Such publicized success by the WSOP and the WPT naturally has attracted competitors, and the proliferation of big money poker tournaments is sure to continue. Among these newcomers is The Intercontinental Poker Championship, a tournament that puts a new twist on old concepts by promoting exclusivity as a primary feature.
The Intercontinental Poker Championship made its debut on Saturday, June 17, 2006, and continued through Saturday, July 22nd. Comprised of eight weekend shows, and televised by CBS Sports, the tournament was populated by 21 of the worlds top poker players, from 21 different countries recruited on an invitation-only basis. The players in this exclusive competition were:
Antanas Guoga (Tony G) .. Australia Daniel Negreanu .... Canada Johnny Chan .. China Humberto Brenes .. Costa Rica David Ulliott England David Benyamine France Dan ODea ... Ireland Eli Elezra .. Israel Marco Traniello Italy Yosh Nakano Japan Sammy Farha Lebanon Refugio Quintero . Mexico Thor Hansen .Norway Hasan Habib .Pakistan Ralph Perry . Russia Carlos Mortensen Spain Stephen Wolff ..South Africa Jimmy Cha . South Korea Chris Bjorin Sweden Doyle Brunson United States Chau Giang Vietnam
Played at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, the telecasts were rife with pomp and circumstance as each countries flag was displayed in turn accompanied by their national anthem. Veteran sportscaster Jeff Medders described the play-by-play assisted by poker player, tv analyst and former tv star, Gabe Kaplan ( Welcome Back, Kotter ).
The game was Texas hold em. The prizes; $350,000 for the winner which eventually was Japans Yoshio Nakano, and $150,000 for second place winner Tony G of Australia. There were no other prizes awarded.
The intercontinental Poker Championship has introduced an entirely new concept to tournament poker, snob appeal. You cannot buy into this tournament, you are selected by the tournament officials based upon your prominence as a player. Still another entirely new dimension has been brought into tournament poker by this tournament, since the players are selected from different countries, bringing national pride into the picture as well, a concept hugely appealing to viewers.
And finally, spectators can participate in the games vicariously through the viewing of the players hole cards through the ingenious hole card cam, a lipstick-sized device designed to enable viewers to see the players bluffs and strategies first-hand.
The Intercontinental Poker Championship was originated by an amazing man, one Henry Orenstein, (born circa 1925). A survivor of Nazi concentration camps in his youth, Orenstein is a successful inventor, holding more than 100 patents, and is the inventor of the aforementioned hole cam to which he still holds exclusive rights.
Orensteins accomplishments dont stop there. He is also a top professional poker player in his own right. One of the oldest tournament players, the octogenarian won $130,000 in the 1996 WSOP tourney, defeating some of the tournaments best players at seven-card stud. He has finished in the money numerous times at the WSOP and other tournaments, such as the United States Poker Championship, and his continuing contributions to the popularity of televised tournament poker have proven invaluable.
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Article Added on Sunday, November 26, 2006
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