Frozen in time: High Stakes Poker

On January 16, 2006, the first episode of High Stakes Poker premiered on GSN.

The show was built around a simple concept – well-known pros and rich amateurs playing cash with a minimum buy-in of $100k (upped to $500k in Season 4). It came about after Eric Drache and Mori Eskandani pitched a gimmicky TV show to GSN execs. At a later dinner Johnny Chan wandered up to Eskandani and casually dropped in, ‘Yeah, I just lost $700,000 to Phil Ivey.’ The execs were smitten, the cash game concept was given the green light and filming began at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. High Stakes Poker ran for seven seasons, but purists will remember only seasons 1-5, with the original line-up of Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza. The last two seasons weren’t a patch on these but are still better than anything else on TV at the moment. Somone, anyone… Bring it back!

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