Dream Team Poker becomes reality for players

Jamie Gold and Jean-Robert Bellande at the Dream Team Poker event.

In November 2008, Dream Team Poker made its debut at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as an invitation-only event. It was such a rousing success that it will return again in March, and this time it will be open to the public.

The tournament is scheduled for March 27-29 and will be open to 100 teams of three players. With a buy-in of $550, that means the players could be facing off for a $150,000 prize pool.

This is the first Dream Team Poker event open to the public, giving players a chance to team up to battle each other.

The way the Dream Team Poker events work, players compete in the poker tournament individually, but points they earn through the Dream Team Scoring system count toward their team score. All the players have better odds to win money both as individuals in the game or as part of a winning team.

Caesars Palace put that format to the test in November with an invitation-only event that included pro poker players, celebrities and media. There were 25 teams that played in the two-day premier event, and players included:

  • Jamie Gold, 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event champion
  • Erica Schoenberg
  • David Daneshgar, 2008 WSOP bracelet winner
  • Kenny Tran, 2008 WSOP bracelet winner
  • Jean-Robert Bellande, pro poker player and former Survivor contestant
  • Roy Winston
  • Mekhi Phifer, actor in ER
  • Roger Cross, actor from 24
  • Holly Montag, from MTV's The Hills
  • Chris Mills, former NBA player,
  • Yancey Arias, actor from Knight Rider
  • Sam Simon, writer and producer for The Simpsons

The winning player in the event was Jason Lilly from Team Flop, but his score wasn't enough to pull his team up higher than 16th place. Instead, Justin Bonomo, Matthew Parvis and Eric Morris made up the winning team that walked away with a $39,000 first-place prize.

The winning team members also received championship rings valued at more than $5,000.

"The first event was such an incredible accomplishment for Dream Team Gaming and proved that the concept of team poker could be exciting, fun and profitable for all involved," said Daniel Delshad, CEO of Dream Team Gaming.

According to Dream Team Poker, its patent-pending tournament structure brings a new dimension to the game of poker that keeps players drawn to the game even after they bust out. The unique scoring structure and the fact that there are prizes for both teams and individuals give players a lot of financial incentives to stick around and see how the tournament plays out.

That also translates to players also lingering around the casino longer, where they'll be eating, booking rooms or even playing in side games.

"We are seeing a definite call for this game from the casinos and the players. We are honored to have Caesars Palace Las Vegas host our next tournament," Delshad said.

Caesars Palace seems to be just as happy with the result of the event and with how the Dream Team Poker events work.

"The tournament's innovative team concept will bring a new dimension to tournament play," said Jim Pedulla, director of poker for Caesars Palace.

"This new format will create more camaraderie among the players making this an exciting event.  Caesars Palace is proud to host this event in our World Series of Poker Tournament Room, which is also the site of the NBC Heads Up Championship and has been the location for a number of top celebrity and charitable tournaments."

Players interested in trying out the Dream Team Poker event in March can register at www.dreamteampoker.com. Each team will receive custom team jerseys, special hotel room rates and admission to the welcome party and winner's ceremony.


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