Fans of high-stakes poker rejoice! In just over a month’s time, Hustler Casino Live will be hosting one of the biggest-ever televised games when it airs its $1 million buy-in event. The game will feature a number of poker’s up-and-coming personalities, such as Nik Airball (as long as he can make time between his bathroom breaks), Eric Persson, and Ethan “Rampage” Yau, all competing for life-changing sums of money.
As we alluded to in the intro, the game will be filled with some of the newer poker personalities rather than the old guard you’d expect to see in games like this. There’s no Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, or Phil Ivey in this game.
In fact, there’s a marked absence of any what you’d call “established high-stakes pros”. The closest you’d get is Rampage, and while there’s no doubt he’s a poker pro, he’s best known for being a poker personality.
Let’s take a closer look at the confirmed line-up for this game.
This means we could be in for some spicy pots, as we expect to see players making plays based on their gut feeling rather than GTO, solver-approved outputs. There’s a decent chance that we could see the biggest-ever televised poker hand as the games get splashier toward the end of the weekend. The current record is held by Patrik Antonius, who won a $1,978,000 pot on PokerGo’s No Gamble No Future game in February this year.
The game will be played across three sessions, starting on the 27th of May and ending on the 29th of May - the perfect warm-up to get you in the poker mood in time for the WSOP. HCL has yet to confirm the start times for these streams, but we can expect them to start at around 16:30 PST or 00:30 GMT if they follow the pattern of other live streams.
It’s expected to start off at stakes of $500/$1000, but knowing the players that are involved, we can expect to see that bumped up by the end of the weekend either through straddles or blind increases.
There’s been a surprisingly mixed reception to the confirmation of the Million Dollar Game, as many fans are lamenting the lack of “real pros” in the game. It feels like having the highest stakes isn’t enough for people, as they want to see the best of the best play against each other rather than a room full of successful businessmen punting it off. After my piece on whether or not poker is actually about the poker anymore, it’s refreshing to see so many people come out in opposition against a lineup bereft of professionals.
One fan could barely hide his disdain in this reply to the HCL announcement.
Another succinctly sums up what many others are feeling about this lineup.
However, not everyone was bothered by the lack of professional players in the game, and are just looking forward to people playing for huge sums of money.
And some were just amazed that there was any dissent considering the buy-in amount!
While we’ll certainly all be watching, I can’t help but feel that the game would be improved with some professional players. Part of the appeal of the old High Stakes Poker was seeing the best of the best battle it out on the felt. While it wouldn’t have been quite as appealing if they weren’t playing for huge sums of money, it’s the battles between the pros that had us talking the most.
Even so, we’re in for a hell of a weekend of poker at the end of May, and despite the lack of pros, I can’t wait to see how it’s going to turn out.
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