“Poker Night in America” Announces Cast for First Episode
As the staff prepares for the taping of their first ever production for the new series, Rush Street Productions – the team behind the new poker television program “Poker Night in America” – has announced two people who were chosen from an open casting call to be the focal point of the debut episode.
Set to begin taping today, “Poker Night in America” is journeying to the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, NY, for the Empire State Poker Classic Main Event. The $1500 buy in tournament normally draws a huge contingent of East Coast grinders for the event, but this year’s tournament has garnered attention because of the decision by “Poker Night in America” brass to debut their show at that location. “Poker Night in America” will be bringing a host of top names along with the two people chosen through the casting call for the event.
The two people chosen, Kristy Arnett (known for her work in the poker industry) and Lauren Billings, will be joined by a formidable squad of Las Vegas professional players for the airplane trip to New York. 2013 double World Series of Poker bracelet winner Tom Schneider, fellow 2013 WSOP bracelet champion Eli Elezra, six time WSOP bracelet winner Layne Flack, Mike Matusow, Greg Mueller, Gavin Smith, David Williams, Phil Laak, David “ODB” Baker, Shawn Buchanan and David Levi will be in attendance at the Turning Stone festivities, with plans for the entire cast to take part in the Main Event and a special cash game.
Not content to stick with just the Las Vegas contingent, “Poker Night in America” is teasing that some of the top talent on the East Coast could potentially be making an appearance on the inaugural program. Matt Glantz, Amanda Musumeci, Shaun Deeb, Will “The Thrill” Failla, former “November Niners” Darvin Moon and Dennis Phillips, Dwyte Pilgrim and Nick “Nicky Numbers” Brancato have committed to playing in the Turning Stone Main Event and could very well find their way in front of the cameras for “Poker Night in America.”
“Our mission is to revolutionize televised poker,” said Nolan Dalla, the show’s Creative Director. “We want to make poker fun again…that starts with bringing in some of the game’s most entertaining personalities, turning on the cameras all over the place and capturing the magic that we all know happens but we rarely see on television. We want this to be a real game-changer.”
“Poker Night in America” is the brainchild of the developer of the Heartland Poker Tour, Todd Anderson, who is looking to bring something different to poker fans and, at the same time, reinvigorate the poker television genre. Although they are focusing on a tournament with their first episode, the cameras won’t always be concentrated on the action on the felt. Meant to give a “you are there” feel to the viewer, “Poker Night in America” will follow the featured players before, during and after the event in an attempt to capture all the drama associated with poker.
This is only the first stop for the “Poker Night in America” team as they traverse the United States. Three other events will be taped this year, but there aren’t any details on where or what will take place on those occasions. Early “sizzle” reels on the program have stated that the program could go to home games, celebrity homes, and other locations where cameras don’t normally venture for poker.
“Poker Night In America” is set to debut with the Turning Stone tapings in early 2014 and, with the players that they have been able to tap for the inaugural program, may present an exciting variation on poker broadcasting, one that hasn’t been seen on television as of yet.
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