Poker Central to Broadcast Global Poker League, Super High Roller Bowl in 2016



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After catching a great deal of flak for simply airing repeats of programs that are several years old instead of the bold, innovative programming that they promised, the 24/7 poker channel Poker Central seems to be stepping up its game a bit for the beginning of 2016. Not only will one of their more popular pieces of programming return later this year, one of the enterprises with a great deal of potential will be hitting its airwaves in a special deal.

In 2015, Poker Central teased the poker community – offered an appetizer if you will – when they broadcast the inaugural event of the Super High Roller Bowl that was won by Brian Rast over the NBC Sports Network. This year, with Poker Central up and running, the tournament will be broadcast over the network itself, with the cameras taping at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from May 29-June 1. The date of the Super High Roller Bowl should allow for a sizeable number of pros to be able to be in town for the tournament as the World Series of Poker will also have kicked into action at the same time.

Instead of the $500,000 buy-in featured last year, the players will have to “only” come up with $300,000 in 2016 for the tournament. Unlike last year, though, the tournament will feature 49 players and one unnamed sponsor will contribute $300,000 to bring the prize pool to $15 million. Seven players will reach the final table, with the seventh place finisher earning the minimum payday of $600,000 and the first place finisher taking down $5 million. Additionally, because of the sponsorship, players will be wearing “business casual” attire and no sunglasses will be permitted at the table.

With players such as Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth already committed to playing in the event (along with 14 spots reserved by ARIA for their own stable of high rollers), the powers that be with Poker Central are looking forward to another great tournament. “The 2016 Super High Roller Bowl is bound to be one of the most talked-about events of 2016,” Mori Eskandani, the president of POKER PROductions, stated during the announcement of the tournament. “We are excited to return to produce this live event.” Joining him for the announcement was Clint Stinchcomb, the Chief Executive Officer of Poker Central, who added, “There are few poker events that can change the landscape of the game overnight – the Super High Roller Bowl is one of them. The 2016 Super High Roller Bowl will be even more exciting than last year’s event!

The Super High Roller Bowl was a bold step when Poker Central created it in 2015 and they aren’t done with taking chances as of yet. For 2016, they will be joining with Mediarex Sports & Entertainment – the organization behind Alexandre Dreyfus’ Global Poker Index and, perhaps most important in this case, the Global Poker League – to serve as the broadcast partner for the inaugural season of the GPL on Poker Central. The announcement of the partnership came with the unveiling of the 12 teams that will make up the GPL last week.

Beginning in early April, Poker Central will be airing live and taped GPL matches in primetime twice a week. This will be the only outlet that will be presenting the GPL events at this time and both sides are pulling out all the stops to make them a full show, including pregame and postgame shows along with the live and taped matches. Poker Central will also be the home for the GPL Playoffs in the summer of 2016 and its inaugural World Championship.

Broadcasting the GPL’s inaugural season is quite the coup for Poker Central. “We are excited to partner with the Global Poker League in this new and exciting approach to poker,” Stinchcomb said. “The Global Poker League’s innovations, technology and staging is sure to keep fans riveted.” Dreyfus, as is his usual vision, is looking at how both the GPL and Poker Central are looking to change the world of poker in saying, “Both Poker Central and GPL were created for the same reason – to take poker to the masses and to make it as popular as any other professional sport. Poker Central will help GPL connect to fans worldwide.”

The GPL is the ambitious “sportification” of poker effort launched by Dreyfus that he expects to move poker beyond its casino and gambling leanings. 12 teams in locales such as Las Vegas, Sao Paolo, Brazil, Moscow, Paris and Montreal, Quebec, Canada (just to name a few) and managed by icons of the poker world such as former World Champion Chris Moneymaker, French poker legend Fabrice Soulier and Italian poker hero Max Pescatori (no word on who actually OWNS the teams, however) will build teams from the top 1000 players on the Global Poker Index rankings. Two of the players who make up the teams will be “Wild Cards,” literally meaning they can be anyone on the planet. Then the teams will compete and hopefully draw interest from not only the poker world but the sporting world as well.

The new programs do show that Poker Central is attempting to get some new content on the air. The problem still remains, however, that they need much, much more new programming than the old broadcasts of Poker After Dark, old World Poker Tour and Matchroom Sports broadcasts and last year’s Super High Roller Bowl to satiate viewers.

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