Posts Tagged ‘AJ-Benza’

Final Days for Heartland Poker Tour Hostess Contest

by , Apr 27, 2010 | 4:00 pm

As you may or may not know, our good friends at Wicked Chops and the Heartland Poker Tour have partnered up to find a new TV-hostess for the HPT. Cool American Idol meets Celebrity Apprentice on Facebook-like competition for poker-savvy women who want to look pretty and smart-ish while talking about bustouts.

We were gonna nominate the uber-young Katie for the position — seems like an adorble pre-teen who knows about bad beats and pot odds might be perfect for what the wholesome-Americana-poker Heartland is all about. However, upon learning from WCP that the notorious Ass Girl is a top contender for the job, we’re not so sure any more that this is the place for a child who hasn’t yet learned how to use breasts to her professional advantage.

(Zip it, you sick Wicked Chops readers pervs.)

Anyhow, they’ve got just a few days to go before nominations in this open casting call are closed. From there three finalists will fly to the HPT event at Turning Stone in New York for a May 14 pageant-off.

GSN Announces High Stakes Poker 6 Details

Kara Scott and European Pros added to show

by , Nov 5, 2009 | 9:53 am

From GSN’s press release:


Kara Scott to replace AJ Benza on High Stakes Poker?

by , Oct 26, 2009 | 7:37 pm

In an interview Sunday on Mediocre Poker Radio from WJFK in Washington DC, AJ Benza said Kara Scott will be his replacement when taping resumes in November. Kara is best known in the US from her cashes in the past two World Series of Poker Main Events, gaining the affection of Norman Chad in the process. She was also the presenter of the European Poker Tour for the first five seasons, before moving over to Matchroom Sport to present in their made-for-TV tournaments in the UK. An article at, which mentions the Benza interview, only confirms that Shana Hiatt will not take part in the show and that no contract has been signed in regards to AJ’s replacement.

More details to come…

PokerStars sponsoring High Stakes Poker/Dennis Phillips invited to play

by , Oct 14, 2009 | 7:08 am

On Dennis Phillips’ radio show on Tuesday, he broke the news that he was one of the first players invited to play on season 6 of High Stakes Poker. It was also revealed that PokerStars will be sponsoring the show, which could escalate the Vanessa Rousso co-hosting High Stakes Poker rumors At, Daniel Negreanu mentions that Gabe Kaplan will handle the analysis/commentary solo, and the new addition to the crew will be someone that everyone knows and likes.

Audio of the announcement with Dennis, host Paul Harris and poker coach Joe McGowan:


Re: AJ Benza Fears Being Bounced by GSN

Benza Confirms Being Replaced

by , Oct 11, 2009 | 6:58 am

An update on a story from last month, but AJ Benza confirmed earlier this morning on 2+2 that he has been replaced on High Stakes Poker (taping for season 6 starts in November) by a woman cohost.

Unconfirmed reports name Vanessa Rousso as his replacement.

AJ has more on the decision at his blog.

AJ Benza Fears Being Bounced by GSN

High Stakes Poker to return, but maybe with new Kaplan sidekick

by , Sep 25, 2009 | 1:06 pm

High Stakes Poker will begin taping for season 6 on November 11th, possibly without co-host A.J. Benza. He appeared on the Sept. 20 episode of the Miserable Men show on Sirius/XM Radio channel 101. During an interview on the show, Benza mentions that there are rumors that his role on the show will be replaced by a female cohost, as discussed in the audio below:


HT to sadler40 for the original post on 2+2.

GSN High Stakes Poker Season 5

Three days of play with minimum $200k buy-in

by , Dec 9, 2008 | 12:17 pm

The poker wire keeps on buzzing today: Shockingly, GSN has beat Wicked Chops to trademarking the phrase “High Stakes Pokerâ„¢” — as evidenced in the network’s announcement of filming plans at the Golden Nugget later this month. Apparently they’re letting (internet) media cover the 27 hours of play, sorta.

Still no mention of Gabe Kaplan and/or AJ Benza’s involvement. But I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about there. Seriously.

UPDATE: Since Kevin kinda scooped me on this, I’m deleting the repetitive parts of the press release:

CONFIRMED: GSN says AJ Benza and Gabe Kaplan will both be back.

*** The set is closed to the general public.

No television cameras, tape recorders or digital photographers will be allowed on set during the taping, however, they will be allowed in the press area near the taping. Reporters will be allowed in the press viewing area during taping with monitors and wi-fi internet access. There will also be a one-on-one area for scheduled on-camera interviews to take place during player breaks.

High Stakes Poker Is Officially Back

by , Nov 20, 2008 | 1:06 pm

That’s the word just in over the transom. And they have a new trademark symbol superscripted around their namesake phrase, too! (They musta learned that one from Wicked Chops.) A little disconcerting that they don’t make mention of Gabe Kaplan or AJ Benza, but whatever, I’m sure all is well — because everything is fine and dandy these days in poker, right? And nothing major happening behind the scenes:

For Immediate Release


Shoot Dates: December 19-21, 2008 HIGH STAKES POKER Returns To Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino With $200,000 Cash Buy-In

(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) Thursday, November 20, 2008- GSN announced today details on the highly-anticipated fifth season of the popular series HIGH STAKES POKER™ with a cash buy-in of $200,000 – the largest buy-in for an entire run of a television series. Featuring some of today’s most prominent poker stars, production on the new season will take place Dec. 19-21, 2008 at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.


High Stakes Poker to Return

by , Jul 21, 2008 | 3:52 pm

HSP was gone, and then back again, and then not really at all … but now Bluff Europe is reporting that GSN has picked up the option for a fifth season of High Stakes Poker. Apparently GSN just had to get rid of the WPT before they could renew? That seems plausible enough — that the new brass at GSN may have decided they had room for only one poker show, and they wanted to dance with the ones who brung them. Considering GSN’s extended dealings with the WPT before bidding them adieu, that might make sense with why they left Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza in the dark without letting them go.

Rumors that the new season will include Pot Limit Omaha are just that … rumors … but how cool would that be, though, if they did include that game?

UPDATE: AJ Benza confirms, “I’m back baby! Looks like we’ll start taping in early September. Cant wait.”

RE: The Real Skinny on the Future of High Stakes Poker

by , Jun 18, 2008 | 3:55 pm

This is kinda a leftover link (thanks to Short-Stacked Shamus for sending it to me 10 days ago) … but check out the June 5 episode of the Ante Up poker podcast.

About halfway through this episode of the what is clearly the best poker podcast on the Florida gulf coast, Chris and Scott conduct a phone interview with AJ Benza, who I gotta say is pretty damn funny when not in Gabe Kaplan’s shadow. With genuine Brooklyn candor, he discusses not only what he knows about his own show, but also “Doyle Brunson’s tits,” Dustin Diamond as “a misunderstood asshole,” David Goldhill (the new head of GSN), and what it is about High Stakes Poker that works: “Let’s get guys back on TV who drink, smoke, and punch people in the eye.”

Good stuff from Ante Up.

Click here to download/listen to the episode.

High Stakes Poker Canceled?

by , May 13, 2008 | 11:36 am

It seems that way. The show that pioneered Poker on TV 2.0 hasn’t filmed a new season for ’08 — they usually did so in March or April, I believe — and there seem to be no plans to do so any time soon. Reliable sources tell us:

Far as Gabe and I know….the show isnt coming back. Apparently…the network is going to go in a different direction and that aint good news for our show, especially since we skew a higher-aged audiuence. Never mind that we’re the network’s No. 1 show. Still and all, no one calls us from the network to say squat. Only Kevin Bellincoff checks in periodically, but it just don’t seem like good news. If you ask me…they’re treating us like shit. All we ever did was make them a bunch of money.

Wow, so there you have it. I also remember seeing promos for a cool new show where some pros crashed a home game, MTV-style, and covered the action with hole-card cams and presumably rawer HSP-style banter. Was looking forward to it — damn, can’t remember its name — but supposedly that show had inked a two-year deal with GSN. But haven’t seen that show pimped in weeks.

NOTE: GSN seems to have seriously downgraded the High Stakes Poker web presence, too.

Kaplan vs. Benza

by , Mar 29, 2007 | 5:04 am

kaplan.jpgbenza.jpgDid anyone else catch High Stakes Poker 3 on Monday? It’s a great episode this week … with Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, et al. We see David Williams needled for his bling, and he retorts by skillfully wielding “the Sang” (9-2 … kinda like the Hammer, only a wee-bit stronger). And then Yukon Brad Booth shows up and buys in with a cool $1 million in cash, suddenly posing a new threat to Brian Townsend’s fortress of bills. Awesome, great poker.

But the real battle in this episode (which repeats tonight) seems to be taking place off the table — between the two announcers, Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza. If this is new shtick … well then good job, because it’s pretty entertaining. But even better, you get the sense they truly don’t like each other and are in the midst of a career catfight … especially when Kaplan calls out Benza for having his agent complain about Gabe to GSN.

Benza, is actually a pretty interesting sparring partner for Kaplan. For one, he’s a former blogger for the not-so-poker blog Oddjack. Before that, his broadcasting claims to fame included a studio brawl with Stuttering John (from Howard Stern) that eventually came to blows in the hallway.

Click below to see what Pokeratizens had to say about these two just last month: