SOURCE: PokerStars

PokerStars

PokerStars

December 09, 2009 15:13 ET

UFC Champ Tito Ortiz Opens Up During Best Heads Up Poker Match of Season "Wrestling Saved My Life"

Supermodel Joanna Krupa Impresses With Her Poker Prowess -- Most-Watched Poker TV Show in History Airs New Episode on Sunday, Dec. 13 on FOX

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - December 9, 2009) - PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge, the runaway most-watched poker television series in U.S. history, whose three episodes rank 1-2-3 in most number of viewers, returns on Sunday, December 13 with the most emotionally charged show of the season. PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge airs immediately after NFL on FOX coverage.*

Audience members at the taping of the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge's fourth show still aren't sure which was more surprising: UFC Champion Tito Ortiz baring his soul to his opponent, or supermodel Joanna Krupa acting as if poker, not modeling, is her profession.

In a first round heads up match against a college wrestling coach, Ortiz opened up about the impact the sport has had on his life and his career.

"Wrestling is what saved my life," said Ortiz, in the middle of playing a hand. "I was a kid who was on the streets. My parents weren't ready to grow up, you could say. They had a drug habit and wrestling is what saved me. I got into wrestling, it kept me off the streets, kept me out of gangs. It changed my whole life completely."

But just as impressive as Ortiz's honesty, are the skills he showcases in his opening round match. In what may arguably be the best heads up televised poker game of the year, Ortiz and his opponent go on a ridiculous roller coaster ride of great plays, monster suck outs and incredible calls that promise to keep poker fans on the edge of their seats throughout the show.

Fellow celebrity Joanna Krupa, the current Playboy cover model, was no less impressive. Named Maxim's Sexiest Swimsuit Model in the World and a recent Dancing with the Stars contestant, Krupa shows she has a second career on the felt should she ever decide to stop modeling.

Krupa, who played in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event, and has long been a fan favorite in the poker community, mixes up her game, alternating conservative and aggressive play to keep her opponent off balance. The fact that she's breathtakingly beautiful doesn't make it any easier for her opponents to get any tells.

Krupa and Ortiz star in the fourth installment of the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge, hosted by FOX's Chris Rose and featuring Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu, as online qualifiers from around the country vie for their chance to play Negreanu one-on-one for $1,000,000.

Getting to the grand prize match won't be easy: Contestants face a gauntlet of heads up matches, win and advance. Lose and go home:

--  Round 1: Take on Krupa or Ortiz in a fast-paced match. At least the
    contestants have the benefit of Negreanu coaching them at the table.
--  Round 2: Face off against 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event
    Champion Chris Moneymaker, 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion
    Joe Cada, or rising poker star and Go Daddy girl Vanessa Rousso. In this
    round, Negreanu helps the contestants from a specially designed isolation
    booth, where he can see the player's hole cards and talk directly to them
    privately.
--  Round 3 and Round 4: Back-to-back heads up matches against four-time
    WSOP bracelet winner Negreanu.
    

Plus, the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge wouldn't be complete without something for poker fans at home. Viewers will have a chance to enter a freeroll tournament on PokerStars.net as part of the PokerStars.net $100,000 giveaway. Twice during each show, PokerStars.net will announce a special contest that will give viewers a chance to win easy money.**

*Check local listings. PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge will air before NFL action in some markets.

**Go to Pokerstars.net for a full list of contest rules and qualifications.

About PokerStars.net:

PokerStars.net is the world's largest online poker school with over 26 million members worldwide. It's the premier destination for the world's top players -- with numerous tournaments running every day. PokerStars.net is renowned for offering the best software and security in the online poker world. PokerStars.net:

--  Has dealt over 32 billion hands
--  Has run more than 190 million poker tournaments
--  Holds the Guinness Book of World Records for 'Largest Online Poker
    Tournament' and 'Most Players at an Internet Poker Room'
    

PokerStars.net is the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour, PokerStars.net Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour, Asia Pacific Poker Tour and The World Cup of Poker. PokerStars.net is the home of Team PokerStars.net Pro, a group of over 30 veteran and up-and-coming players from around the world who play online at PokerStars.net and are sponsored by the site in international tournaments around the world. For more information please visit www.pokerstars.net.

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