Steve Schirripa, an actor on the popular “Sopranos” television series on HBO, will host “Face the Ace” on NBC. The grand prize on the poker meets reality television program is $1 million and airing begins on August 1st. The show represents NBC’s first venture into prime time poker programming.
Qualifiers for “Face the Ace” are currently running on Full Tilt Poker for one of seven episodes that will hit the airwaves on August 1st and occupy the 9:00pm ET time slot. The following Saturday, “Face the Ace” will air during the same time period; follow up shows will be beamed into households around the country on a schedule to be determined. The show’s concept is simple: A player will choose from among four doors. Behind each of them is a different professional poker player, appropriately dubbed an “ace.” They will then battle “mano a mano” on the green felts. If the contestant can beat the pro, according to a press release distributed by NBC officials this week, “They will have the opportunity to take the money they have won and leave or risk it all and choose another door and battle a different pro for a significantly larger sum of money.”
Successfully besting three of the game’s top pros in a row will earn a contestant the top prize of $1 million. Losing a match along the way means they’ll leave empty-handed. As the show is primarily sponsored by Full Tilt Poker, the site’s pros make up the “aces.” They include Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Allen Cunningham, John Juanda, Jennifer Harman, Phil Gordon, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Gus Hansen, and Patrik Antonius. The show’s official website states that winners will be put up at the Golden Nugget, which was also home to the first and fifth seasons of GSN’s “High Stakes Poker.”
Qualifying for “Face the Ace” involves winning a series of freerolls. The winner of each Round 1 freeroll (which take place constantly on Full Tilt Poker) moves onto Round 2. The second installment of freerolls occurs every Wednesday and Sunday at 9:15pm ET. Each winner earns entry into one of three “Face the Ace” Final Qualifiers. These take place at 9:15pm ET on May 25th, 9:15pm ET on June 8th, and 9:15pm ET on June 22nd. The top 10 in each of these tournaments takes home a prize package to head to Las Vegas to potentially compete on “Face the Ace.” Each “Face the Ace” tournament is color-coded tan in the Full Tilt lobby. The prize package includes round trip airfare for two to Sin City, $500 in cash, accommodations for two at the Golden Nugget, and a chance to audition for “Face the Ace.”
Jon Miller, Executive Vice-President of NBC Sports, told Poker News Daily, “Face the Ace gives us a chance to continue our great relationship with Poker Productions and provide people at home with an exciting opportunity to get in the game. We are thrilled to have Steve Schirripa on board as the host – with his fun personality we knew he was the perfect guy for the job.” The first Las Vegas filming is scheduled to take place on July 9th and contestants must be at least 21 years old to play.
Full Tilt Poker’s dot net educational arm serves as the official sponsor for the seventh season of the World Poker Tour (WPT), which is in the midst of airing on Fox Sports Net. Full Tilt received an on-felt presence as part of its package with the WPT. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas is fronted by Everest Poker, whereas its London version is sponsored by Betfair. Visit Full Tilt Poker for more information on qualifying for “Face the Ace.”