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What is Poker Night in America?

Poker Night in America is a live television show that features high-stakes sit n go tournaments and cash games played by some of the biggest names in the poker world. Poker Night in America is hosted by  Joe “Stapes” Stapleton and Heartland Poker Tour’s Chris Hanson. As such, the commentary and action are always entertaining.

Poker Night in America—Show development

The brainchild of Rush Street Productions’ president Todd Anderson—who is also the co-founder of the Heartland Poker Tour—and sponsored by 888poker, Poker Night in America hosts different tournaments and cash games at various local casinos across the U.S. Launched in 2012, the series premiered in 2014 and has been both televised and web streamed.

Founded in 2013, Rush Street Productions brought Texas Hold’em poker into American homes across the country. With more than 200 episodes already produced—and nearing the end of its sixth season—Poker Night in America continues to attract fans new and old with its fun, entertaining high-stakes games played by poker’s best professionals and celebrities.

Inaugural season

Poker Night in America’s first season was quite explosive with huge hands, huge personalities, and huge blow-ups. The show gave audiences a glimpse into the larger than life players behind the cards. The groundbreaking pilot episode was taped at Verona, New York’s Turning Stone Casino and Resort as part of the Empire State Poker Classic Main Event. Whereas this $1500 buy-in tournament typically draws a large crowd, it was even larger thanks to Poker Night in America’s casting call.

Among the various players who have appeared on Poker Night in America include Mike Matusow, Shaun Deeb, Maria Ho, Alec Torelli, Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Daniel Cates, Phil Hellmuth, Doug Polk, Dan Colman, Parker Talbott, and many more.

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Poker Night LIVE

In February, 2018, Rush Street Productions announced the launch of its new live celebrity-centric version of Poker Night in America. Poker Night LIVE was created in response to Poker Night in America’s wide popularity to include fans who don’t use Internet streaming platforms.

Filmed at Hollywood, California’s Gardens Casino, Poker Night LIVE originally aired on CBS Sports Network for 13 weeks from March to June and has already been approved for a second season. In fact, executive producer Jonnie Kedj has also worked on other programs such as World Poker Tour (WPT) televised events, Celebrity Poker Showdown, and PokerStars Big Game.

Anderson’s ongoing attempts to revolutionize and reimagine televised poker to make it more fan-friendly and attract a wider audience succeeded. Now, viewers to see and hear all the goings on at the table as if they were there themselves. The live no-limit Hold’em cash games have lower stakes than Poker Night in America—typically $25/$50—to enable the celebrities to let loose, have fun, and entertain their interesting guests and viewers. And as we all know, anything can happen on live TV.

In fact, Poker Night in America host Stapleton emerged from the booth and partook of the table action. An accomplished poker player and all-around funny guy, Stapes brings his comedic wit and extensive experience having announced some of the most memorable hands in Poker Night in America history into TV sets across the country.

Four memorable Poker Night in America hands

1. What do you get when you cross a crazy $41,000 pot between Phil Laak and Shaun Deeb? Take a look at this season two hand from New York’s Turning Stone Casino and Resort. 

2. Here’s a season two hand that features Hellmuth and Alec Torelli.

3. In another season four clip, this time at Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino, Doug Polk owns Phil Hellmuth and Jeremy Kaufman.

4.  Shaun Deeb is rarely perplexed. Here, Avi Freedman’s river shove actually baffles Deeb.

For more information

Poker Night in America recently launched an app that lets viewers enter sweepstakes where they can win a variety of prizes including an all-expense paid trip to play poker on national television.

As season six is just about to end, you can catch episodes on the Poker Night in America website as well as the Poker Night in America Twitch and YouTube channels. For up-to-date news about the program, follow the Poker Night in America Twitter account and Facebook page.

Are you a Poker Night in America fan? How about Poker Night LIVE? Please chime in below.

Until next time.

Note: Want to upgrade your poker skills? Get free preflop charts here and start playing like a pro before the flop. Download now!

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About the Author
Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.

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