Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator, is hosting its 2009 PokerPro Challenge, a series of No Limit Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, which will take place during each voyage of the line’s 22 ships now through October.

The winners of the preliminary tournaments will face off for a cash prize of $25,000 in the “Grand Final” during the Carnival Freedom’s January 24, 2010, six-day voyage from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

All games will be played on state-of-the-art PokerPro tables, which clearly and quickly display players’ commitments and table stakes, pot amount and community cards. PokerPro tables also identify the winners at the end of each hand and immediately add the winnings to the player’s table stakes.

First place winners of the preliminary tournaments will automatically be entered to participate in the Grand Final, as well as receive a certificate towards a cruise on the Carnival Freedom’s January 24 voyage.

“With the increasing popularity of No Limit Texas Hold’em poker tournaments throughout the gaming community, these events which combine the excitement of a high stakes casino tournament with the opportunity to enjoy an exceptional vacation experience, should prove highly popular,” said Rodney Dofort, Carnival Corporation’s senior vice president of casino operations.

The tournament entry fee is $150 per person. Guests can register for the tournaments on the first night of their cruise at the casino cashier cage, subject to availability.

Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 "Fun Ships" operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, Canada, Bermuda and Europe. The line has two new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2011.