In the history of Poker After Dark , a qualifier has never won one of the six-handed sit-and-go tournaments that are televised each week on NBC . But in no week will they have a better chance than this week, when four qualifiers will square off against two of the biggest names in poker for a chance at $120,000.Only two renowned pros will compete this week in a new series of episodes for the popular NBC poker show that runs every week night at 2:05 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. after Saturday Night Live . But those two pros happen to be two of the biggest names in the game.Eleven-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth will try to win his fourth Poker After Dark title (in what will be his 15th attempt), and five-time bracelet winner Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson will try to win his third PAD title (in what will be his ninth attempt).Standing in their way are four qualifiers — not amateurs, per se, but qualifiers.While not well known to the poker community at large but certainly having shown their skills in the past, Steve Bartlett and Jens Voertmann will be making their PAD debuts.Bartlett earned his way into the show by winning the Howard Lederer Charity Event at the Golden Nugget in July 2009. The Michigan native has been playing professionally for about nine years and has over $273,000 in live tournament earnings, including an $80,755 score for his win in a $1,000 2006 Bellagio Cup event.Voertmann, meanwhile, earned his was into this week’s PAD thanks to a special Full Tilt qualifier . The German pro poker player won a WSOP bracelet in 2008 in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event.The remaining two qualifiers can definitely be classified as amateurs, however, with only about four years of combined playing time between them.Craig Ivey, of Australia, began playing poker in 2007 and made his first live tournament cash last year in the 2009 WSOP main event, finishing in 267th place for $33,000. James Ashby, of Alabama, has only been playing poker for a year and a half. He has never played in the WSOP , but hopes to one day.Tune into NBC to watch the qualifiers take on the pros. A press release from NBC promises “more than a fair share of suckouts and…some unbelievably bizarre hands,” so buckle your seatbelts.
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