NBCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Poker After Dark takes viewers on a trip down memory lane this week, as six players who frequented the legendary Mayfair Club in New York City will each put up $20,000 and compete for the $120,000 winner-take-all first prize. Those competing are pros Jay Heimowitz, Howard Lederer, Mickey Appleman, Dan Harrington, Steve Zolotow, and Mike Shichtman, the manager of the club during its heyday.
Originally a club for backgammon and bridge players, The Mayfair Club gradually transitioned into the premier underground poker club in The Big Apple until it was closed by authorities in the year 2000. But from the mid 1980Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s until its closure, the Mayfair Club was a training ground for many of the gameÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top professional players. In addition to the players featured this week, other notables who also played there included Eric Seidel, Stu Ungar, Noli Francisco, Paul Magriel, and Jason Lester. The Chesterfield Club in the movie Rounders was even modeled after the Mayfair Club.
This is the first appearance on the show for all of the players with the exception of Lederer and Zolotow. Howard has two PAD victories, in Match 6 and Match 15, and sports an overall 2-4 record. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Stevie ZÃ¢â‚¬Â has one appearance back in Match 1, the one that featured Phil HellmuthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s classic blowup, where he finished 5th.
The resumes that the remaining players bring to this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s show are impressive indeed. Harrington, Appleman, and Heimowitz have won a combined total of 12 WSOP bracelets, with Harrington winning the World Series of Poker Championship in 1995. And longtime gambler Shichtman, while the only player at the table not to have won a bracelet, was the man primarily responsible for the Mayfair ClubÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s successful changeover to poker during the clubÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s golden years, and as such knew the players as well as anyone.
Viewers will hear stories galore in this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s match as these six players reminisce about the good oleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ days while playing one more game together. Expect to hear discussions about how the games of chess and backgammon parallel that of poker, and stories about Stu Ungar, sports betting and gambling in general. It is men such as are featured in this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lineup that many younger players today should remember for helping to contribute to pokerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s growth over the years, and to the popularity of the game as we know it today.
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