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Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament

The Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament was a series of no limit Texas hold 'em poker tournaments. The first season is available on NTSC DVD. It airs on Fox Sports Net in the United States, Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and ftn in the United Kingdom.

Crew

The first series was hosted by Chris Rose, with support from poker author Michael Konik and poker professional Mark Gregorich. Mark Gregorich left the show at the end of the first season.

The first series grand finale aired in February 2005 on the same day as Super Bowl XXXIX. Fox carried the Super Bowl that year, so instead of the series' usual home on FSN, NBC carried the finale instead. It was hosted by Matt Vasgersian, with support from poker professional Erick Lindgren. Backstage interviews were conducted by poker player Evelyn Ng.

The first series was Executive Produced by David Doyle and Directed by Brian Lockwood.

Howard "The Professor" Lederer replaced Michael Konik at the beginning of the 3rd season, with Annie Duke joining for several episodes as a "special guest". Mary Strong conducted the backstage interviews.

Competitors

Competitor Seasons WSOP Bracelets WPT Wins
Doyle Brunson 1, 2 10 1
Todd Brunson 2, 3 1 0
Mike Caro 2 0 0
Johnny Chan 1, 2, 3 10 0
T.J. Cloutier 1 6 0
Kassem "Freddy" Deeb 2, 3 2 1
Eli Elezra 2, 3 1 1
Antonio Esfandiari 2, 3 1 1
Chris Ferguson 3 5 0
Ted Forrest 2, 3 5 1
Chau Giang 2 3 0
Barry Greenstein 1, 2, 3 3 2+1
David Grey 2 2 0
Joe Hachem 3 1 1
Bobby Hoff 2 0 0
Gus Hansen 1, 3 0 3+1
Jennifer Harman 3 2 0
Phil Hellmuth Jr 3 13 0
Phil Ivey 1, 3 7 1
Howard Lederer 1 2 2
Kathy Liebert 2 1 0
Erick Lindgren 3 1 2
Mike Matusow 3 3+1 0
Chris Moneymaker 2, 3 1 0
Carlos Mortensen 2, 3 2 2
John Myung 2 0 0
Daniel Negreanu 3 4 2
Scotty Nguyen 2 4 1
Greg Raymer 3 1 0
David "Chip" Reese 1 3 0
Huck Seed 2 4 0
Mike Sexton 2, 3 1+1 0
Jeff Shulman 3 0 0
David Sklansky 2 3 0+1
Jennifer Tilly 3 0+1 0+1
Dewey Tomko 2 3 0
Mimi Tran 2, 3 0 0
Cyndy Violette 2, 3 1 0
Tommy Wang 2 0 0

Structure

Season 1

The tournament was split into two series, with each player's finishing position in the series final determining their starting chip count in the grand finale.

Similarly, the finishing position in two preliminary rounds per series determined the starting chip positions of each player in both series finals.

The Grand Final winner received $1,000,000. The payouts for the other entrants from the $3,200,000 prize pool were unclear in the broadcast. However, Phil Ivey has said, on Full Tilt, that he walked away with about $400,000, and, therefore, broke even.

In the first two rounds of each series, players start with 100,000 in chips. Their finish in each of these rounds determines their starting chips for the final round of the series as follows:

Finish

  1. 250,000
  2. 150,000
  3. 112,000
  4. 88,000
  5. 72,000
  6. 56,000
  7. 40,000
  8. 32,000

Series 1 Round 1 finish + Series 1 Round 2 finish = Starting chips for Series 1 Final

Series 2 uses the same format. Finishes in each series final are then used to determine the Grand Finale starting chip count as follows:

Finish - Finals

  1. 500,000
  2. 300,000
  3. 224,000
  4. 176,000
  5. 144,000
  6. 112,000
  7. 80,000
  8. 64,000

Series 1 Final finish + Series 2 Final finish = Starting chips for grand finale.

Season 2

24 Players

Blind structure

The blinds increased every 20 minutes.

Qualifying rounds

Six players competed in each tournament, with points being allocated as follows:

Each player played six preliminary tournaments with players randomly drawn. At the end of this, the points were tallied and the 16 players with the most points progressed to the next round.

Final 16

The top 16 are then split into 4 pools of players

Players in the final 16 started with 25,000 chips for every point earned up to then. (20,000 in Season 3)

Each pool had two matches, with points being allocated as follows:

The points were cumulated from those 2 matches, and the players with the highest points then progressed to the quarter-finals.

Quarter-finals

The quarter-finals are 2 groups with 4 players in each. Each group will play one match where the top two finishers will advance to the semi-finals. The winner of the match will start the semi-finals with 1,000,000 in chips while the runner up will start with 700,000. Players start with 50,000 chips per point earned in the round of 16.

Semi-finals and finals

Both the semi-finals and finals were played in best two out of three heads-up matches.

Time limit rule

Players had 60 seconds to act on their hands. A player failing to act was penalized the worth of one small blind. An additional small blind penalty would be imposed for each additional ten seconds without action. The collected penalties were added to the next pot. Kathy Liebert and Mimi Tran were the only players penalized in season two, for one small blind.

Payouts

The payouts were as follows:

Winner=$400,000 USD

Runner Up=$140,000 USD

The total prize pool was $1.21 million. It is unclear who supplied the extra $250,000 for the pool, since 24 times 40,000 equals only $960,000. (NOTE: This problem was solved in Season 3 with a $1.2 million prize pool and $50,000 buy-in.)

Season 3

Season 3 played exactly like Season 2, except for the following differences:

Payouts

Round Condition Amount
Elimination/Qualifying Finish 1st in a match $10,000
Super 16 Finish 1st in Match 1 or 2 $15,000
Quarter Finals Finish 2nd in Match 1 or 2 $15,000
Quarter Finals Finish 1st in Match 1 or 2 $30,000
Semi-Finals Finish 2nd $30,000
Semi-Finals Finish 1st $50,000
Final Finish 2nd $140,000
Final Finish 1st $400,000

Results

Season 1

Read main article: Poker Superstars season 1 results

Season 2

Read main article: Poker Superstars season 2 results

Season 3

Read main article: Poker Superstars season 3 results

Computer versions

There have been two computer games made of the first two seasons of the show.

There is an online web version made in flash of the computer game

These were published by Funkitron and available at Play Poker Superstars, the official Funkitron Poker Superstars website.

The AI used in them was created by Brian Sheppard, the programmer who created the Maven Scrabble playing AI for Scrabble.

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