High Stakes Poker returns with huge pots and huge personalities

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Tom Dwan will be just one of many familiar faces in the return of High Stakes Poker.
Tom Dwan will be just one of many familiar faces in the return of High Stakes Poker.
Image: High Stakes Poker, PokerGO

High Stakes Poker is back with a lot of the familiar names and faces that made it a hit more than a decade ago.

The show, filmed at the Aria, will air on subscription service PokerGO and is being produced by the legendary Mori Eskandani, and featuring fan-favorite players like Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, and Phil Hellmuth. Other players will include Vegas high stakes regular Rick Salomon (of Paris Hilton sex tape fame), tournament crushers Bryn Kenney and Nick Petrangelo, perpetually “broke” Jean-Robert Bellande, and former pitcher Michael Schwimer. Minimum buyins “vary from $100,000 to $200,000,” hence the name.

“It’s been 9 years since new episodes of the legendary ‘High Stakes Poker’ series have been created,” said Mori Eskandani in a press release from PokerGO. “With this show being such a favorite among fans, it was important to us to capture the exhilarating spirit of the game in a way that makes it come to life through each viewer’s screen. When our audience tunes in, we want them to feel the energy of each player in the game, and we’ve worked faithfully to make that happen.”


The first episode airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST, will also feature the return of broadcasting duo Gabe Kaplan and A.J. Benza, who called the action in the show’s first five seasons. Benza recalled his excitement at learning they were putting the band back together.

“That call came out of the sky,” Benza told Deadspin. “There hadn’t been any rumblings about putting us back together.


“Gabe hasn’t done show biz in like 30 years. Poker is his whole life.”

Benza says High Stakes Poker, which aired on the Game Show Network, was the zenith of poker in America.


“Stacks of cash, half-a-million buyin, million-dollar buyins,” Benza said. “No one had ever seen anything like it. I know, not being a poker player, I had never seen it.”

Benza gave us a hint at what was to come. “The table-talk is over the top. These guys are talking about everything. I think that’s one of the things people loved about High Stakes Poker.


Some things never change.

“I can tell you Phil Hellmuth still curses more than anyone!”