Posts Tagged ‘nbc’

Layne Flack’s Statement: Not Guilty!

by , Mar 7, 2009 | 10:47 am

Lara Miller of the PR firm Diamond Draw Management has issued a statement from Layne Flack. Here it is in full: 

I attended the Draw Party at Pure on Friday night and then met with my brother, who had flown into Vegas for Heads Up. I was under the impression that I was to play in the last bracket the next evening at around 8 pm. I was pulled over for speeding and refused a breathalyzer test as I have been instructed to do.  I have no idea why I was written a ticket for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. There were no emergency vehicles around, besides the police car. A test, given by the Las Vegas PD, later revealed that I had a blood alcohol content of zero. I also took a blood test, as I have nothing to hide. I was held for the mandatory 6 hours and released. I always go out of my way to not drink and drive. I regret that I was not able to play in NBC Heads Up and hope to be invited next year to play in this prestigious event.

There’s little reason to doubt Layne Flack’s version of events at this point. Refusing a breathalyzer test isn’t that unusual, because the blood tests are more accurate. 

If his blood-alcohol level was really zero, then the DUI charges would likely be dropped. That leaves two other relatively minor charges (speeding and the failure to yield to an emergency vehicle), which means that Layne Flack could come out of this untimely little episode with nothing more than traffic tickets — and a missed opportunity at the NBC Heads-Up Championship.

Clarification 1: Layne Flack was not in a car accident. Some of the earliest reports of this situation came from a statement that Mori Eskandani gave to some reporters at the NBC Heads-Up Championship, saying that Flack had to withdraw because he had been in a car accident. He wasn’t. (11:00 am PT)

Clarification 2: Lara Miller has followed up to say that Flack claims he had just one drink at Pure that night. Also, Flack took the blood test to prove that he was not just alcohol-free, but drug-free as well. (11:30 am PT)

Update 1: Andrew “good2cu” Robl blogged that he “ended up getting quite drunk” with Layne Flack that night, taking shots of tequila. This side of it seems to be turning into a he said/he said situation, where the tie will ultimately go to the results of the blood test. (12:00 noon PT)

Update 2:  Andrew Robl has edited the Layne Flack story out of his blog without an explanation. (6:30 pm PT)

Layne Flack … Car Wreck

by , Mar 6, 2009 | 6:39 pm

OK, since we don’t know his medical status, we’ll hold off on making jokes about train wrecks. From the PokerNews live-action team:

During the break after the Diamonds Bracket concluded, we asked producer Mori Eskandani why Flack had been replaced, and why Oppenheim was the replacement rather than Chiu. Eskandani stated that Flack was in an automobile accident last night and was therefore unavailable to play today. Chiu, the first alternate, required four hours notice due to the fact that he’s based in Los Angeles. NBC was unable to give him that notice and therefore substituted Oppenheim, who lives in Las Vegas, at the last minute.

RE: National Heads-up Poker Championship Line-up

by , Feb 24, 2009 | 7:06 am

Dennis in Las Vegas sends along some more details about the 5th running of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship:

Field in prestigious annual event just keeps getting tougher and tougher
By Dennis Oehring
LAS VEGAS – February 24, 2009 – Get your tournament brackets ready! NBC’s 2009 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, the granddaddy of all heads-up poker tournaments, will take place once again at Caesars Palace Las Vegas on March 5-8. Now in its fifth year, this year’s event will feature an array of many of the greatest poker players in the world along with some celebrities known for their poker-playing prowess and a few amateur qualifiers. Each will battle for their share of not only the $1.5 million prize pool, but for the recognition and fame that comes with capturing the coveted title.


March 1: A busy day for poker on TV

by , Feb 23, 2009 | 10:26 am

This coming Sunday will be one of the busiest days for watching poker on TV in quite some time. Besides the WPT episode that may air in your area on FSN, High Stakes Poker begins season 5 on GSN at 9pm (preview available below). At the same time, NBC debuts Celebrity Apprentice with Annie Duke. At 10pm, ESPN2 airs the final table of the World Series of Poker Europe.

GoDaddy to Sponsor National Heads-Up Poker Championship

by , Feb 10, 2009 | 1:21 pm will be the presenting sponsor for the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, according to the official press release with dates and other pertinent info. Big news, really. When a company like embraces the poker industry by sponsoring such an event, it lets other major corporations know that’s it’s okay. C’mon in. There’s money to be made from this kazillion dollar industry!

In truth, it’s a brilliant move from to make itself a friend of the industry, as poker is filled with internet-savvy, blogging, html-minded people, some of whom (not naming names!) tend to buy domain names like they’re rebuys in a tournament. And it doesn’t hurt that the National Heads-Up Poker Championship ends up airing on NBC, which is some solid air time on a major network. Welcome to our little niche, GoDaddy.

Duke Does Reality TV: Annie Faces the Donald on Celebrity Apprentice 2

by , Jan 9, 2009 | 10:03 am

All of the speculation has proven true; Annie Duke did participate in the second season of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, according to E! Online and every other media outlet. The 16 participants were announced this week, and Duke’s name was on the list, as was the charity (Refugees International) that she played for.

Photo courtesy of Mitch Haaseth of NBC

The show will begin airing on NBC March 1st with the Donald and the cast, with their corresponding charities, that follows:

* Clint Black, country legend; International Rett Syndrome Foundation
* Andrew Dice Clay, comedian; Stand Up for Kids
* Annie Duke, World Series of Poker champ; Refugees International
* Tom Green, comedian and talk-show host; Butch Walts and Donald Skinner Urologic Cancer Research Foundation
* Natalie Gulbis, professional golfer; Boys and Girls Club
* Scott Hamilton, Olympic figure skater; The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
* Jesse James, TV host, restaurateur and clothing line founder; Long Beach Education Foundation
* Claudia Jordan, Deal or No Deal model; NAPSAC Foundation
* Khloe Kardashian, reality star and boutique owner; Brent Shapiro Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Awareness
* Brian McKnight, singer and Broadway star; Youthville USA
* Joan Rivers, Emmy-winning comedian and red carpet terror; God’s Love We Deliver
* Melissa Rivers, red carpet cohost and producer; Lili Claire Foundation
* Brande Roderick, actress and production company owner; California Police Youth Charities
* Dennis Rodman, former NBA star; Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Orleans
* Herschel Walker, former NFL star; Alternative Community Development Services (Project Turnaround)
* Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, singer, former TLC member; Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia

As for Annie’s charity, Refugees International offers support and aid for displaced people around the world and works toward solutions for crises that cause that displacement.

Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps Might Be Sorry He Mentioned Poker

by , Aug 24, 2008 | 11:10 am

The swimmer who stunned the world by setting a new record with his eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing made a statement in one of his post-amazing-feat interviews. Michael Phelps told the Baltimore Sun, “I think it would be cool to play in the World Series of Poker. My game is a little off right now, so I’ll have to start improving it a little bit. But I think that would be cool, and it would be cool to meet some of those poker guys.”

Oh yeah?

Within days, Poker Shrink reported that Phelps was officially invited to play in the 2009 NBC National Heads-Up Championship. And shortly thereafter, it was the Asian Poker Tour, which is gearing up for its Macau stop scheduled for this week. A representative from the APT wrote an open letter to Phelps, which was posted on 4Flush, with sentences like, “Some have said you are a ‘human dolphin’ but we’re keen to know if history’s greatest swimmer is really a fish. You may have feet that can reach angles others cannot to give you the ultimate swimming technique but just you wait until you’ve got sharks like Vegas poker legend Doyle Brunson chasing you. We’ll see how fast you really are then when they smell blood – get some flippers on those size 14’s!” (Really? Fish and shark references? *Sigh.*)

Most likely, offers from Visa are taking precedence over poker tournaments for Phelps, but it will be interesting to see if he takes anyone up on their offers. My money would be on the NBC Heads-Up Championship, but I imagine the guy just wants to go home and have a beer right about now. If he accepts an offer to play in a poker tournament, it would be absolutely huge for the game…

The Olympic Face of Poker: Vanessa Rousso?

by , Aug 10, 2008 | 5:57 pm

While I can’t keep up with all of the Olympic coverage, I’m doing my damnedest. My TiVo has been working in hyperdrive, recording everything airing on NBC, the USA network, and CNBC, and I’m watching a lot and fast-forwarding (with occasional stops) through everything else. With more than 24 hours of coverage a day, it’s a Herculean task.

One thing I’ve noticed is that PokerStars is putting up a fair amount of commercials during the Olympics, at least here in the Atlanta market. (Can anyone watching the Olympics in other markets confirm that it’s national?) The two commercials I’ve noticed the most are from PokerStars — one with Daniel Negreanu (playing pool & playing poker) and one with Vanessa Rousso (bungee jumping & playing poker). Of the two, I think the Vanessa Rousso one stands out much more — more contrast between bungee jumping and poker compared to Daniel’s billiards commercial, and it also has a taste of those “extreme sports” that the young’uns seem to like.

Regardless of what you think of Vanessa as a poker player, I think this could actually be good for the game of poker. One of the things Barry Greenstein came away with during last year’s Congressional visit (to discuss the legality of online poker) was how impressed the congressmen were with the female players who showed up — Annie Duke and Vanessa Rousso. In their eyes, Vanessa is an attractive young woman with a degree from Duke University, and plenty of opportunities open to her. But she chose to play poker. That challenges their view of poker much more than seeing players like Greenstein or Doyle Brunson.

I highly doubt poker will see a post-Olympic bounce from these commercials, but if PokerStars is targeting an entirely new demographic of sports fans, I think they could do a lot worse than putting Vanessa Rousso out front and center.

More Poker at the Olympics

by , Aug 9, 2008 | 11:27 pm

Brendan Hansen … American swimmer … just got third in his semi-final in the 100m breaststroke. (Really, how amazing is that — to be able to breast-stroke the length of a football field in less than a minute.) Anyhow, apparently he’s been struggling a bit, having posted some disappointing times in some prelims or trials or something failed to qualify for the 200m breast … and the announcer (sorry, haven’t learned who’s doing which sport yet) started speculating that it was a calculated “poker play” — not showing his best cards yet, saving them for the finals? I dunno, the metaphor’s kinda lost on me … but still, poker … olympics. Go NBC!

What Poker Can Learn From the Olympics

by , Aug 8, 2008 | 8:36 pm

In case your Friday night included something more interesting than watching TV (mine didn’t), I’m here to tell you that the summer Olympics “started” with the Opening Ceremonies tonight. Actually, the ceremonies took place about half a day ago in Beijing, but NBC is presenting them in a “plausibly live” format during prime time. Hmmm … where have I heard that term (“plausibly live”) before? 

For 17 days, the Olympics will dominate NBC’s networks here in the United States, and fill up enough news coverage to finally give Americans a break from the seemingly endless presidential election. (Other countries are fortunate in the fact that they generally get less nationalistic — and often more interesting — coverage than NBC provides here in the U.S.)

During that time, I’ll be writing about some things the poker industry can learn from the Olympics. Not the game itself, or the silly notion that poker should be added to the Olympics. I’m mainly concerned with the media coverage, and what we as poker reporters can learn from it. 


The Real Skinny on the Future of High Stakes Poker

by , Jun 18, 2008 | 3:18 pm

Despite previous reports suggesting the possibility of otherwise …

High Stakes Poker is not moving to the Golden Nugget — and it hasn’t yet been renewed for a new season. At least not for now on paper in any way. This comes from a well-informed higher-up involved with Poker PROductions — the company that produces both High Stakes Poker and Poker after Dark.

To be clear, HSP has not been canceled … it just hasn’t been renewed yet. You know, fine line, kinda like “collateral damage”/”mass slaughter”. However, hold your breaths, HSP fans … because supposedly a more official announcement about the show’s renewal or lack thereof is coming, in about a week-and-a-half. From whom — GSN, NBC, HSP, Poker PROductions — we’re not so sure.

Where GSN’s relationship with the World Poker Tour fits into all this also is unclear — but obviously a relevant component.

But for now, Poker after Dark is definitely back on … rumored to have a cash game component, too … and will be moving from South Point Casino to the Golden Nugget. But that’s the least surprising, since this show is really a Full Tilt time-buy/infomercial with no reason to go away.

Rebuy! High Stakes Poker Back in Action? (6/8/08)
High Stakes Poker Canceled? (5/13/08)

Poker-playin’ Journalist Dies

by , Jun 13, 2008 | 12:51 pm

Venerable journalist Tim Russert has died at age 58 of a heart attack. Russert, of course, was the Washington bureau chief of NBC News and the host of Meet the Press … and he liked, played, and respected poker. It was during the 2004 presidential campaign where he addressed the Democratic strategy of trying to win the Rust Belt states by saying that going after Ohio was “like drawing to an inside straight.”

Too true …

Back in the day, Russert played in a home game with Johnny Carson.

High Stakes Poker Back in Action?

by , Jun 8, 2008 | 3:38 am

photo: Steve Hall / Pokerfolio
There probably wouldn’t have been a Chris Moneymaker without this guy. The same might be said about a new season of HSP.

Yesterday was supposed to be the day we learned the future of the World Poker Tour. No such luck. However, WSOP stalwart monopodder Steve Hall hears from Eric Drache, who was playing in Day 1 of the $10,000 7-stud World Championship, that High Stakes Poker will be back. The word is that HSP, along with Poker after Dark, will be moving from the South Point Casino back to the Golden Nugget. High Stakes will reportedly begin filming new episodes in August.

No info yet on time-buys or even what network will be airing the show(s) — but all indications point toward NBC. Drache is one of those important poker people who few of us have heard of — his last cash coming in 1991, where he finished 5th in a 7-stud event in Laughlin. But since then he’s gone on to manage all sorts of card rooms — including the Golden Nugget — and most recently has served as a consultant for NBC.

Drache is also the guy credited with creating the concept of tournament satellites and the “must move” table, according to Wikipedia.

UPDATE: It’s possible but not likely we are wrong on this. Less traceable thirdhand sources are saying no way this is happening at the Golden Nugget.

Poker TV Review: NBCNHUPC

by , May 4, 2008 | 4:07 pm

I’m currently watching the Heads-Up Championship on NBC — round of 16. Mildly entertaining … it was fun to see Orel Hersheiser slightly outplay Freddy Deeb in a hand, and Full Tilt has some pretty cool new commercials. But still, the show as a whole isn’t as exciting as the commercials for the PGA Players Championship. Maybe someday … This would be much better, of course, were it being aired pseudo- or semi-live, when we still cared about our brackets.

The side profiles are pretty good — Doyle Brunson on the old guys, Orel on the similarities between poker and baseball … And I gotta say, Ali Nejad is proving he’s a top-notch color analyst — witty and well-informed.

Overall, the show is sucking me in. I give it a solid A-minus. 90 if you’re using numbers. I know Oliver (Tse, not Nejad) will have many thoughts on the ratings this show is getting, and what that means for the future of televised poker. I say more coverage of the outside tables — with or without hole-card cams — would make it better. (They only had two tables cammed up when they recorded it.)


I Want My Tom TV!

by , Apr 13, 2008 | 8:38 pm

NBC Heads-Up Championship was on today. Did anyone see it? I saw about 10 minutes of it — but I blinked so I missed Tom.

However, interestingly, I was watching it with a non-poker-player … and he was a little confused, thinking it was live. He seemed a little disturbed when I explained it was shot like 6 weeks ago or so. Then, unsolicited from me, he said, “Why don’t they show poker live? That would totally be sick. I would really get into it if it [were] live.”

“What you are saying is more interesting than you realize,” I said. “It’s kinda a hot topic right now.”

“So you already know the winner of this?” I nodded and he changed the channel to hockey.

Tomorrow be sure to watch the World Poker Tour on GSN. Tom is back to his old tricks finishing in fourth place and getting a full 10 seconds of TV time.