Poker Night in America (PNIA) today released additional details about its upcoming debut of “Studio 52,” billed as a “poker residency” taking place and being filmed at an undisclosed location in Las Vegas.
PNIA first teased the Studio 52 content launch a week ago on social media, including a brief video and complimentary posts from one of the show’s stars, Lexy Gavin-Mather. The video offered a first glimpse at the luxurious 10,000-square-foot Vegas home that’s been reconfigured into the Studio 52 set, including at least one poker table and plenty of poker-lifestyle trappings.
According to a statement from PNIA parent Rush Street Interactive, Studio 52 is the longtime dream of “Poker Night in America” founder Todd Anderson. Anderson, a North Dakota native who also founded the now-defunct Heartland Poker Tour, currently resides in the spacious Studio 52 home.
A ‘Who’s Who’ of invitees
Anderson has assembled his own “who’s who” list of guest players and content providers who will appear on the show, which will be fully billed as “Poker Night in America LIVE at Studio 52.” The show will be streamed live on Wednesdays at 8 pm PT on YouTube and Twitch. The full season will also be available on the Poker Night in America YouTube channel.
Additional content will also be available on the YouTube channel of BetRivers, the Rush Street casino entity that will also serve as Studio 52’s primary sponsor. Anderson has also invited what is described as “a roster of world-class chefs, mixologists, and entertainers” to add more vibrancy to the production. The May 15 debut episode features DJ Chef of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” who will create digestive delicacies from the Studio 52 kitchen.
Besides Gavin-Mather, Phil Galfond, and Lon McEachern, notable poker figures already invited to be part of the Studio 52 production include Run It Up’s Jason Somerville, “AceHoles” content creators Caitlin Comeskey and Nikki Limo, and poker podcaster Joey Ingram.
Stylish poker ‘mansion’ frames celebrity poker gatherings
The Studio 52 house and set may end up emerging as the show’s biggest star, irrespective of the poker luminaries invited to take part. Besides the poker set and production facility, the Studio 52 venue also includes a luxury commentary suite, a backyard wine cave, an outdoor game pavilion, and other entertainments.
“You never know who’s going to show up at Studio 52 but you’re sure to see some recognizable faces in a whole new light,” said Anderson. “We’re breaking the mold for TV poker and doing things we couldn’t do in a casino setting. We are rolling out the red carpet at our Vegas mansion for these stars to give players and fans at home the feeling that they too are attending the exclusive parties.”
“With the release of Studio 52, we’re redefining what a live poker show can be, and BetRivers is thrilled to bring this new twist on poker entertainment to both players and fans alike,” said Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz. “Poker Night in America’s new Vegas home, like BetRivers, is the ultimate hangout for players who enjoy the rush of betting and having fun. These poker purists and poker enthusiasts are also passionate about online casino and sportsbook betting, so this is another step in our strategy of creating high quality and unique experiences for our current and prospective players.”
Anderson shares backstory on Studio 52 creation
Studio 52 creator Anderson spoke directly to PokerOrg about how the Vegas poker mansion came to be. In a response to a quippy question as to whether this project could make him poker’s version of Hugh Hefner, Anderson responded, “I was watching a documentary about Hugh Hefner a few years ago and was amazed to learn he did a syndicated TV show in 1959 called ‘Playboys Penthouse’.” It was widely considered the coolest place to be and was frequented by the biggest stars of the day.
“It inspired me to do something like that with poker. Try and create the coolest place to be. Somewhat ambitious I know, but that’s the goal. The house is really great. We decorated it ourselves — honestly, my girlfriend deserves all the credit.
Anderson continued on how he’d like to see the project evolve. “Now it’s up to us to make it translate on TV. Opening night will feature a celeb chef, professional bartender and even a magician. Someday I’d like to have a mini concert in the outdoor pavilion. All guests and players are treating to complimentary everything. Even tipping won’t be necessary!”
Featured image source: PNIA