Poker Superstars is a television show broadcast on the FSN networks (regional Fox Sports Net networks found in different regions of the USA). First broadcast in 2004, it features a unique poker tournament structure devised by Henry Orenstein, inventor of the holecam.
Poker Superstars is an invitation-only tournament that invites 24 famous poker professionals to compete in a series of tournaments with a point-awarding round-robin structure. In Series II, broadcast in 2005, it was held at the Casino Morongo in Cabazon, California. In Series III, being broadcast in 2006, it was held at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas.
The tournament starts with 24 6-seat single-table tournaments. Each player plays in 6 tournaments, each time matching up against a different set of their opponents. Players are awarded points based on their finishes, and the winner at each of the single-tables also gets a small cash prize of $10,000. Each tournament is filmed and edited down to a single one-hour show. Blinds increase quite quickly to keep the action fast-paced.
After the initial round of 24 tournaments, which the show bills as the "regular season", they enter the "playoffs". The top 16 finishers in terms of points of the original 24 players are grouped into four groups of four players each, and each group competes in two 4-seat single-table tournaments. The players are again awarded points based on their finishes in these two tournaments (their points from the "regular season" are not counted), and again the winner at each of the tournaments wins a small amount of cash ($20,000).
The top 2 points finishers in each of the four groups now enter a standard bracket-style playoff where they play heads-up with one other player, and the winner of each heads-up tournament moves up a bracket until only two players are left. Finally, those last two players play the best two-out-of-three heads-up tournaments, and the winner is declared.
The television hosts for Poker Superstars are Chris Rose and Michael Konik, and they generally keep the commentary lively but with some amount of insight. The tournament itself is run by the ubiquitous Matt Savage.
- A game based on this show was released on Steam in 2006.