'Poker After Dark' to feature pros, paper, pin-up

Phil: The One-Upper

A star-studded cast of pros, piles of cash and centerfold Shana Hiatt are the key ingredients for NBC's new late-night "Poker After Dark," which will begin airing Jan. 2.

The series features the world's best players putting up $20,000 each and playing six-handed freeze-outs with a winner-take-all first prize of $120,000.

Each match will air over five one-hour shows Monday to Friday at 2:00 a.m. A special one-hour "Director's Cut" with outtakes and bloopers will air right after Saturday Night Live on the weekends.

Besides a power-packed line-up and popular hostess Hiatt, NBC says the show offers a few more stand-out features.

Of the $20,000 each player puts up, viewers will see half of that money on the table in tournament chips and the other half in cash.

Viewers will also get to see the majority of hands played instead of just the all-in clashes.

And lastly there are no poker commentators or analysts. All viewers will hear is the interaction among the players, the amount of the bets and raises, and brief interviews during stoppages of play or once a player has been eliminated.

To add to the intrigue, players were also put at tables with a theme designed to stir the pot. One of the examples is an all-World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champ table, with Chris Moneymaker, Jamie Gold, Johnny Chan, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Doyle Brunson and Carlos Mortensen.

Another is a "loudmouth" table with Tony G., Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey and Andy Bloch.

In all, ten matches have been filmed and are set to air, with another ten planned for filming in 2007.

The first show will air Jan. 2.

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