HPT final tables move from six to nine

31 December 2012

FARGO, ND (PRESS RELEASE)-– More poker players will get the opportunity to play on national television in 2013 as Heartland Poker Tour upgrades to a nine-handed Final Table at every stop. Previously, hundreds of players competed in each tournament for one of the coveted six seats in front of the cameras. Adding three seats means over 150 players will get their moment of glory in the upcoming season.

"We're taking everything that is great about HPT and making it bigger and better in Season 9," said Jen Mastrud, HPT Director of Operations.

The opportunity to play on TV sets HPT apart from similarly-priced tournaments across the country. The upgrade to a nine-handed Final Table now sets HPT apart from other poker shows as well. With the exception of the World Series of Poker’s November Nine, HPT will be the only tournament televising the final nine players.

Since the show’s debut in 2005, nearly 700 players have been featured on the show. Mastrud said the exposure is often as enticing as the six-figure prize money at stake. HPT is syndicated to over 100 million U.S. households and plans are in place to expand TV distribution abroad in 2013. At least 35 million viewers will be able to watch the program throughout Europe and Asia.

To accommodate three additional players, HPT upgraded to a state-of-the-art Final Table custom built for television. It features nine high-definition hole cameras and LED lighting. HPT will now be filmed with 16 HD cameras on three sets. Each of the sets underwent a makeover to match the new look of the show.

Earlier this month, HPT announced another major addition to the show: well-known pro Maria Ho. She will join Fred Bevill at a newly-designed broadcast desk to commentate each episode.

"Viewers will see HPT at its best in 2013 and beyond," said Bevill, who also produces the show.

One of the new segments planned for 2013 includes "Players to Watch." HPT cameras will take to the floor for the first time to report from the Main Event field, introducing even more players to the TV audience. Jaymz Larson, host of HPT's live broadcasts on HPTpoker.com, will step into the role of field reporter.

The new look will be revealed when Season Nine episodes debut early next year. Filming for Season 9 begins with a week-long event on a Caribbean Cruise in January.

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