Poker News Daily can confirm that Team PokerStars Pro member Vanessa Rousso will not be the next co-host of GSN’s “High Stakes Poker.” The revelation comes on the heels of the news that longtime host A.J. Benza will not return for Season 6.
A cryptic message posted on Rousso’s Twitter feed set the industry ablaze with rumor that she would be the next host of “High Stakes Poker” alongside Gabe Kaplan. The entry, which was posted last Tuesday, read, “PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge is wrappppped! Woot! Meetings today about another TV project, will keep you all posted.” Rousso is one of four PokerStars pros to compete on the FOX “Million Dollar Challenge” franchise, joining Chris Moneymaker, Barry Greenstein, and the show’s front man, Daniel Negreanu. The show debuted following the NFL on FOX last Sunday.
When prompted for comment on whether she would make her GSN debut when “High Stakes Poker” Season 6 begins airing in February, Rousso told Poker News Daily via e-mail, “I’m not sure where the rumor started but I’m not the new co-host of HSP.” Rousso was the runner-up in the 2009 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, which aired on NBC, falling to Huck Seed in the finals. That event saw the 26 year-old poker whiz defeat Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Paul Wasicka, Daniel Negreanu, and Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier en route to the final pairing.
Just before the National Heads-Up Poker Championship began, Rousso inked an agreement to become the next Go Daddy Girl. She joined a star-studded lineup of faces that represent the domain name reseller, including Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, and Candice Michelle. Rousso has a wealth of poker experience under her belt, including final table bubbles in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship during Season IV and the Southern Poker Championship during Season VII; those earned her a combined $342,000.
In a recent blog entry posted on DoylesRoom.com, site namesake Doyle Brunson commented on the future host of “High Stakes Poker,” saying, “Vanessa Rousso is named as [A.J. Benza’s] likely replacement. I’m pro-Vanessa so I think she will fit in nicely with the old comic Gabe Kaplan.” Benza reported that the next host of “High Stakes Poker” would be female. Other rumored replacements include Kara Scott, Shana Hiatt, and Leeann Tweeden.
GSN officials expect to release more information on Friday as to the future co-host of “High Stakes Poker.” The cash game is scheduled to begin filming in November from Las Vegas.