Lunar Poker Tour

The First Ever Poker Tournament in Space

CardsChat, in association with Virgin Galactic, announces the Lunar Poker Tour, in association with Virgin Galactic, is proud to announce the poker game of the century. Ivey will face off against Negreanu in a match that will make poker history by being played on board the International Space Station (ISS).

Branson, whos Virgin Racing has had sponsorship deals with Full Tilt Poker in the past, is famous for making a splash when it comes to promotions. I wanted to do something huge for Virgin Galactic and poker doesnt get any bigger than Ivey and Negreanu. When I heard NASA had some room on the space shuttle the idea for the poker game of the century was born, he told CardsChat.

Virgin Galactic has arranged for Ivey and Negreanu to be carried up to the ISS by the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which will fly its last mission at the end of June. There they will face off for a whopping $10 million prize pot. In addition, these poker gladiators will also be fighting for their respective sites to partner up with Virgin Galactic for the Lunar Poker Tour 2012 which will be held on board the Virgins SpaceShipTwo.

Theres everything to play for, Ivey told CardsChat. Its not just about the money, but about what we can do for the game as well.

Negreanu was far more pragmatic. Imagine running satellites to a tournament that could see you play poker in space. It will be huge!

TV networks are already clamoring over what could easily be the biggest sporting event of the year. And With the ISS travelling at 17,500 miles-an-hour, this is one poker tournament that could be considered a turbo.

Get ready to watch the Lunar Poker Tour this June, because poker is going out of this world.

Lunar Poker Tour

Lunar Poker Tour FAQ

We are sure you have many questions about the Lunar Poker Tour, so we have put together this FAQ to shed some light on poker in space:

How Do You Play Poker In Space?

If you try and play poker in space with normal cards and chips they will float around all over the place because of microgravity. We wont go into the complicated science, but essentially you need to anchor everything down. NASA wont allow magnets on the International Space Station because of the possibility it will interfere with the delicate electronic equipment there.

As a result, a special poker set has been developed for the Ivey/Negreanu match-up. The chips are enclosed in colored Velcro sleeves, letting you stick your stack together. The hole cards have Velcro pockets to keep them safe, while the flop, turn and river cards have a plastic pocket that is secured with a Velcro strip. Even the dealer button has a Velcro coating. As for the felt...Yes you guessed it, its Velcro too.

So thats how you play poker in space with a lot of Velcro.

How Are Negreanu And Ivey Getting To The International Space Station?

Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to fly mission STS-135 at the end of June 2011. The shuttle only has a crew of four, leaving plenty of room for Negreanu and Ivey. The mission has been plagued by funding problems. Fortunately, the gaming industry has enough cash to splash around and buy two seats on the flight.

How Much Does A Seat On The Shuttle Cost?

Most space tourists have paid $25 million a pop to go to the International Space station aboard the Russian Soyuz. While NASA wont confirm what it was paid for Negreanu and Ivey to get a seat each, rumor has it that Virgin Galactic paid around $35 million a chair.

Holy Moly, Thats A Lot Of Money For A Space Flight!

Yes it is, but this is the last space shuttle trip ever and making history is never cheap. The Atlantis Space Shuttle cost well over a billion to build. $35 million for a ride seems cheap. Factor in a 12 day stay at the International Space Station and getting your name in the history books and you really are getting a bargain. Remember, this is not a traditional Virgin Galactic flight where you get to free-fall for a couple of hours for the price of $200,000. This is a full blown space mission, hence the full blown price tag.

Why Did NASA Sell Seats On The Shuttle?

NASA has had funding problems due to Congress cutbacks. The Obama Administration have made it clear they want a greater corporate involvement in space exploration, rather than relying purely on public funding. John Shannon, the Space Shuttle Program Manager, has been adamant that the STS-135 mission would go ahead with, or without, Congress approved funding, especially since there were around 1,500 jobs laid off there last year. The Lunar Poker Tour presents a perfect opportunity for funding.

How Long Are They Going To Be In Space?

Space Shuttle mission STS-135 is scheduled for a 12 day mission.

Did The Players Have To Do a Medical Or Pass Any Tests?

Both Negreanu and Ivey have been given three days of space flight participant training to prepare them for the trip. They have also been certified as being medically fit. Negreanu is rumored to have enjoyed the zero-G environment far too much.

Why Is Virgin Galactic Involved At All?

Richard Branson well understands the value of the poker industry and intends to host an annual space poker tournament aboard his SpaceShipTwo craft. However, this will not be ready until 2012 and therefore he is using the shuttle Atlantis historic flight to kick off the event and start a new era of what he terms space sports.

Will The Lunar Poker Tour Be Televised?

You can bet your bottom dollar it will. Virgin has the rights and is in negotiation with numerous TV networks to screen the Lunar Poker Tour live from space. NASA will be receiving money from the deal to help fund its other space programs.