PartyPoker.com poker ambassador, Mike Sexton, will have a new television gig next year to go along with his duties as legendary World Poker Tour announcer. Starting on a yet to be determined date in 2010 on MyNetworkTV, Sexton will host a new poker game show called “Shuffle Up and Deal.” With recently-born poker game shows “Face the Ace” and “PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge” receiving mixed to poor reviews, “Shuffle Up and Deal” will need to differentiate itself significantly to gain viewers, especially on a minor network.
It does sound, though, as if “Shuffle” might have a formula that will work. Most poker shows, game shows or otherwise, run into the problem of neither appealing to the hard core poker fan nor the casual fan. The poker isn’t shown in intricate enough detail to please the diehards and casual fans can’t relate to the high stakes and famous players. Sexton’s show looks like it will try to draw in mostly casual fans, which comprise a higher percentage of the television audience, while hoping to keep the serious players watching.
“Shuffle” will see amateur poker players choose cards from an electronic board as they try to make a strong five card hand. The winner of the episode, who will presumably win the most money through some sort of betting or points system (details have not been released yet), will advance to the bonus round. In the bonus round, the contestant will have a chance to win the show’s progressive jackpot, which starts at $250,000 and increases $10,000 each time a player does not win.
So, with the information we have right now, it seems like “Shuffle Up and Deal” will appeal to the masses by using the fast and easy-to-follow “pick a card, any card” format, a la “Deal or No Deal”, while hopefully incorporating enough strategy and psychological elements to allow diehard fans to enjoy it, too.
Speaking of “Deal or No Deal”, that is one of the programs shown on MyNetworkTV, a network beamed into 50 million households in the United States. Other popular programming options on the network include “WWE Smackdown”, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”, “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” and “The Unit.” Local MyNetworkTV affiliates also broadcast regional sporting events.
Despite Sexton’s role as PartyPoker.com spokesperson, it is not known at this time if there are any plans for Party Poker to sponsor “Shuffle Up and Deal.” Full Tilt Poker sponsors “Face the Ace” and PokerStars obviously sponsors “PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge.”
Mike Sexton has been the “man of the hour” recently, having just been inducted in the Poker Hall of Fame. He was the only inductee this year, as nobody else appeared on at least 75 percent of the ballots cast by the committee of living Hall of Fame members and poker media. The other finalists were Barry Greenstein, Men “The Master” Nguyen, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, Tom McEvoy, Erik Seidel, and Dan Harrington.
In addition to his popularity as announcer for the World Poker Tour and as the face of PartyPoker.com, Sexton has over $3.8 million in worldwide tournament earnings. He has one World Series of Poker bracelet, won in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Split event in 1989. Overall, he ranks 13th all-time in World Series of Poker cashes, with 46. Interestingly, his first two cashes were both at final tables in 1984 in the $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha and $1,000 Seven Card Stud Split events. Those 46 cashes have earned him $910,792 at the annual poker festival, while his $3.8 million in total winnings put him 77th on the all-time tournament poker winnings list.

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