4th Season of NBC's Poker After Dark Kicks Off on July 14

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Season premiere features a $200/$400 no-limit hold'em cash game with a minimum buy-in of $100,000.

NBC's Poker After Dark has established itself among fans worldwide as one of the foremost poker shows on television. For the first three seasons, Poker After Dark has brought together many of the world's best poker players as they have competed exclusively in deep-stacked six-handed freezeouts, usually for a $120,000 winner-take-all prize.

That is about to change.

Poker After Dark's 4th season, which premieres late night on July 14, breaks tradition with the airing of a cash game rather than the customary tournament-style freezeout. This game features blinds of $200/$400 and a minimum buy-in of $100,000. Competing in this exciting week of high-stakes cash game action are 21 year-old Tom "durrrr" Dwan (Seat 1), 11-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (Seat 2), high-stakes recreational player Mike Baxter (Seat 3), 5-time bracelet winner Allen Cunningham (Seat 4), Cirque de Soleil CEO Guy Laliberte (Seat 5), and cash game poker professional David "Viffer" Peat (Seat 6).

Fans will remember that Dwan was invited to play in the 2008 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, where he drew Phil Hellmuth in the opening match. The match lasted just 3 hands, as Dwan pushed all in preflop with pocket tens only to be called by Hellmuth who held pocket aces, but Tom made a set on the turn to defeat Phil in the shortest match in NHUPC history. Is it a coincidence that these two players are seated together this week? I don't think so.

Laliberte and Baxter have both played in televised cash games before, and both wowed fans with their play. Guy is the billionaire co-founder and CEO of the tremendously successful Cirque de Soleil and "Silent Mike" is strictly a recreational high-stakes cash game player. Peat, who is known as "Viffer," is a professional high-stakes cash game player in Las Vegas. When you first see David's hair style, it may have you adjusting the colors on your television set!

Hellmuth and Cunningham are two of only five members of the $10 million club, having live lifetime tournament winnings in excess of that amount. Allen is 1-2 on PAD, having won $300,000 in the Mega Match, while Phil is now 2-7, winning two of his three matches on PAD3. Hellmuth has played in cash games on television before, but most fans will probably witness Cunningham playing in a cash game for the first time.

The game will start with $200/$400 blinds and viewers can expect lots of straddles. Prop bets are allowed and a familiar one makes its way into the game later in the week. Players could buy in for a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $250,000, and any rebuys had to be at least $50,000. And yes, you can be sure that there will be rebuys, some even occurring after players involved in a big pot agree to run it twice. And as is customary on PAD, all of the players' hole cards will be shown, even if they are mucked preflop, so that viewers can see what cards players don't play as well as the ones they do.

This week also marks the debut of Leeann Tweeden as the program's new host. This beautiful and highly-acclaimed model and television personality will certainly give viewers another reason to tune in, as she is witty, personable, and charming. Leeann's impressive biography, as well as a great slideshow of her can be found at http://www.nbcsports.msnbc.com/poker.

The game will begin airing on NBC late night Monday at 2:05 a.m., July 14, and will continue for five consecutive nights in the same time slot. A special program called the "Director's Cut" will air late night Saturday, July 19, at 1:00 a.m., right after Saturday Night Live. This show will feature Leeann with a behind-the-scenes look at the week with highlights of key hands and insightful player interviews.

Each of the match's six segments can also be viewed daily at http://www.nbcsports.com/poker. More detailed information on all of the players competing is available in the new player profile section, which now includes all of the players from PAD's four seasons, as well as their past performance records on PAD and in NBC's National Heads-Up Poker Championship. These profiles are updated on a weekly basis.

This is the first of two weeks of cash games that will take place this season, with the second scheduled for the week of October 13. That game will feature Patrik Antonius, Dee Tiller, Howard Lederer, Doyle Brunson, Gabe Kaplan, and Eli Elezra. Where else can you watch star-studded line-ups like this other than on Poker After Dark?

This press release was written by Dennis Oehring, who serves as the Public Relations Coordinator for the firm POKER PROductions.

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