Rio to host 3-card poker tourney

Jan 16, 2006 2:20 AM

Las Vegas-based Shuffle Master has teamed up with the Game Show Network (GSN) to air the finals of the first ever Three Card Poker National Championship Tournament, which will be held at The Rio in Las Vegas.

The cable TV special, hosted by Mark L. Walberg ("Temptation Island," and "Russian Roulette") and Danielle Demski (Miss Arizona 2004 and Miss USA Finalist), is slated to air April 17 and April 24.

"As the network for games, we know how much fun and popular Three Card Poker has become in the last few years," said Ian Valentine, GSN’s senior vice president of programming. "We are excited to be the first network to bring this game to television. I promise a lot of thrills and chills in the show."

The popularity of Three Card Poker has risen quickly over the past nine years, making it one of the most played casino table games in North America, with international expansion close behind. Shuffle Master includes a portfolio of proprietary table games including Three Card Poker and Let It Ride Bonus.

"We are excited about giving away $1 million to the winner of our first event," said Brooke Dunn, senior vice president of Shuffle Master. "Next year we anticipate bigger crowds and more players competing for the finals at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. We expect to conduct 30 to 35 regional events in 2006 throughout North America."

Shuffle Master held 20 regional Three Card Poker tournaments throughout North America, and over 250 people qualified to play in the finals at the Rio. The special will focus on the nine finalists as they battle for the $1 million dollar grand prize and a diamond and ruby-encrusted bracelet worth over $30,000.

"GSN is on the forefront of bringing casino games to television in a compelling and entertaining manner," stated the show’s executive producer, Eric Schotz. "Three Card Poker is a perfect fit for viewers. It is a game based on skill and luck that anyone can play."

In Three Card Poker, players compete against the dealer. Each is dealt three cards face-down and must make the best poker hand with them. Hand rankings are slightly different from five-card poker: straights beat flushes, and the highest ranking hand is a straight flush. There are three wagers, pair plus, which pays based on the rank of the hand and the ante and play wagers that pay off if the player’s hand is higher than the dealer’s hand. The dealer must have a queen high or better to qualify.