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Play now!  Poker princess Annie Duke was named commissioner of the new Pro Poker League, which will have an initial schedule of four marquee tournaments and one championship event at the Palms.

PPL features the world’s Top 200 players, and the events will be rake free for poker pros with generous prize pool overlays. The league will have a proprietary ranking system based on an eligibility formula driven by mathematics and achievement. The system will tabulate the top pros with guidelines similar to golf and tennis. Jeffrey Pollack, former president and commissioner of the World Series of Poker, is partnered with Annie to create the league.


Duke has won a World Series of Poker bracelet, took the National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2010 and has live tournament winnings exceeding $4 million. She recently announced her departure as a sponsored pro with and hasn’t yet signed with a new online poker site.

The league hasn’t been named. It will be “rake-free” for the gamblers, meaning the house won’t take any of the money wagered, and there will be “generous prize pool overlays,” the release said. The championship, with free entry to qualifiers, will be worth $1 million, according to the Associated Press. While there are many made-for-television events that feature poker’s top players, tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour allow anyone to participate if they put in the entry fee. The World Series of Poker’s no- limit Texas hold’em main event has a buy-in of $10,000. Organizers didn’t list the entry fees for the new league in their release. Qualification for the new league will use mathematics and historical achievement to rank the top poker players with “guidelines similar to those governing professional golf and tennis,” according to the release.

The league will try to attract pros in several different manners. First, it will be televised, although it’s not clear which network will be broadcasting the events. Likely landing spots include ESPN and Fox SportsNet, which already have a lot of poker programming. NBC, which airs the National Heads Up Poker Championship and Poker After Dark, and Fox, which has aired PokerStars’ Million Dollar Challenge and The Big Game, would also be possibilities. The league also features no rake and overlays for its tournaments, making the events more appealing to pros with lots of winnings and lots of choices of where to play poker.



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