Those staying up late during the week will be treated to a few new episodes of Poker After Dark starting this month. Poker After Dark began as a $20,000 buy-in winner-take-all shout out paying $120,000 to the last man (or woman) standing. In the beginning players like Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow, and Phil Hellmuth seemed to be on every episode. However, as the years have passed, PAD has evolved to include a wide array of both poker professionals and skilled amateurs. Some of the bigger names to grace the PAD stage have been Patrik Antonius, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Guy Laliberte, and Gus Hansen.

As the player pool expanded the show started to run cash games every few episodes. Rivaling High Stakes Poker on GSN, the Poker After Dark cash game was unique in that fans could see a new episode every night for two weeks. Some of the most exciting moments in the show’s early history came from cash game battles between Dwan, Hellmuth, and Ivey. While the $20,000 format still runs more often than the cash games, both have become wildly popular. One note on the upcoming season, those sad to see Daniel Negreanu is not on list are not alone. It seems Poker After Dark’s affiliation with FullTilt has caused a rift between PokerStars and the TV series. Unfortunately, no PokerStars sponsored professionals will be playing anytime soon. The following is a rundown of new and upcoming episodes:

January 4th – January 9th (Commentators Week) $20k Shoot Out
Howard Lederer — Two-time WSOP Bracelet winner and co-owner of FullTilt Poker.
Gabe Kaplan — High-stakes Poker commentator and former Welcome Back, Kotter star.
Joe Sebok — Co-founder of
Ali Nejad– Host of Poker After Dark as well as the NBC Heads-Up Championship.
Mark Gregorich — Wrote the Omaha Hi/Lo section in SuperSystem II.
Kara Scott — Hosted “Poker Night Live” and will host HSP along Kaplan in 2010.

January 11th – January 16th (Nicknames) $20k Shoot Out
Annette Oberstad — Feared female professional, won the 2007 WSOPE Main Event
Mike Matusow — FullTilt Sponsored professional, three-time WSOP bracelet winner
Antonio Esfandiari — Known as “the magician”, won a WSOP bracelet in 2004
Erick Lindgren — FullTilt Sponsored professional, won his first bracelet in 2008
Phil Laak — Known as “the unibomber” for the hoodie he wears at the poker table
Phil Hellmuth — The “Poker Brat” holds the WSOP bracelet record with 11.

March 15th – March 27th $50k Cash Game
Todd Brunson — Son of poker legend Doyle Brunson and WSOP bracelet winner
Chris Ferguson — Part-owner of FullTilt and former winner of the WSOP Main Event
Antonio Esfandiari — Co-starred with Phil Laak for two seasons on “I Bet You”
Brandon Adams — Ivy-league educated cash game professional
Mike Matusow — Known as “the mouth”, is more well-known for his blow-ups
Phil Hellmuth — Has struggled in cash games in the past, albeit against tougher line-ups

April 19th – April 24th (My favorite pro) $20k Shoot Out
Craig Ivey — Amateur player who won his seat through an online freeroll
James Ashby — Another amateur who qualified through online poker
Phil Hellmuth — Has appeared on every favorite pro episode
Chris Ferguson — Known as “Jesus” because of his appearance
Steve Bartlett — Qualified to play on PAD by winning Lederer’s Charity Event in 2009
Jens Voertmann — Winner of the 2008 WSOP $3,000 HOSE Event

April 26th – April 31st (He Said, She Said) $20k Shoot Out
Erica Schoenberg — FullTilt professional, engaged to high-stakes pro David Benyamine
Annie Duke — Howard Lederer’s sister, winner of one WSOP bracelet
Karina Jett — CardPlayer journalist, married to fellow professional Chip Jett
Jean-Robert Bellande — Former entrepreneur who is known for his table antics
Mike Matusow — Has only won one PAD table in over 10 appearances
David Grey — Two-time WSOP bracelet winner, made the 2003 Main Event final table

Poker After Dark airs at 2:05 AM EST Monday-Friday with a special “Directors Cut” episode appearing at 3:00 AM EST on Saturday.