Neither PokerStars nor Full Tilt Poker can seem to do anything these days without the other responding.  Within days of each other recently, the top two online poker rooms in the world announced that they will each launch their own branded poker television shows.
PokerStars was the first to make the announcement, revealing its new show “The Big Game,” which will air on Fox.  “The Big Game” appears to be PokerStars’ answer to the immensely popular “High Stakes Poker,” which airs on GSN.  The show will feature a $200/$400 No Limit Hold’em cash game with a $100,000 minimum buy-in.  Daniel Negreanu, a “High Stakes Poker” mainstay, is the only professional player that has been confirmed for the show to this point.
One aspect that will differentiate “The Big Game” from “High Stakes Poker” will be the inclusion of online qualifiers.  The online poker room is running daily freerolls through June 25th in which the winners will move on to the Big Game Final Round.  The top 200 finishers in the Final Round will then have the chance to send casting videos to PokerStars to make their pitch as to why they should get a seat at the big boys’ table.
The players selected will be dubbed “Loose Cannons” and be given the $100,000 buy-in by PokerStars.  If the Loose Cannon so chooses, he can bring his own money to put on top of the $100,000.  Any profit above the $100,000 buy-in can be kept by the qualifier.  If the Loose Cannon turns a profit in a session, he will be invited back for the next episode.
Full Tilt’s new show is more like NBC’s “Poker After Dark,” which the site also sponsors.  The show, called “The Poker Lounge,” is a series of ten six-handed sit and go tournaments.  Each has a buy-in of $20,000, just like “Poker After Dark,” and the winner will walk away with $120,000.
Like PokerStars, Full Tilt allows its customers to win a seat in the Lounge to compete against some of the world’s top pros.  At least eight episodes will feature one online qualifier and five pros, such as Team Full Tilt members Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen. Full Tilt Poker players can win a seat via one of eight $600 + $40 direct qualifiers, the next of which is April 11th at 2:30pm ET.  Players can satellite into the qualifiers via lower buy-in tournaments as well.  Winners will receive a $22,000 prize package, which consists of the $20,000 buy-in and $2,000 for travel expenses (winners must arrange travel to London themselves).
“The Poker Lounge” will be broadcast on Channel 4 in the U.K. on Monday nights from 0:00 to 1:00 GMT starting on June 21st.  Filming will take place in London from May 14th through May 16th as well as from July 24th through July 25th.

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