Five & UltimatePoker reveal new poker partnership

Five and UltimatePoker are delighted to confirm the launch of a new tournament, Showdown .  Five will air a series of nine, 60-minute programmes following the tournament that will take five poker virgins off the street and enable them to become tournament winners, it was announced today. 

The tournament coverage will be co-produced by Ryle Woollcombe Agency (RWA) and Bullseye Television.  Lexis PR are responsible for the show’s promotion.

The Showdown is a completely new way of bringing poker events to TV, where viewers follow the fortunes of poker virgins as they compete to  win a prize fund of up to GBP100,000 at the final table of the series. The programmes begin transmission on Saturday 20 August 2005 and will be presented by Penny Smith.

Each of the five players qualified through a series of skill tests and were unaware until the first day of the tournament that the event involved playing poker. The players qualified because they fit some of the most common online poker personality types. There will be: The General, someone with guts who won’t shirk in the face of risk; The Joker, a natural born entertainer; The Wallflower, happy to let others fight it out before they get involved, The Politician, an arch manipulator, and The Artisan, someone who at first glance doesn’t look like a poker player.

To give each player the greatest chance of success some of the biggest names in poker are on hand to offer them hints, tips and advice. The famous names in the world of poker include: Jack McClelland, tournament director of the Bellagio Las Vegas, who is one of the world's most respected tournament co-ordinators; Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, the UK’s No1 poker player; Annie Duke rated as the best all round female poker player in the world and Phil Hellmuth a nine-time winner of the World Series of Poker.

Each week of the event there is a twist, an on-line tournament on will run and there will be seven opportunities for the online qualifier to win a place on the Showdown table.

If the five poker virgins are able to stop the online qualifiers winning, the final table prize pool will rise each week up to a maximum of GBP100,000.   However if they fail, the internet qualifiers will have the chance to walk away with up to GBP35,000 of the total prize money so the novices have to learn and learn fast!

Five’s Controller of Sport, Robert Charles, said: “This is a great new development in TV poker tournaments.  Through this event, Five’s viewers will be able to see exactly what it takes to become a poker professional and find out what type of player they might be, in the fastest-growing and hottest sport at the moment.”

Jim Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Excapsa Software Inc, the company that  develops the software UltimatePoker licenses, said: “This represents an important next stage in sponsored event programming for our licensee, which is designed to grow the UltimatePoker brand in the UK. We are taking advantage of the current wave of enthusiasm for this sport and are delighted that Five’s viewers will have the opportunity to sample the thrills and tension of the poker game.”

RWA Executive Producer, Nick Ryle, said: "It was a challenge to move the televised poker tournament on and we're delighted to have worked with as the event sponsor and Five as the broadcaster, to bring a new tournament format that genuinely takes poker on TV to the next level in terms of engaging a wider audience. We've experienced terrific commitment from both brand and broadcaster to make this happen which demonstrates how great programming can be brought to our screens benefiting viewer, brands and broadcasters.

Press Release - 2005-08-15 13:25:37

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