HSOR Inc., a major producer of television poker, unveiled a unique competition format last weekend when some of the greatest players in the world came to Las Vegas for the first-ever Intercontinental Poker Championship at the Palms, April 14-16.
CBS Sports filmed the event and will air it over eight weekend shows, to be broadcast starting Saturday, June 17, and continuing through Saturday, July 22, as part of its "CBS Sports Spectacular" programming line-up.
The No-limit Texas Hold’Em format took on a distinct international feel, assembling — by invitation only — 21 of the top poker players, representing 21 different countries, competing in a series of matches with the eventual winner taking home $500,000, a trophy and international bragging rights for the year.
A veritable "Who’s Who" of acknowledged poker greats comprised the Intercontinental field. Included in the limited gathering were colorful Sammy Farha (Lebanon), an accomplished player in the world of high stakes poker; England’s Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, a former Pot-Limit Hold’em champ; Toronto native Daniel Negreanu, aptly-nicknamed "Kid Poker"; Humberto Brenes, the "Godfather of Costa Rican" players; China’s Johnny Chan, "The Orient Express" and one of a select group of two-time World Series of Poker champions; and Doyle Brunson, the 73 year-old winner of 10 World Series of Poker bracelets and the most recognizable figure in the sport.
The international flavor of the event was accentuated prominently both on site and in the CBS telecasts with the display of flags from each of the countries represented and the playing of each country’s national anthem as part of the event presentation.
"Poker is hot," said Henry Orenstein, the HSOR president whose patented concept of allowing home television viewers to see the "hole cards" helped vault poker into the mainstream prominence that it enjoys today. "It rivals soccer and tennis as a pastime of worldwide appeal. Poker is now watched by tens of millions of people around the world."