, since 24 times 40,000 equals only $960,000. (NOTE: This problem was solved in Season 3 with a $1.2 million prize pool and $50,000 buy-in.)
Season 3 played exactly like Season 2, except for the following differences:
- The entry fee was $50,000 instead of $40,000 and the prize pool was $1.2 million instead of $1.21 million.
- Each player played five preliminary tournaments instead of six with players randomly drawn.
- The finals were played in best 3-out-of-5 rather than 2-out-of-3.
- The Top 16 Players were split into 4 groups and played 2 games with 20,000 chips for every point earned up to then. The winner of each game, with the winner of game one not participating in two, advance to the quarterfinals, starting there with 600,000 resp. 400,000 chips. Same format is used in the quarter finals, with the two advancing to the semi-finals starting with 1,500,000 resp. 1,000,000 chips.
- The time limit rule was modified. After 60 seconds, a player had five seconds to act before being assessed a one small blind penalty. An additional small blind penalty would be assessed for each additional 30 seconds without action. Phil Ivey was assessed a penalty in his first Super Sixteen match.
|Elimination/Qualifying||Finish 1st in a match||$10,000|
|Super 16||Finish 1st in Match 1 or 2||$15,000|
|Quarter Finals||Finish 2nd in Match 1 or 2||$15,000|
|Quarter Finals||Finish 1st in Match 1 or 2||$30,000|
There have been two computer games made of the first two seasons of the show.
- Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament
- Poker Superstars II
- Poker Superstars III
There is an online web version made in flash of the computer game
- Poker Superstars II Web Game
These were published by Funkitron and available at Play Poker Superstars, the official Funkitron Poker Superstars website.
- Finding the Ace Among Kings: A True Story (The Making of the Show)
- Poker Superstars (Article by Mike Sexton)
- Episode reviews
- Pokersuperstars.net (official site of show)