High Stakes Poker season 8 cancelled – was HSP a Full Tilt charade?

High Stakes Poker Season 8 has been cancelled by GSN. The High Stakes Poker show was a real highlight for poker fans when it started but it is another victim of Black Friday and the Full Tilt Poker Fiasco.

Even worse High Stakes Poker may have been a charade and a fitting tribute to all that was the old Full Tilt Poker.

High Stakes Poker has lost its popularity in the last couple of season but the news that the High Stakes Poker Season 8 series has been cancelled is still a bit of a shock as some had thought it might survive the post Black Friday poker TV show cull.

Rumours have been circulation since the demise (temporary?) of Full Tilt that High Stakes Poker was not the real deal. In fact it seems to have been a Full Tilt High Stakes Poker charade much like Full Tilt who ‘sponsored’ most of its players.

Mike Matusow publicly released the cat out of the bag, or made people suddenly think about what had happened before, after a situation on another poker show. In a Poker After Dark episode where he and Phil Hellmuth made an interesting and controversial deal. They agreed to pull back most of the money in the pot, that included another players small contribution, and only play for a much smaller amount. This was because they were flipping with AK v pocket Jacks but more importantly, unknown to those watching, were actually flipping with their own money and not Full Tilts funny money. Mike Matusow came in for a lot of stick and said on Facebook

all them other guys don’t play on their own money. They cheat and equity chop everyone online. I don’t feel like playing $200k pots

Phil Ivey plays on all of your guys’ money lol

high stakes poker cancelled season 8 gsn show tv
High Stakes Poker cancelled

Full Tilt High Stakes Poker charade?

Mike Matusow got other people talking and thinking about the whole High Stakes Poker scenario and especially Full Tilt Poker’s involvement in it.

Other players suggested similar things were happening poker shows and that most of the players on the High Stakes Poker were not playing with their own money and had deals with each other, so they could gamble. A very basic accusation of ‘team work’ amongst certain pros and especially the Full Tilt Pros.

The rumours are that Full Tilt used High Stakes Poker as a high profile advertising campaign. They bankrolled/sponsored their patched pros – so the pros were not losing their own money – and got high exposure on TV to all poker players in the world. This helped Full Tilt to become the High Stakes poker site to play on. Even if PokerStars have always had at least double the amount of cash table action and players, PokerStars did not have the High Stake poker stars.

This was part of Mike Matusow complaint and defense of himself. He was playing with his own $100,000 whereas the others were not. They could afford to take the gambles on High Stakes poker cash game shows but for him if he lost that $100,000 he actually lost his own $100,000 and not ‘Full Tilt money’.

Full Tilt money that actually turned out to be your money as Full Tilt did not segregate your player funds from any other funds. Such as promotions and perhaps ‘sponsoring’ their pros in the now cancelled High Stakes Poker.



Zak ‘PenFold’ Vella – Our expert of all things Maltese and Italian. One of the main people responsible for opening up the Italian market and bringing the joys of Enetpoker Network to the rest of the world. For which one day Zak will be knighted. Also known in the Content writing business as ‘Mr Google Translate’ as he can speak and write in more languages than it can.

  • Mrs. Matusow

    this is the dumbest article ever. stfu mike who the fuk cares wat u hav to say

  • PokerQ4

    Maybe its not and he is in fact Mike ‘The Mouth of Truth’ Matusow?


  • If the players were not using their own money to play – very wrong.
    Will lose much respect of those players involved.
    It was touted many times as ‘real money’, ‘their own money’, etc.
    Enjoyed the show tremendously and really miss Gabe Kaplin. Was
    he involved in this nonsense? Mike should be commended for bringing
    this to light (even if by accident). Can’t blame him for being
    upset about using his cash while others used other money’.

    • PokerQ4

      I have never heard about Gabe Kaplin being involved in it but you never know. The worst thing Gabe has been accused of, apart from not playing enough poker events and commentating enough for our liking, was this tiny scandal which has nothing to do with the high stakes poker shows but shows the circles Gabe moves in.

      When searching for more info on that I found this 2006 thread on the fullcontactpoker forum which asked are the players in high stakes on gsn comp’d?

      Daniel Negreanu who has a blog there answered with this info that I never knew!

      “The players were paid like actors- $1250 an hour. There was 24 hours of filming so GSN paid the players a total of $240,000. There was no rake, but the dealers did accept tokes”

      Danial filled his boots and pockets “I played the whole 24. They are filming 13 episoded and it’s all edited down to show you some of the best stuff. “

      • so daniel got paid $30k per season and lost $500k+ over the seven seasons. he emptied his boots and pockets

        • Anonymous

          Thats 13 Episodes not seasons so he probably made over 1 million over the whole 7 seasons.

          • Anonymous

            Doesn’t matter how many episodes there were. The games shown each season were played over the course of 24 hours, then cut and edited to fit 1 hour shows. He was only paid for 24 hours each season, assuming he played the full 24 hours each time. Paul is correct.

  • anonymous

    Actually i think what mike i saying could very well be true, but obviously now there’s another interesting question to be asked:

    if mike was a fulltilt member also, why was “everybody” playing “fulltilt money” except himself?
    i really don’t think mike is the kinda guy that wouldn’t accept that kinda money because he could not live with it.

    actually if u really believe in this kinda conspiracy scenario then mike would be the type of guy that gotten alot money himself from FT, wasted it/donked it off and now hes probably telling the truth because ppl don’t back up his escapades anymore cus he’s a big losing player and now he’s kinda jealous and blows the whistle i could imagine that very well … but WHO knows … the whole world is a fraud today and ppl refuse to shut it down because they rather be lead into a disaster than not beeing lead at all, not knowing what to do … thats the sad truth, we are mostly sheeps …

  • Anonymous

    seriously some people in the world, whether or not its all the tv pro’s money or not doesnt even matter, maybe its their’s, maybe there playing partly theirs and partly a ‘investors’, but the money that came from fulltilt (which at this stage is confirmed) isnt just pretend ‘if u lose it oh well’, it was just a line of credit, just making it easier to move money around, the money they had was never just random money, i actually dont know how some people just come up with the dumbest, most bitter statements……

  • Hex

    It is not uncommon for players and business men to bank roll each other and make deals behind the scenes, it happens all the time in the cash game and tournament circuit, even where players end up facing off against their backers.

    Why people should seek to make this into some mini drama focused on Full tilt and black Friday is beyond me, everyone in and around poker knows it goes on, staking is a common practice.

    Where large sums of money are involved, there are always others looking to get a piece of the action, and there will always be players looking for insurance or a stake to minimize any potential loss.

    Just because this was filmed for TV why expect it to be any different.

  • Anonymous

    And in some cases you have to assume that they were at least in part using their own money as lots of the big names lost their stacks then pulled 25k chips from their pockets.

  • Anonymous

    In some of the episodes of season 4 you can clearly hear Sammy Farha say or ask other players “Yeah but, yesterday I was playing my own money” or “Yeah, but you’re probably not playing your own money”. So, this erases any doubt from the fact that others were staking the players or that the sponsors were offering funds to certain players to play around with. Throughout the different seasons you can also see differences regarding betting amounts and pot sizes (they would get really inflated during some shows/seasons, whilst on other episodes/seasons the amounts were much more reasonable).

  • Bordeauxm

    I’ve been told by a friend that works production on some of these shows that the show puts up money, maybe $100k prize to who ever is the big winner for the session, the chips they are playing is not their money. Not sure if this applies to all of these “cash” games.