Poker After Dark kicks off season with Dream Match

Jennifer Harman
Jennifer Harman looking for second Poker After Dark win.

NBC will start its third season of Poker After Dark soon, and it's planning to make a big impression on the very first episodes of the show.

Phil Hellmuth, Jennifer Harman, Scotty Nguyen, Daniel Negreanu and Mike Matusow will all grace the first table of the season, along with an amateur who won his seat at the match on Full Tilt Poker.

Ken Light won the honor. He is a 28-year-old graduate student at Rutgers University. He will take on the five legendary pros for a shot at the $120,000 winner-take-all prize.

To get on the show, Light had to win a designated Poker After Dark single-table sit-and-go at Full Tilt Poker to advance into the second round. In the second round, he faced 360 players in a multi-table tournament.

He finished in the top nine of the tournament to make it to the final round with 1,394 other players who'd prevailed to that point.

According to a press release, once Light defeated them all to win the seat, he sat stunned for about three hours.

To help figure out who to match Light up with on Poker After Dark, the show's producers interviewed him over the phone and asked who his favorite players are. From that list, they came up with the idea of inviting the players who were Light's personal favorites.

So far neither Mike Matusow nor Phil Hellmuth has won a Poker After Dark match. Scotty Nguyen will be making his first appearance on the show while Jennifer Harman and Daniel Negreanu could enter the elite league of players who've won more than one Poker After Dark title.

Thus, the Dream Match to kick off the third season was conceived. The match will begin airing Monday at 2:05 a.m. and continue for five consecutive nights in that same time slot.

The new season will also feature a new host. Marianela Pereyra, now known as the "Poker Princess," takes over for Shana Hiatt, who hosted the first two seasons.

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