This is a great article:
A quality that gives televised poker games such broad viewer appeal is the thrill of living vicariously through the bets, bluffs and daring gambles of professional players.
That experience is served adequately by coverage of such high-profile tournaments as the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour, but it's measurably intensified on "High Stakes Poker," the popular GSN cable network show now in its fourth season.
Unlike tournaments in which players compete to advance to the final table using chips with no cash value, "High Stakes Poker" brings top professional poker stars and legends together for a private game in which they lay down their own cash.
The buy-in for each game has been $100,000, but starting Monday night, it will increase to $500,000 per player, which means the final seven episodes of Season IV will feature $5 million in cash and more on the table.
Busting out in this game means more than the loss of your entry fee and the opportunity to move on. Losing it all on "High Stakes Poker" means you're out the kind of money that the Walter Mittys of the gambling world can only dream about.
Professional poker player Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari knows. With career tournament winnings in excess of $2.79 million and a World Series of Poker gold championship bracelet in his possession, he has anted up for all four seasons of "High Stakes Poker" and will be among those players laying down half a million dollars.
I caught up with Esfandiari between tables in a Las Vegas poker tournament and asked him what he thought was the biggest difference between playing in a cash game like "High Stakes Poker" and a regular televised tournament.
"Comparing 'High Stakes Poker' to tournaments is like comparing rugby to table tennis," he said. "It's not even close. The strategy and tools are so different. In a tournament, you're playing to advance to the final table. In 'High Stakes Poker,' you play to protect your stack without having to take unnecessary risks."
Even for a high-stakes pro like Esfandiari, a seasoned cash-game player, "High Stakes Poker" is the biggest game he's ever played in. He admits to enjoying competing against the greatest players in the world on the show, captivated by what he describes as the unique "pizzazz and energy" of each episode.
A risk-taker who puts huge sums of money on the line for each decision he makes, Esfandiari told me, "A poker session for me is just like a day at the office. You win, you lose some, and at the end of the day, you tally up the results."
Original article link: http://chicago.sunti...se-at-gambling/
Real Cash Adds Intensity To 'high Stakes Poker'
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