LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Epic Poker League – the new professional poker league launching next month in Las Vegas – will be televised on the CBS Television Network and Discovery Communications’ upcoming Velocity Network and will feature 20 hours of original programming in its inaugural season.
“Epic Poker is proud to partner with CBS Television and Discovery Communications in our inaugural season,” said Jeffrey Pollack, executive chairman of the Epic Poker League and its parent company, Federated Sports + Gaming. “Both companies share our commitment to providing a world-class stage and significant new exposure for poker’s most talented live tournament players.”
CBS Sports will air seven hours of original Epic Poker League programs and Velocity by Discovery will air 13 additional original hours along with re-airs of each CBS episode. Specific airdates and times will be announced later this summer.
“We are pleased to welcome Epic Poker to CBS," said Rob Correa, executive vice president of programming for CBS Sports. "We look forward to the league's inaugural season."
“The Epic Poker League is set to take the game of poker to a new level, and we’re excited to air these competitions featuring many of the world’s best live tournament poker players,” said Bob Scanlon, senior vice president of Velocity Network. “All of the impressive play on the tables and the high-end production of the Epic Poker League will surely register with our viewers who enjoy programming that showcases thrills and non-stop action.” Velocity is a fully HD, upscale men’s cable network that will replace Discovery’s HD Theater network on October 4, 2011.
Each episode of Epic Poker will be hosted by legendary, Emmy® award-winning sports anchor and reporter Pat O’Brien. This announcement marks the return of O’Brien to network television. Poker personality Ali Nejad will be joining O’Brien as co-host and expert analyst. Nejad has had recurring roles on some of poker’s most popular television shows and is an experienced and well-known poker network host, writer and player.
David Neal and 441 Productions will produce Epic Poker on CBS and Velocity. Neal, the Executive Producer and creative lead for the Epic Poker broadcast, has won 34 Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and is one of the leading producers and executives in all of sports television. Neal produced nine Olympics, four NBA Finals, two World Series, and scores of other world-class sporting events during his storied career at NBC Sports, where he most recently served as Executive Producer.
Working with Neal will be 441 Productions, who are collective winners of 23 Emmy Awards and one of television’s leading producers of non-fiction programming. 441 is best known for producing the World Series of Poker for ESPN from 2003 to 2010, and its top leadership team – including Matt Maranz, Dave Swartz and Sari Bickford, all familiar faces to the best poker professionals – will bring its expertise to Epic Poker.
"Epic will provide a rich storytelling environment for our television production,” said Neal. “We'll capture the rivalries, the personalities, and the strategies brought to each event by an elite roster of player. It's high stakes competition, with prestige and prize money on the line, and that makes an ideal setting for compelling entertainment."
“I've had the best seat in the house in news, sports and entertainment all over the world, and now I'm thrilled to put fans in the front row with me again as we bring a new level of exposure to the best poker talent on the planet," said O’Brien. "I'm grateful to be part of the launch of this league and to help millions of fans experience poker in a new, exciting way."
The Epic Poker League Inaugural Season includes four rake-free $20,000 Main Events, each with $400,000 in added money, and a $1,000,000 freeroll Championship Event for the top 27 players in the League. To be eligible to compete, Main Event players must earn membership determined by a rigorous set of objective criteria (http://www.federatedinc.com/poker-league/qualification-criteria). A complete roster for players that have qualified for Season 1 of the league can be found on the FS+G website at: http://www.federatedinc.com/poker-league/season-one-roster.
The four professional league main events will feature different formats of No-Limit Texas Hold’em, including six-handed play, a heads-up tournament with an innovative seeding structure and a special multi-format tournament to round out the season. Each event week will include a Pro-Am event, a charity tournament, and a $20,000 buy-in rake-free main event (http://www.federatedinc.com/our-companies/poker-league/event-schedules).
2011-12 Federated Sports + Gaming Season I Tournament Schedule
|Pro-Am||Charity Tournament||League Main Event|
|Event #1||August 5 - 8, 2011||August 7, 2011||August 9 - 12, 2011|
|Event #2||September 2 - 5, 2011||September 4, 2011||September 6 - 9, 2011|
|Event #3||December 9 - 12, 2011||December 11, 2011||December 14 - 18, 2011|
|Event #4||January 27 - 30, 2012||January 29, 2012||February 9 - 12, 2012|
|Championship||----||----||February 13 - 14, 2012|
About Federated Sports + Gaming (FS+G)
FS+G is a leading poker entertainment company that serves players and fans through nationally televised events, interactive digital programming and social media gaming.
The company is breaking new ground in poker with the launch of the Epic Poker League – an exclusive tournament series designed to serve more than 200 of the world’s top live tournament players, as determined by a set of objective, analytically rigorous qualifying criteria. In its first year, the Epic Poker League is staging four $20,000 rake-free Main Events for its members and awarding to its champion a $1 million cash prize.
Through its ownership of Heartland Poker Tour (HPT), FS+G also serves poker players and fans across the United States. Built on a grass-root strategy of “Real People, Unreal Money,” HPT provides poker enthusiasts across the country with a televised tournament experience that prides itself on affordable buy-ins. HPT has hosted more than 81,500 entrants, awarded more than $28.6 million in prize money, produced more than 170 hours of television content, and staged nearly 90 events since 2005.
FS+G has developed and made available for poker players and fans everywhere the Global Poker Index™ (GPI™), a patent pending system to rank and track the weekly performance of the world’s top 300 live tournament poker players. The GPI is distributed weekly through www.globalpokerindex.com, and later this summer through EpicPoker.com.
FS+G has offices in Los Angeles, Fargo, N.D., and Washington D.C. For tournament schedules and information please visit www.federatedinc.com, www.epicpoker.com, www.HPTpoker.com and www.globalpokerindex.com.
About Palms Casino Resort
Palms Casino Resort, heralded as one of Las Vegas' hippest resorts, is an all-encompassing, one-stop destination. Owned by the Maloof family, the boutique property boasts three distinct towers and a diverse mix of bars and restaurants across a 95,000-square-foot casino. Premier amenities and world-renowned venues include 9 Group operated hotspots, such as Playboy Club; ghostbar; Rain Nightclub; Moon Nightclub; N9NE Steakhouse; Nove Italiano and Palms Pool & Bungalows; as well as The Pearl concert venue; Little Buddha; Simon Restaurant & Lounge; Palms Spa and AMP Salon; Drift Spa & Hammam; LA Sunset Tan; Brenden Theatres, a 14-theatre Cineplex; Huntington Ink Tattoo Lounge; the Fantasy Suites, including the Hardwood Suite, the only hotel room in the world with its own basketball court; and over 60,000 square-feet of meeting space. Palms has played host to MTV’s Video Music Awards, Real World: Las Vegas and Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown, and E!’s Girls Next Door and Sunset Tan feature the resort on a regular basis. Palms Casino Resort is located just west of the Las Vegas Strip and I-15 on Flamingo Road. For room reservations, call toll free at (866) PALMS-RES, (866) 725-6773, or visit www.palms.com. For groups of 15 rooms or more, contact the Sales Department at (866) PALMS-MTG or (866) 725-6768.