Pokerdome clears hurdle with regulators

Jun 13, 2006 4:56 AM

The organizers of a downtown Pokerdome, which would be the site of a high-stakes game show based on poker, won’t be required to get a Nevada gaming license.

Nevada regulators said last week that since the show featured contestants vying for a monetary prize, they would not be gambling.

Fox Sports Network (FSN), in conjunction with, is promoting the Pokerdome and accompanying TV series featuring high stakes, new formats and ground-breaking technology.

The Pokerdome arena and studio is being carved out of three movie theaters at Neonopolis. It is slated to debut in late July with its first tournament, which will be later broadcast on FSN owned-and-affiliated regional sports networks. The games will continue for 43 consecutive weeks.

The Pokerdome currently under construction will feature a poker table, complete with an automated card tracking system, integrated chip counting capabilities, hole card-cam and robotic cameras focused on each player’s face.

The Pokerdome also will come equipped with special cameras and card technology that allows viewers to see the burn cards — or discarded cards — before dealers flip the active cards, plus a rabbit-hunting camera for each hand, letting fans know what would have happened if each hand went to completion.

About 200 spectators will be able to view the action, but from behind soundproof glass barriers.

Over the course of the 43 weeks, an ever-evolving labyrinth of seven- and eight-week tournaments will combine to determine one final champion. These circuits will feature a weekly winner, each of whom collecting a $5,000 purse and earning a seat at that circuit’s final table.

A win there would result in a shot at the $1,000,000 winner-take-all series finale championship table. The spotlight game, and one that will be played for multiple circuits, is a new version of Texas Hold’em, Speed Poker.

Imagine poker on an NBA shot-clock. Now imagine that shot-clock always at fast-break speed. Players will have 15 seconds to bet, check or fold. Instead of playing the standard 15-20 hands an hour, Speed Poker will ratchet that up to 80-100 hands an hour. It’s poker on triple espresso.

In addition to Speed Poker, other circuits in the series are scheduled to include an amateur poker challenge, a pros-only points system tournament and many others.