Airing Sunday nights on the Fox Sports Network (FSN) is the MANSIONPoker.net "Poker Dome" Challenge, a 43-week series of speed poker tournaments offering a grand prize of ,000,000. FSN produces and broadcasts the "Poker Dome" series in a specially constructed, large dome on historic Fremont Street in old downtown Las Vegas.
Poker Dome, the most technologically advanced purpose built poker facility in the world, kicked off last May with the final to be broadcast live in spring 2007. Martin MAC 700 Profiles, MAC 250 Entours, MX-10 scanners and digital effects from Maxedia Digital Media Composers are used to add a level of excitement to the tournaments.
The Neonopolis Complex, home of the Poker Dome, anchors the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas. The Dome sees participants competing at a table enclosed in glass. Fans seated around the Dome are able to watch the poker proceedings unfold without being seen or heard while the players' reactions, images, heart rates and hole cards are displayed on individual plasmas and large video screen. Special cameras were installed to capture the hole cards, and cards were even fitted with RFID chips so the audience could see which cards are in play or discarded.
Lighting design is by Bruce Ferri with associate lighting design by Ben Carlson, both of New York City Lites. Production Company Show Partners handle the artistic direction, engineering and operations for the show. Artistic direction is by Chris Runnells of Show Partners Innovative Show Design (ISD) with associate artistic direction by Justin Garrone, also of Show Partners ISD. Lighting vendor was CYM Lighting Services of Palm Springs, California. Account Manager is Kevin Swank with CYM Lighting Services.
The design team comments, "One could say that in the past most poker shows were lit and shot like a sporting event. 'Poker Dome' is treated more like a game show / sports entertainment. The lighting cues reinforce the tension as the game progresses by using colors to create starker looks as the game proceeds into higher rounds. 'Poker Dome' is all about tension and we try to reinforce that with the lighting design."
The design team continues, "The approach to the design was to support the intensity of playing poker in an arena type atmosphere or as the title implies, a dome. The greatest challenge was to prevent illegal play by not allowing the players to see the audience. The players are separated from the audience by a glass wall that has been treated with a graphic type material called Clear Vision. When lit from the player's side it turns opaque and prevents the players from seeing the audience. Our moving lights were able to achieve this effect admirably due to their intensity and choice of colors."
Justin Garrone comments, "We at Show Partners in conjunction with New York City Lites chose to use Martin gear for this design because of the versatility of the fixtures to provide a wide range of options for the show - animation wheel, rotating gobo wheel, superior color choices, speed and size. We also chose these fixtures due to their excellent light output and most importantly because of the low maintenance of Martin fixtures. We were constantly impressed with the reliability of the MAC 700's and the MAC 250's. Rarely did a fixture malfunction due to manufacturer defect."
Garrone continues, "We were going for an effect to create multiple ever-changing backgrounds that could be used to not only enhance the look of the set but to also be able to accent certain parts of the show giving it a more dramatic look. With the Martin Maxedia we had endless content possibilities, as well as the ability to import pre-designed media. Our canvas for this was a semi circular array of LED tubes that was used as the players's background."
Most of the Martin fixtures are placed in the grid above the poker table in a semi-circular configuration and provide lighting support for the game action using the red carpeted floor as a 'cyc' with card suit patterns. The MX-10's are placed on dead hung pipes in the audience area and used to light the audience during game play. They are also used to supply colored beams in the air during shots from the audience to support the color story that is being told.
The "Poker Dome" series follows a speed poker format - sort of poker on an NBA shot-clock - with approximately 80 to 100 hands played per hour as opposed to the normal 12 to 15. The final will be broadcast live this spring for a winner-takes-all ,000,000.
Production Company: Show Partners
Artistic Director: Chris Runnells of Show Partners and Innovative Show Design (ISD)
Associate Artistic Director: Justin Garrone of Show Partners and Innovative Show Design (ISD)
Lighting Designer: Bruce Ferri of New York City Lites
Associate Lighting Designer: Ben Carlson of New York City Lites
Assistant Lighting Designer: Stephen Boulmetis
Lighting Director/Programmer: Mike Appel
Lighting board Programmers: Mark Butts, Demfis Fyssicopulos, Andrew Giffen
Maxedia Programmer: Curtis Cox
Lighting Installation Crew Chief: John Lotz of CYM Lighting Services
Master Electrician: Stephanie Weiss
Board Operator: Paul Fickett
Lighting Vendor: CYM Lighting Services of Palm Springs, California
Account Manager: Kevin Swank of CYM Lighting Services
Scenic Designer: Tim Saunders of BDI
Scenic Vendor: SoCal Scenic inc. of Palm Spring, California
Photographs provided by: Russell Holmes of SoCal Scenic Inc.
10 x Martin 250 Entour
18 x Martin MX-10
22 x Martin 700 Profile
2 x Martin Maxedia