CBS is hoping that the red-hot poker trend continues, as it has teamed up with a promoter to televise poker tournaments in which amateurs play together with the pros.
The network negotiated a deal with ProJo Poker Enterprises to televise eight ProJo tournaments. The first will be the “ProJo Christmas Poker Classic,” airing on Dec. 25.
With the deal, CBS is making the biggest move yet by a broadcast network into the poker world. Although NBC has done a few special tournaments, poker has largely been a cable phenomenon, with channels such as ESPN, Bravo and Discovery Travel getting big ratings as a result.
ProJo Poker stages its tournaments with amateur players in mind, consisting of low buy-ins and keeping professional players out of the early rounds. Eight pros join the tournament in the semifinal round, playing at one table while the eight top amateurs play at another. The last four remaining at each table advance to the final. ProJo’s 26-tournament schedule awards a total of $40 million in cash and prizes.