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Kevin Belinkoff's Gambling Experience Benefits GSN

Before establishing a career in the highly complicated world of television as the Vice President of Programming for the cable channel GSN, Kevin Belinkoff used to make trips from his residence in Southern California using his winnings from blackjack, poker and sports betting to support his daily expenses.

His experience in the gambling world has given him the expertise he needed to turn GSN around. Whereas GSN was known to feature reruns of Tic-Tac-Dough and Password, currently the game of Blackjack and other gambling games are featured on the television network.

On February 7, 2007, at the Las Vegas Hilton, where Belinkoff was managing the taping of the 4th staging of the World Series of Blackjack as they made the change from GSN, he said that they would like to start to featuring gaming shows like this because of his background as a player.

Belinkoff further stated that they chose not to do a poker show first, but rather to feature blackjack tournaments. He also said that he has experience as both a blackjack player and a tournament player so he has some insight into the industry.

The 4th World Series of Blackjack, which was taped during its 4 day run at the Hilton Theater, is scheduled to be shown in a series of 1 hour episodes that will begin July 9, 2007 on Cox cable channel 344.

The tournament will have $1 million prize money, with about $500,000 going to the champion of the event. Throughout its run, the World Series of Blackjack has been a really close tournament.

About 40 players have competed at the World Series of Blackjack this year, which has included celebrity players and those who have qualified by competing in the satellite tournaments that are held at the Hilton and other casino establishments across the US. Belinkoff added that the cash prizes have actually gone from just $250,000 during its inaugural staging to $1 million.

They have made the tournament strictly invitational, with about 25 players that they have picked based on their blackjack skills or their own personality. Blackjack experts are the clear favorites compared to rookies and players that are just relying on their luck alone. The host of the World Series of Blackjack event is Matt Vasgersian.

Although the celebrities invited this year, like Penn Jillette, Shannon Elizabeth and Orel Hershiser will have a continued place in the field this year, Belinkoff said that the satellite tournaments will have a more prominent role in the succeeding events of the World Series of Blackjack.

The satellite tournaments will have a buy-in of about $1,025 and $2,550 at the Hilton has produced 15 participants for the World Series of Blackjack. Belinkoff added that they have enough belief in the game and the blackjack skill of the players so they want to open up the event so that everyone can join it.


Wednesday, March 28 , 2007
Thomas Johnson