Hosted by Steve Schirripa (“The Sopranos”), Qualifiers Play Against World-Class Poker Pros in a Series of Heads-Up, No Limit Hold’Em Matches for a Chance at the Ultimate Prize of $1 Million

Qualifiers get a chance to go heads-up against some of the world’s best poker pros for a shot at $1 million when NBC debuts the first-ever prime time poker themed game show on a broadcast network with the premiere of “Face the Ace” on Saturday, August 1 (9-10 p.m. ET). Hosted by Steve Schirripa (“The Sopranos”), “Face the Ace” gives contestants the opportunity to compete against as many as three different top professional poker players on national television for the chance to win $1 million. The unique format of the show incorporates the entertainment of a traditional game show, the drama of a reality show and the tension of a high-stakes poker match. The series will premiere with back-to-back Saturday primetime shows and continue its seven- episode run on Saturday afternoons beginning in September.
“Most people don’t get to compete against their favorite athletes in sports like football or basketball,” said Steve Schirripa, who once served as the entertainment director of a Las Vegas strip hotel. “This show gives contestants an incomparable opportunity to test their skills against some of the best poker players in the world. The same people they’ve read about or have watched on TV are the ones they have to defeat for chance at winning life-changing money.”

The premise of the show is simple – contestants will select a pro from behind four smoked-glass doors (the “Aces”); the contestant and the pro will play heads-up no limit hold’em for $40,000. If the contestant wins, they can keep the $40,000 or play a different pro for $200,000. If the contestant wins the second match, they can keep the $200,000 or play a third pro for $1,000,000. Win a third match and they take home $1 million. If the contestant loses at any point, they walk away with nothing.

The poker pros won’t be laying down either, as each match they win secures $10,000 for their charity of choice.

All “Face the Ace” contestants were selected from a group of players that qualified online at www.facetheace.com and www.fulltiltpoker.net.

Fifteen professional poker players were chosen to rotate throughout the show representing the “Aces,” – Patrik Antonius, Andy Bloch, Allen Cunningham, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, Gus Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Howard Lederer, Erick Lindgren, Mike Matusow, Huck Seed, Erik Seidel, and Gavin Smith. Collectively, these pros have won 41 World Series of Poker bracelets, 11 World Poker Tour open titles, and amassed nearly $100 million in live tournament winnings.

In addition to Schirripa, Ali Nejad, the voice of NBC’s “Poker After Dark,” functions as the tournament director while providing occasional commentary, and Megan Abrigo, a regular on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” where she is best known as Briefcase Model #6, serves as the hostess.

With this new show NBC, the network behind the popular “Poker After Dark” and the annual “National Heads-Up Poker Championship,” continues its dedication to providing the best poker programming on television.

“Face the Ace” is produced by Poker PROductions, which also produces “Poker After Dark” for NBC.

For more information, visit www.nbcsports.com/poker.

• Patrik Antonius – Feared high-stakes cash game player
• Andy Bloch – Former member of the MIT blackjack team who has live tournament winnings of over $4 million
• Allen Cunningham – Winner of five World Series of Poker bracelets. Lifetime tournament winnings in excess of $10 million
• Chris “Jesus” Ferguson – 2000 World Series of Poker Main Event winner and 2008 National Heads-Up Poker Champion
• Phil Gordon – Noted author and poker commentator who has career tournament winnings in excess of $2.2 million
• Gus Hansen – Only player in history to have won three Word Poker Tour open titles
• Jennifer Harman – 2-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and the only woman to regularly play in the highest-stakes cash games in the world
• Phil Ivey – 7-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, including two bracelets in 2009
• John Juanda – 4-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, including the 2008 World Series of Poker – Europe Main Event
• Howard Lederer – 2-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner
• Erick Lindgren – 2008 World Series of Poker Player of the Year and former World Poker Tour Player of the Year (Season 2)
• Mike “the Mouth” Matusow – 3-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner with more than $7 million in career tournament winnings
• Huck Seed – 1996 World Series of Poker Main Event winner and 2009 National Heads-Up Poker Champion
• Erik Seidel – Has won eight World Series of Poker bracelets and was immortalized in the movie “Rounders”
• Gavin Smith – former World Poker Tour Player of the Year (Season 4) with lifetime tournament winnings approaching $5 million

• August 1, 2009 – 9:00pm ET
• August 8, 2009 – 9:00pm ET
• September 12, 2009 – 2:00pm ET
• October 31, 2009 – 3:30pm ET
• November 14, 2009 – 3:00pm ET
• December 12, 2009 – 3:00pm ET
• January 2, 2010 – 2:30pm ET

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