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Poker After Dark Season 5

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The fifth season of poker after dark

Close but no Cigar Week consisted of players who at the time of taping had played at a WSOP Main Event final table but did not win.

This season’s Nets vs. Vets Cash Game was Eli Elezra’s fourth PAD appearance, always sitting in Seat 6.
Elezra has only played in cash games or during weeks when the final prize has been larger than the normal $120,000.

Dream Table III was the first time the contest winner did not use Seat 6.
Mike Matusow is the only pro to participate in all three Dream Table games.
The two weeks of Hellmuth Bash games were the first time the same six players appeared over 10 consecutive episodes of play.
Celebrities and Mentors week was completed in four episodes. The director’s cut was aired as the fifth episode, and a “Best Of” look back at Seasons 1-5 was aired at the usual time for the director’s cut.

Season 5 started with three veteran Poker After Dark players securing their first PAD wins (Matusow, Gordon and Bloch).
In Celebrities and Mentors, the mentor-celebrity relationships were Greenstein-Alexander, Smith-Hershier and Gordon-Cheadle.

With a minimum of 16 new episodes being shown in 2009 (including four remaining from Season 4), poker fans will have plenty of opportunity to catch some of the most exciting poker ever to be filmed.

Renowned for its unique format and high-profile professional players, Poker After Dark sets the bar higher each year, yet keeps finding a way to put the previous seasons to shame. With six weeks of “winner takes all” sit-and-go tournaments, and seven full weeks of cash games, there will be plenty of action to keep viewers entertained each week.

Tournament Matchups

All tournaments are $20,000 buy-in, six-handed, winner-takes-all events.

* The Magnificent Six: Featuring six of the biggest names in poker: Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth.
* National Pride: Season 5’s national pride pits the U.S.A. against Italy. Playing for Team USA: Ferguson, Lederer and Erick Lindgren. Playing for Team Italy: Marco Traniello, Max Pescatori and Dario Minieri.
* Celebrities and Mentors: Three celebrities and the players who taught them some tricks. Former MLB pitcher Orel Hershiser sits across from Gavin Smith; the great Jason Alexander uses the pointers received from Barry Greenstein against him, and Don Cheadle battles with onetime tutor Phil Gordon.
* International Week: This popular segment is back, featuring “Yukon” Brad Booth from Canada, David Benyamine from France, Alan Cunningham of the United States, John Juanda from Indonesia, John “The Razor” Phan from Vietnam and the WSOP and WSOPE sensation Ivan Demidov from Russia (with love).
* Dram Match III: Forty-four-year-old amateur Arnold Thimons from Greensburg, Pa. won the honor of getting to choose five players to play against for a $120,000 first-place prize. His list includes: Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Mike Matusow, Johnny Chan and Daniel Negreanu.

Cash-Game Matchups

All cash games are $200/$400 blinds with a $100,000 min./$250,000 max. buy-in. Stakes can be raised if all players agree; straddles props and flips are allowed.

* Nets vs. Vets: Three online stars face off with three established live poker players. From teh interwebs we have: Taylor “Green Plastic” Caby, Cole “CTS” South and David “Raptor” Benefield. The final three seats are filled with live players: Doyle Brunson, Gabe Kaplan and Eli Elezra.
* The Hellmuth Bash: Two full weeks will be devoted to Phil Hellmuth on the table with Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Kenny “Sick Call” Tran and high-stakes recreational player Bob Safai.
* Railbird Heaven: Named after the high-stakes Full Tilt table “RailHeaven,” for two weeks this installment will feature high-stakes players: Patrik Antonius, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and David “Viffer” Peat, who will share time with Hansen. With these action junkies together in one place, you can expect some serious action, expensive props and sick flips.
* The final two weeks need no name – the players at the table are headline enough: Eli Elezra, Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey and Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies.

With all of these incredible matchups, featuring some of the biggest names in poker, Poker After Dark’s Season 5 guarantees to deliver some of the best poker action in 2009. Keep your tuner to NBC starting Dec. 29.