$60 million winner-take-all poker tournament set

Updated: December 12, 2005, 4:07 PM ET
By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Six players will compete in a winner-take-all $60 million poker tournament next summer in what's believed to be the largest single-day payout in the history of sports on television.

Fox Sports Net and Mansionpoker.net reached agreement on a three-year deal, with the pots growing to $75 million in 2007 and $100 million in 2008 for the one-day competitions at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.

The first tournament is scheduled July 12 and will last at least six hours and perhaps up to 10 hours, according to George Greenberg, the executive vice president of programming and production for FSN.

"This event will transcend poker in the United States and take on a global platform,'' Greenberg said Monday. ``It'll be the largest single payday in the history of sports and will turn the poker world on its ear."

Phil Ivey, who has a reputation as one of the world's best Texas Hold 'em players, will be one of the six taking part. Identity of the others will be announced later, Greenberg said, adding that the entry fee for each of the six is $10 million.

Poker has grown greatly in popularity since television became involved in recent years. FSN, ESPN, NBC-TV, the Travel Channel, GSN and Bravo have all presented TV series.

Perhaps the most popular televised event has been the World Series of Poker. Joseph Hachem of Australia collected $7.5 million for winning the main event of the 36th World Series in Las Vegas last summer. A field of 5,619 entered the $10,000 buy-in Texas Hold 'em tournament. Each of the nine players who reached the final table won at least $1 million.