is gearing up for the fourth edition of the Sports Stars Challenge this spring and for the first time, the online poker room is allowing its customers to earn a spot in the competition through online qualifiers.
The Sports Stars Challenge is a relatively simple concept: seven heats of players, grouped by the sport with which they are associated, will battle it out at the poker table. The winner of each group will advance to the final table to play for their share of $84,000. In previous Challenges, there were only six groups of players, and thus six players at the final table.
Sports celebrities scheduled to participate include:

  • Frank Leboeuf – former French football (soccer) defender. Made 50 appearances for the French national team, scoring 5 goals, and was a member of the team that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
  • Giancarlo Fisichella – Italian Formula One driver, currently racing for Force India. Also known as “Fisico” or “Fisi”, he has won three times on the Formula One circuit.
  • Phil “The Power” Taylor – the most successful darts player in history. The Englishman has 14 world titles and over 75 other major tournament victories.
  • Ronald de Boer – Dutch footballer who played for team Netherlands in both the 1994 and 1998 World Cups.
  • Sven “The Phantom” Ottke – former German boxer who held the IBF world super middleweight title from 1998 to 2004. He retired undefeated in his professional career.
  • Graeme McDowell – Irish golfer who has four wins on the European Tour.
  • Andy Goode – English rugby player, all-time leading scorer in Guinness Premiership history.
  • Jan Mølby – Danish footballer, manager, and television commentator.
  • Agnieszka Rylik – world champion female boxer and television presenter.
  • Thomas Helmer – former German footballer who won the European Championship as a member of Bayern Munich in 1996.

Through May 17th, Party Poker is awarding two spots per team every week through its online qualifiers. Every day through May 10th, will hold two freerolls for a specific team – gives the example of football for Monday, rugby for Tuesday, etc. – with the top ten finishers in each freeroll moving on to their sport’s final during the final week of the promotion (May 11th through May 17th). The top two finishers in each final will win the Sports Stars Challenge package, which includes a spot on the team for which they qualified.
The Sports Stars Challenge will take place May 29th through June 1st in the UK.
The Sports Stars Challenge III, held last February, was won by kickboxing television presenter, Kara Scott, of Brighton, UK by way of Alberta, Canada. She bested darts pro Wayne Mardle, six-time snooker world champion Steve Davis, former cricket player Gladstone Small, rugby player Brad Drew, and former Manchester United player and fan favorite Norman Whiteside. Scott eliminated both the third and fourth place finishers (Small and Davis, respectively) in one hand when her K-J bested Davis’ T-5 and Small’s K-2 suited.
Going into heads-up play against Whiteside, Scott had about a 2.5-to-1 chip advantage. She eliminated him quickly, calling his all-in (K-8) with A-4. Not only was this the first win for a woman in the short history of the event, but it was the first final table for a woman, as well. Kara Scott won £20,000 for her efforts, money she said she was going to use towards her poker bankroll.

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