By Nathan Carroll, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
Poker pro and all-around good guy Barry Greenstein took to the message boards at 2+2 recently to responds to rumors concerning the next season of GSN's High Stakes Poker. The story kicking around the boards was that Full Tilt Poker Pros--including Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Phil Ivey--would be banned from appearing on future seasons of the show. The restriction was supposed to have followed a deal between PokerStars and the show's producers that makes FTP's main rival the official sponsor of the show and also transfers ownership of past seasons to Stars.
While the deal between PokerStars and High Stakes Poker is real, Greenstein quickly corrected the notion that the shows's producers are willingly casting out some of the best and most exciting poker players in the game today. Instead, it's Full Tilt which is putting its foot down and forbidding its pros from appearing on HSP. Greenstein explains that all parties involved are disappointed that it's come to this, but no one is placing blame. "The sentiment was that PokerStars, FTP, and GSN all make business decisions," he writes.
One of Full Tilt's major concerns is that PokerStars' ownership of the HSP archives will enable them to post early episodes on their PokerStars.tv website--including episodes from the early seasons when none of the players wore logos. Appearing without FTP patches in videos on a PokerStars sponsored site, the obvious concern is that Full Tilt Pros will be mistakenly understood to be sponsored by PokerStars instead. FTP owners feel that one of their strongest assets is their stable of world-class professionals, and have no desire to see that advantage compromised.
Dwan and Ivey are two of the most prominent of the FTP pros, but under the proposed boycott, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Mike Matusow, Erick Lindgren, and HSP fan favorite Eli Elezra--among many others--would also be unable to appear. On the other hand, FTP's refusal to participate may enable pros sponsored by PokerStars or other sites to get a shot at the big game of High Stakes Poker. Players like Daniel Negreanu, Betrand "Elky" Grospellier, and Doyle Brunson can take advantage of the supposed FTP boycott to snag some facetime on GSN.
Stay tuned to the Rakeback.com Poker News page for information about the season's premiere and offical air dates. And in the meantime, fans of Dwan, Ivey, and the Full Tilt Team can still watch their favorite players in action on season 7 of HSP's rival on the small screen, Poker After Dark. That season will premiere on NBC in January, and here's what to expect.
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