The seventh season of poker after dark
Poker PROductions announced this week that its popular poker television program “Poker After Dark” has concluded the taping of its seventh season. Filmed at the Aria Resort and Casino at CityCenter in Las Vegas, the season premiere will air the week of January 3rd on NBC.
Season 7 will tie for the second longest season in the show’s history, spanning 13 weeks. The fifth season, filmed in 2009, was the longest at 16 weeks, or 96 episodes. The upcoming season will build on the popularity of cash games, all but phasing out the original six-handed sit and go competitions upon which “Poker After Dark” was built.
That said, the first week of the new season will feature a $100,000 buy-in sit and go dubbed “Big Heat.” Competing for the winner-take-all prize pool will be popular high-stakes action seekers Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, John Juanda, Erick Lindgren, Phil Ivey, and Huck Seed.
The other two sit and gos will feature the traditional $20,000 buy-in and a richer $50,000 buy-in. The $20,000 version will be called “Wish List,” with amateur Mike Dappen taking on Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, Jennifer Harman, Erica Schoenberg, and Chris Ferguson. Dappen won the opportunity to play for the $300,000 first prize by winning the Howard and Suzie Lederer Charity Poker Tournament, which raised money for the Boys and Girls Clubs.
The $50,000 tournament, named “Idol,” will see Doyle Brunson go up against five young pros: Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin, Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad, Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger, Melanie “Callisto 5″ Weisner, and Dwan.
The rest of the competitions will be cash games, each of which will span two weeks. Two will have a minimum buy-in of $100,000. The first of these will include Brandon Adams, Matusow, Ferguson, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Jean-Robert Bellande, Peter Jetten, and Hellmuth. Hellmuth will return for the second $100,000 cash game, along with Antonio Esfandiari, Obrestad, Andy Bloch, Seed, and Justin “Boosted J” Smith.
A $150,000 buy-in cash game will see Eli Elezra, David “Viffer” Peat, Phil Laak, Greg “FBT” Mueller, Olivier Busquet, and Lederer all try to take each other’s money, while Ivey, Dwan, Patrik Antonius, Peat, Elezra, and David Oppenheim will sit down for another cash game with at least $200,000 at stake per person.
While all of the above cash games will be No Limit Hold’em, there will be one $100,000 cash game that will feature Pot Limit Omaha as the game of choice. Sitting down at this table will be Ivey, Galfond, Adams, Antonius, Dwan, Brian Hastings, and Jared “harrington25″ Bleznick.
With 10 of the 13 weeks consisting of cash games, Season 7 will be far and away the most cash game heavy of all of the “Poker After Dark” cycles. It was not until Season 4 in 2008 that cash games were part of the lineup. The show was exclusively six-handed sit and gos for its first three seasons, serving as a compliment to GSN’s “High Stakes Poker,” another Poker PROductions program that consisted of only cash games.
In Season 4, which was only seven weeks long, the first and seventh weeks were cash games, while the third was a special four-player “Heads-Up Challenge.” Of the 16 weeks of Season 5, seven were cash games. Six more weeks were cash games in the 13-week Season 6.
Poker PROductions also revealed this week that it has extended its deal with NBC Universal to produce “Poker After Dark” through 2014. Aria will continue to serve as the host casino for the show’s filming through at least 2013.