'Celebrity Poker Showdown' kicks off new season with online tournament

BravoTV.com will ante up for another online poker tournament this summer to kick off the season premier of "Celebrity Poker Showdown." The grand prize winner of the freeroll event will receive a non-speaking, walk-on role on the NBC series "Las Vegas," including roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations for two. The online tournament will launch with the season premier of "Celebrity Poker Showdown" at 9 p.m. (EST) on May 31.

Entrants of the online event must be legal residents of the United States, must physically reside in the continental United States, and be 21 years of age or older as of the date of entry.

The first BravoTV.com online poker tournament set new Bravo records of more than 80 million "Celebrity Poker Showdown" page views and over 120,000 registered players after its launch in October 2005.

This year's tournament will last until July 30, with qualifying rounds of Texas Hold'em being played on BravoTV.com daily. Hundreds of winners could potentially advance to the final round where they'll duke it out for the grand prize.

This season of "Celebrity Poker Showdown" also features a few changes. Most noticeable will be Phil Hellmuth taking the place of Phil Gordon to host the show. Hellmuth's resume includes nine World Series of Poker bracelets and 17 WSOP final tables. He'll join co-host Dave Foley each week on the show to provide commentary and card-playing advice.

Bravo will also give its viewers a chance to get some of that advice from Hellmuth using SMS text messaging. Audience members can register via phone by text messaging "CP" to the number "62288." They'll then receive up to five in-show text messages each week for six weeks from the new host.

"This opportunity for viewers to watch a hand of poker play out on the screen while simultaneously learning the inside tricks to win the hand on their phones makes them a part of the game, and brings them that much closer to the action," said Frances Berwick, SVP programming and production.

Messages will be sent on Wednesdays during the premier of each episode. There is a one-time charge of $2.99 to subscribers for this service.

For more information about the new season and changes, please read Hellmuth To Replace Gordon.

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