It’ll be the first time a tourney final will be shown live on a national broadcast.

Jason DiBenedetto, poker room manager at the casino, believes the live coverage will bolster the already surging popularity of TV poker.

“It makes poker a sport similar to any other sport, where you can play the event right as it happens,” he said.

Up to 108 players will compete in the “No-limit Hold ’em” tournament, which begins today at noon. Players paid a $10,000 “buy-in” fee to secure a place in the tournament. The six-player final will be broadcast at 6 p.m. Wednesday on Fox Sports Net, and the winner could walk away with $500,000 in cash.

As part of the live broadcast, Fox will introduce a computer-based card reader system that will display players’ cards immediately on television screens. This new technology will eliminate the need for “peeker” cameras, which are usually necessary to view the players’ cards, said DiBenedetto.

The promise of a televised final has helped to draw a pool of high-profile players, including Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 World Series of Poker champion.

Al Krux, of Fayetteville, who placed sixth in the 2004 World Series of Poker, is looking forward to the tournament but admits that competition will be stiff.

“The cream of the crop will be there for this tournament at Turning Stone,” said Krux, who has been playing professionally for about 35 years. “I’ll bet there will be 30 to 40 of the best players in the world – maybe more.”

Meanwhile, Peter Giordano, a professional poker player from Liverpool, believes poker appeals to mainstream audiences because it’s a game that anyone could play. “People started watching it and saying, ‘I can do that,’ ” he said.

Giordano, who has won several Internet tournaments, knows that competition is bound to be fierce at Turning Stone. Still, he’s confident that he has as good a chance as anyone to make it to the televised final – and to win big.

“I can’t play basketball with Michael Jordan and beat him. I can’t play Tiger Woods and beat him,” he said. “But I can play the best poker players in the world and beat them because I got the cards and I got lucky.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *