The innovative event is made up of a series of eight heats where one online qualifier will face off against five poker pros or celebrities.
The players who win their respective heats will be sent to London to participate in a final $1 million winner-take-all match of the Shark Cage.
Beyond the money and the celebrities the Sit & Go-style Shark Cage also offers a unique format.
The entire show will take place at a table with a nearby cage where players will be sent if they get bluffed on the river. They will remain there for an entire orbit.
Meanwhile the players who successfully bluff their opponent on the river will receive extra chips if they make it to the final in London. In addition there will be no deals in London. The winner will receive $1 million.
Alexander, Veldhuis, Harman Take Part in First Shark Cage
Gareth Cole and his competition
The first heat took place at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas yesterday with U.K. qualifier Gareth “kingcoles80” Coles taking on Lex Veldhuis, Jennifer Harman, Tony Dunst, Phil Laak and Jason Alexander.
While results are kept secret Coles spoke about his experience in the heat.
“It was absolutely amazing,” he said. “At the start I was really nervous because I’d never played in a televised poker tournament.”
Coles works as a retail salesman in Cardiff but has been playing poker for seven years now.
“I wasn’t intimidated about the poker, because I know I can play a good game, it was more the cameras and being in the spotlight,” he said. “It was just amazing really.”
Even the pros, who can be jaded when it comes to new poker concepts, seemed to enjoy Shark Cage.
Lex Veldhuis said it was the most fun he’s had playing live poker in the last few years.
Another Shark Cage heat will take place in the Bahamas with further heats to be held in Monaco and Barcelona. The final event will take place in London next fall with the televised show to follow.
Qualifiers for the Shark Cage are currently running on PokerStars.