Norm Macdonald New Host of GSNs High Stakes Poker
GSN’S “HIGH STAKES POKER” TO LAUNCH SEVENTH SEASON
WITH NEW HOST NORM MACDONALD ON FEBRUARY 26, 2011
HIGH STAKES POKER 7 Promises Riveting Poker Action with an Outstanding Line-up of World-Renowned Players and Exciting Newcomers
Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Jonathan Duhamel, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Galfond, Barry Greenstein, Phil Laak, Jason Mercier and Daniel Negreanu All Hit the Table for the Premiere Cash Game on Television
(Santa Monica, CA) February 7, 2011 — The seventh season of HIGH STAKES POKER will premiere on GSN on Saturday, February 26, featuring a new host—poker player and comedian Norm Macdonald. True to its reputation as the premiere cash game on television, the new season will feature an extraordinary line-up of world-renowned poker champions and high-stakes amateurs. The competition takes place at the five-diamond Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the mecca for high-stakes poker competition since its opening in 1998. Acclaimed poker player and TV personality Kara Scott will co-host HIGH STAKES POKER with Macdonald, providing illuminating behind-the-scenes reports, revealing player interviews and expert poker analysis. Season 7 of HIGH STAKES POKER will premiere on Saturday, February 26, 2011, airing Saturday nights at 8:00 PM and 11:00 PM ET/PT, only on GSN.
Norm Macdonald begins his first season as host of HIGH STAKES POKER, following longtime host Gabe Kaplan. Macdonald is a passionate poker player who has competed in The World Series of Poker and in celebrity poker tournaments, playing for charity on behalf of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang camp for children with cancer. Macdonald boasts a long career in comedy—and a serious reputation as a poker player. Born in Quebec, Canada, Macdonald began his career in stand-up comedy before landing writing jobs on “The Dennis Miller Show” and “Roseanne.” Attracting the attention of “Saturday Night Live” creator-producer Lorne Michaels, Macdonald joined the SNL cast in 1993, and shot to fame as the anchor of the fake-news segment, Weekend Update. His other television series include “Norm” and “A Minute with Stan Hooper,” and he has appeared in feature films with Chevy Chase (“Dirty Work”), Dave Chappelle (“Screwed”) and his good friend Adam Sandler (“Grown Ups”).
Macdonald is joining a GSN talent roster that includes Drew Carey, Wendy Williams, Bill Engvall, Jerry Springer, Sherri Shepherd, and Carrie Ann Inaba.
This season will bring together a mix of top professionals and wealthy amateur players, each eager to take the others’ money in a high-stakes no-limit hold ’em cash game. The game features two-time World Series of Poker Main Event Champions—Doyle Brunson, making his seventh HSP appearance, and Johnny Chan, who is making only his second HSP appearance—along with the reigning World Champion, 23-year-old Jonathan Duhamel, who won $8.9 million for his World Series of Poker Main Event victory in November 2010.
Fan favorites Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, and Barry Greenstein all participated, as they have done for each of the previous six seasons. Other familiar names from past seasons include David Peat (Season 5), Andrew Robl (Season 6), Phil Laak (Seasons 2-6), Jason Mercier (Season 6), Haralabos Voulgaris (Season 4), Phil Galfond (Seasons 4 & 6), and amateur Mike Baxter (Seasons 4-5).
Season 7 of HIGH STAKES POKER is as much about the newcomers—both professional and amateur—who will be making their HSP debut as it is about the returning veterans. Professional player Vanessa Selbst, who had a tremendous year on the tournament circuit in 2010, is only the third woman ever to appear on the show. A total of six new amateurs will also participate: Robert Croak, the creator of SillyBandz; Bill Klein, a retired businessman and philanthropist; billionaire entrepreneur Phil Ruffin, who owns the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, as well as many other successful ventures; Julian Movsesian, a life insurance executive whose company specializes in serving high-end clients; Bill Perkins, president of a private equity and venture capital firm; and Erik Boneta, a watch dealer and wholesaler who specializes in Rolex watches.
The full player line-up for the Season 7 of HIGH STAKES POKER is:
Kara Scott begins her second season as co-host of HIGH STAKES POKER. Scott, an expert poker player and poker journalist, was the only woman to finish in the money in both the 2008 and 2009 World Series of Poker Main Events, and only the second woman in history to do so in back-to-back years. She also finished second in the 2009 Irish Open in Dublin.
Featuring a minimum cash buy-in of $200,000 and a maximum buy-in of $500,000, HIGH STAKES POKER is the premiere cash game in the history of television. For the seventh season, the blinds were $400/$800 with a $100 ante. Straddles were frequent and often multiple. Several players were felted, so rebuys and add-ons were prevalent.
Inspired by the beautiful villages of Europe, the AAA Five Diamond Bellagio overlooks a Mediterranean-blue, eight-acre lake in which fountains perform a magnificent aquatic ballet choreographed to music and lights. Within Bellagio are award-winning dining experiences including two AAA Five Diamond restaurants, Julian Serrano's Picasso and Le Cirque from the renowned Maccioni family. The resort’s retail promenade, Via Bellagio, includes the luxury shops of Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Prada, Fred Leighton, Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Fendi. A world-class art gallery, the exquisite Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the stunning “O” by Cirque du Soleil®, a luxurious spa and salon and an elegant casino all add to the extraordinary Bellagio experience. Bellagio is a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts International™. For more information and reservations, visit the Web site at www.bellagio.com, or call toll free at (888) 987-6667.
GSN is a multimedia entertainment company that offers original and classic game programming and competitive entertainment via its 75-million subscriber television network and online game sites. GSN’s cross-platform content gives game lovers the opportunity to win cash and prizes, whether through GSN’s popular TV game shows or through GSN Digital’s free casual games, cash competitions and social games. GSN is distributed throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Canada by all major cable operators, satellite providers and telcos. GSN and its subsidiary, WorldWinner.com, Inc., are owned by DIRECTV and Sony Pictures Entertainment. For further information, visit GSN at www.gsn.com.