Celebrity Poker Showdown Recap - December 2nd - Episode 1
Zhora: It’s great to be here at the Celebrity Poker Showdown with you Greenie, it looks like we’re in for a fun night of poker.
Greenie: I’m so excited, Zhora. It’s the big night we’ve all been waiting for to see if these actors can actually hold their weight in poker. I see our host, Kevin Pollack, has decided to go for the Rat Pack look tonight with a small brimmed hat and a wide collar. He starts off with a Christopher Walken impersonation that’s quite accurate but a bit of a distraction. Interesting way to start the season don’t you think, Zhora?
Zhora: Interesting? That’s a good word for it. Kevin explained his impersonation by saying he is supposed to be the funny one. I’m thinking he should have left that unsaid until he actually says something funny.
Greenie: *giggle* Well maybe he thought if he dressed himself funny it would make up for it. Anyway, our lovely contestants tonight are Oscar winning actor, Ben Affleck, Ocean’s Eleven’s star, Don Cheadle, Sex in the City star, Willie Garson, CSI actress, Emily Proctor, and Friends star, David Schwimmer. They’ll be playing No Limit Hold’em with a $250,000 season total prize pool. Each contestant will have $10,000 to start, the winner advancing to the final round in episode 6 to compete for the $100,000 grand prize that goes to the charity of their choosing. All of the celebrity charities are guaranteed $5,000. If you need a little help on how No Limit Hold’em is played please check out this link. John's Poker Primer Before we start though, we are introduced to Phil Gordon, of World Poker Tour fame. He’s the actual poker expert that doesn’t have to dress like the Rat Pack to prove he’s the real deal. He’s also quite a looker isn’t he Zhora?
Zhora: Yup, he sure is. I always like the tall brainy ones.
Greenie: Oh so do I! Yummy! We are also introduced to the lovely Randi whom I’m sure lives up to her name as she’s wearing lovely gold lamee that covers her in all the right places (or wrong places depending on your gender). Well before we get too distracted with that, let’s begin the night with our first hand. You’re up, Zhora.
Shuffle Up & Deal
Zhora: Emily starts the night off by saying she wants this table to be the “funnest”. Phil interjects they should hope to be the “best played” instead and I have to agree. While it’s nice to watch poker players having fun, it’s a lot more exciting when the poker action is hot.
Greenie: Or when one of the co-hosts is hot, but whatever, I’m just getting distracted. Bring on the hot poker!
Zhora: It looks like the dealer is ready, so away we go. Willie starts off with nothing and folds the first hand of the night. Emily likes her A[img]s.gif[/img] , Q[img]h.gif[/img] and raises the bet to $400. Don feels comfortable with his K[img]d.gif[/img] , 9[img]d.gif[/img] and calls. Ben folds with nothing. David is excited enough by his A[img]d.gif[/img] , 10[img]d.gif[/img] to reraise the bet, making it $500. Wow. Hold on there big spender, a $100 reraise? Nothing like underwhelming the competition. I guess it’s a good thing the denominations don’t go any smaller than $100 or David might start raising one nickel at a time. Everyone left in the hand calls David’s mini-raise. Hey Greenie, have you ever seen Emily before? We’re not even through the first hand and she’s already annoying me with her dumb blonde routine. Fortunately, I think the dumb part is natural so there’s not much chance we’ll have to put up with her in the finals.
Greenie: I agree, Zhora. As much as I want to support any woman playing poker, Emily is not the brightest bulb. If she wins this round, I’ll have to start believing poker is all about luck.
Zhora: Luck can definitely be a factor, but I’m with you Greenie…I would take skill over luck any day. Back to the action as The Flop comes down 7[img]d.gif[/img] , 6[img]s.gif[/img] , 5[img]d.gif[/img] . Don has a flush draw with his diamonds as well as an inside straight draw. He makes a $1,000 bet. David calls with his nut flush draw while Emily and Ben get out of the way. The Turn brings an 8[img]s.gif[/img] , giving Don his straight. David checks, (what, no $100 bet here buddy?). Don makes a solid bet at $1,000, and David calls holding out hope for the diamond he needs to make his flush. The River comes 6[img]h.gif[/img] . David checks and Don throws another $1,000 raise at him. David says, “Don, I don’t know how you play yet, so, uh…”. Don responds, “If you pay – you find out”, totally cracking me up. Don is just doing a little comical sparring with him, and it’s enough to get David to call. It’s all in good fun, and the crowd eats it up. Don wins the first pot of the night at $8800 with his 9 high straight.
Greenie: Before we start our next hand, we are treated to the poker background of Don Cheadle. Don tells us he is playing for the Enrichment programs for the LA School District – Canyon Charter School. Don has been playing poker for 7-8 years. For the past two years he’s been playing about once a month. He tells us out of all the contestants tonight he is determined to beat Willie. As the hand starts, Willie folds so Don won’t get his chance to knock out Willie this time. Emily also folds with nothing. Don likes his 7[img]s.gif[/img] , 5[img]s.gif[/img] and raises to $400. Ben’s feeling quite comfortable with his A[img]h.gif[/img] , K[img]d.gif[/img] and reraises to $1,000. David calls with 10[img]h.gif[/img] , 9[img]h.gif[/img] , and Don also calls. The Flop comes down J[img]c.gif[/img] , 4[img]h.gif[/img] , 3[img]h.gif[/img] . Ben bets $500. Don calls with his inside straight draw and David calls with his flush draw. The Turn brings a 6[img]c.gif[/img] which gives Don his straight. Both Ben and David check. Don, feeling confident after seeing both of them check, bets $1500. Ben folds and David calls chasing his flush. The River comes a Q[img]h.gif[/img] , which remarkably gives David his flush. Both turn their cards over and David wins the $11,500 pot.
Zhora: Remarkable is right. I was sure Don was taking this one with his straight. That hand worked out nicely for David though. Speaking of David, let’s get up close and personal with David Schwimmer. David is playing for The Rape Foundation. He started playing in college. He tells us, “My play in general is flirt, and uh, distract, and then I sneak in for the kill”. I would love to see him use his flirt maneuver to distract Don, Ben and Willie, but I fear he may skip that part hoping to go straight in for the “kill”. Ross the killer. Somehow that just makes me giggle. Hey Greenie, have you been noticing all the funny faces and noises David’s been making tonight as he contemplates his poker hands? Not really what I think of when I think “poker face”, but hey, he is an “actor”, maybe he’s “acting” nervous and out of his element?
Greenie: I agree Zhora. He’s the most serious here, and all dressed up for the occasion. I think someone needs to tell him it’s not really his money and to relax a little.
Zhora: The night is young, maybe he’ll loosen up a bit as he gets warmed up. The chip count is updated as we make our way back to the action. Ben has taken the lead, and goodness me, what a surprise, Emily is a pain in the rear. Oops, um, I mean Emily is bringing up the rear.
David starts the next hand calling with his A[img]h.gif[/img] , 10[img]c.gif[/img] . Willie gets out of the way, as does Emily. Don calls with a 4[img]s.gif[/img] , 5[img]s.gif[/img] . Ben checks with his K[img]c.gif[/img] , 4[img]c.gif[/img] , and we head into the Flop with 3-way action. The Flop is Q[img]d.gif[/img] , 3[img]h.gif[/img] , 2[img]c.gif[/img] , and all 3 players check. The Turn brings a 5[img]d.gif[/img] . Ben bets $1,000 pinning all his hope on an ace at the River to make his straight. David calls Ben’s $1,000 hoping for a 4 to make his straight, and Don calls with the same straight draw hand as Ben. Holy cow, an ace comes off at the River giving Ben and Don their straights, and giving David a very tempting pair of aces. Don checks. Interesting. He must have a read on Ben and David, and is trying to trap them with a check-raise. Ben bets $3,000 as he plays to the pumped up crowd. Emily just can’t stand not being the center of attention so she inserts another blonde moment. Either Don’s trap worked or Emily distracted him sufficiently because David calls with his pair of aces. When Don calls the $3,000 behind him, David’s confusion shows on his furrowed brow. Don and Ben split the pot that David unwittingly helped to fatten.
Greenie: Next we get to learn a little more about the poker background of Mr. Ben Affleck, although with the amount of times he’s been in the tabloids and media, I’m surprised we don’t already know about it.
Zhora: I guess that means he doesn’t play with Jennifer. Um, poker, that is.
Greenie: Oh I’m sure he plays “poke her” with her, but that’s neither here nor there. Ben will be playing for the AT Children’s Project. He started playing poker just after high school with other struggling actors in LA. Ben says he’d like to get a cool poker handle and wishes he could be called “Boston Fathead”. Now I might not be familiar with all the cool poker handles out there, but somehow Boston Fathead doesn’t strike me as intimidating or impressive. Well I’ll start helping making Ben’s dream come true by referring to him as Boston Fathead from now on.
Zhora: Holy crap. That’s hilarious. Do you think he’d mind if I just called him Fathead?
Greenie: Ha! Even better! Fathead it is! On to the next hand and the blinds have increased to $200/400. Willie is dealt Q[img]c.gif[/img] , 10[img]c.gif[/img] and he raises the bet to $1,000. Emily and Don fold and Fathead (Heehee! I called him Fathead!) calls with 7[img]h.gif[/img] , 7[img]d.gif[/img] . David has a great hand with pocket Aces and raises to $4,000. Somehow this does not faze Willie and he calls! Now I know Willie doesn’t see David’s aces, but if previous betting has shown anything, David isn’t one to raise on nothing hands. Fathead knows he probably can’t beat whatever David is holding and folds. The Flop comes down A[img]c.gif[/img] , 7[img]c.gif[/img] , 5[img]d.gif[/img] . David with trip Aces bets $3,000. I’m personally surprised he didn’t go all in. Fearless Willie goes all in ($8,400) with a flush draw.
Zhora: Can you believe this guy? I’ll bet he wouldn’t be this loose with his own money.
Greenie: I agree. He might as well play bingo. David calls putting him all in which I think he should have done in the first place. And wouldn’t you believe it, the Turn brings J[img]c.gif[/img] , which amazingly gives Willie his flush. David can still win though if he pairs the board. Unfortunately for David though, the River brings 3[img]s.gif[/img] and he is the first to be eliminated in Celebrity Poker Showdown. David makes his way to the Losers Lounge where Kevin greets him and consoles him on such an unlucky loss. David himself almost seems in tears because he knows there was no way anyone would lay down trip Aces. David is provided a big screen TV, though, in order to watch and feel free to make fun of the other contestants.
Zhora: The 4 remaining players get back to work. Emily has a playable hand and calls with A[img]h.gif[/img] , 5[img]d.gif[/img] . Don likes his A[img]d.gif[/img] , 2[img]d.gif[/img] and raises the bet to $800, causing Fathead to fold. Hahaha…I’m sorry, I just can’t call him that with a straight face. I’ll have to stick with “Ben” for now. Willie calls with his J[img]d.gif[/img] , 9[img]d.gif[/img] . Emily tries to call but has trouble getting the chips right, confessing, “I can’t do math”. Woosh. Good thing she admitted that little deficiency, Mensa might have time to take back their membership offer. The Flop comes down 7[img]d.gif[/img] , 4[img]d.gif[/img] , 2[img]h.gif[/img] . Willie bets $800 with his flush draw. Emily and Don call and the Turn brings an 8[img]s.gif[/img] into the mix. Everyone checks. A 4[img]s.gif[/img] comes on the River. Emily bluffs at the pot with nothing, taunting Don and Willie with, “think about it, think about it” as she pretends her fingers are tightening screws on her temples. I would be embarrassed for her at this point except it seems to have worked. Don folds the winning hand, and Willie folds right behind him. Now Emily is dancing in her chair, waving to the crowd and flipping her hair around. Holy display of affection Batman…She just kissed Willie on the lips. I can’t say I’ve ever seen kisses at a poker table before, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more before the final prize money is given away. Celebrities are always movin’ in for the kissy kissy stuff.
Greenie: I think Willie is probably thinking “Thank God Holy display of affection Batman ‘cause I’ll never get a chance with a woman like that again!”
Zhora: Hahaha…on that note, I guess it’s time for some bio information on Emily. She is playing for the Cure Autism Now Foundation. She has been playing poker for 5 years, and has a regular Tuesday night game with a bunch of “hooligans” that call her Lish. As in Emilicious. Ummmm…OK, that seems like the perfect reason for her to pick up a chip and put it in her mouth. (What the Hell? Is that supposed to be sexy or something?) She tells us, “Willie Ganson and I have already had a catfight, is he here? I will kick his ass. Hahaha.” Now THAT would be fun to watch.
Greenie: I’d pay. I’d say she takes him down! Poker on the other hand. . . not so much. Looking at the chip count, Willie is leading with close to $25,000, and Emily is in basement with $5,200
With the start of the next hand, Fathead folds not liking what he sees. Willie with pocket 2’s bets $1,200. Emily immediately folds. Don has pocket 10’s and goes all in. Willie tells Don his hand needs help. (Uhh yea Willie, you’ve got the smallest pair out there and the guy across the table just went all in. Your chances are pretty slim buddy). As has been his plan all night, Willie boldly calls! Unbelievable. As they flip their cards David exclaims from the Loser’s Lounge, “I lost to the guy who calls with a pair of 2’s!” The Flop brings A[img]d.gif[/img] , K[img]s.gif[/img] , 3[img]s.gif[/img] . Don’s chances have increased since the Flop drew nothing for either player. The Turn brings 5[img]d.gif[/img] and things are beginning to look grim for Willie. The River brings A[img]h.gif[/img] and Don wins the hand with his pocket 10’s although Willie is still in the lead.
Zhora: Ben won’t be gaining on Willie in this hand, he folds. Willie has 10[img]c.gif[/img] , 9[img]s.gif[/img] and raises to $1,200 clearly intending to stay in the hand until the end. Emily calls with 3[img]c.gif[/img] , 3[img]s.gif[/img] . Not a bad call, but she should definitely hop out if she doesn’t hit another 3 on the Flop or the Turn. Don also calls with 4[img]h.gif[/img] , 5[img]h.gif[/img] . The Flop is A[img]c.gif[/img] , J[img]c.gif[/img] , 2[img]s.gif[/img] , giving Don an inside straight draw. Willie bets out $1,500 with nothing, which no longer surprises me. Emily calls with her pair of 3’s, and Don calls also hoping for a 3 to come off. The Turn is Q[img]h.gif[/img] , giving Willie a straight draw. Everyone checks, holding their breath on the River card. It’s an 8[img]d.gif[/img] , giving Willie his straight. He sizes up Emily’s chips and bets $1,600 hoping to eliminate her. Emily calls. Yeah, that’s right. Emily calls with a pair of 3’s to a guy on a hot streak that placed moderately strong bets both before and after the Flop. Don gets out of the way as Willie takes down Emily. Kevin walks Emily to the Loser’s Lounge. He asks her, “So you went crashing all in with your massive pair of 3’s – What the Hell?!?” I am cracking up! Yay! Kevin finally said something funny! I guess he’s the “funny one” after all. Emily is talking about her “weird” cards and “weird” game, making excuses and sounding whiny. Let’s forget all about her and head back to the action. Take it away Greenie…
Greenie: So anyway, we’re down to three. Fathead is dealt K[img]h.gif[/img] , J[img]s.gif[/img] and bets aggressively with a $3,000 raise. Willie is dealt K[img]h.gif[/img] , 5[img]s.gif[/img] , but he actually calls Fathead! Now Willie is up in the chip count here, but I personally think this is a very dumb move for Willie. Of course this isn’t the first dumb move I thought he’s made tonight. Don doesn’t want any part of the action and folds. The Flop comes down J[img]c.gif[/img] , 9[img]h.gif[/img] , 6[img]h.gif[/img] . Fathead flops a pair of Jacks and with confidence moves all in. Willie has a very small chance at a flush or a straight, but he takes his time making the decision. He eventually realizes he’s pushed his luck and folds, giving Fathead the pot. Willie then tells us he is playing for the Children’s Hospital of Denver. He played cards as a kid and his dad was a semi-pro blackjack player. (Ahh this might explain why Willie doesn’t fold K5 unsuited. He thinks he’s trying to make 21 points for blackjack!) He goes on to say, “I don’t want to say that I’m good at this game. I play this game. So if that gives me a little bit of an advantage, great.” And right now, Willie’s playing has put him in the lead of the chip count with Ben on his heels, and Don quite far behind.
Zhora: Don’s still got a chip and a chair, so I’m holding out hope for him. Let’s get back to the action and see what the cards have in store. Don is dealt a fairly strong hand with A[img]c.gif[/img] , 7[img]c.gif[/img] . He calls and Ben folds. Willie likes his K[img]s.gif[/img] , Q[img]s.gif[/img] and bets big to put Don all in. Being low on chips Don decides suited A-7 might be the best chance he’ll get to make a stand, and he calls. The Flop comes down 10[img]d.gif[/img] , 9[img]d.gif[/img] , 5[img]d.gif[/img] , giving Willie an inside straight draw. Willie’s luck holds firm as J[img]s.gif[/img] shows itself on the Turn. Damn! I’ve secretly been rooting for Don, so I’m disappointed Willie’s luck trounced all over my favorite contender. Look at him skipping around the room before coming back and throwing his arms around Don. Can you believe this guy Greenie? He has knocked out all 3 people in the Loser’s Lounge.
Greenie: I was secretly rooting for Don too, even though I’m a commentator and should show total unbias. I like living on the edge. Don shows obvious disappointment as he greets Kevin in the Loser’s Lounge. Emily basically takes over the interview calling Willie “The Prince of Darkness”. Don shows a little more class by calling Willie “Evil Willie”. Kevin points out both David and Don got put out while holding incredible hands. Emily points out that she’s just a loser. (Why would you think that Emily? Anyone would go all in on a pair of threes.) Don takes it all in stride and sits back to enjoy the rest of the show in the Loser’s Lounge.
Zhora: Well here we are Greenie, it’s down to the final 2, Ben Affleck heads up against Evil Willie Garson. I never thought I would root for Fathead Ben in anything. Ever. And here I sit wanting Willie to lose. Wonders will never cease. Ben fires out a $4,000 raise with a Q[img]s.gif[/img] , Q[img]d.gif[/img] . Willie has Q[img]c.gif[/img] , 8[img]c.gif[/img] and calls. The Flop is 9[img]s.gif[/img] , 6[img]d.gif[/img] 2[img]h.gif[/img] . Heartened by the undercards, Ben pushes all in. Unbelievable. Evil Willie, the one-man-wrecking-ball calls. I agree with Phil Gordon when he says, “That was the worst call I’ve ever seen”. That was just pathetic. Luck or no luck, Willie goes down in flames this time, giving a 4 to 1 chip lead to Ben who works the crowd like a champ.
Greenie: I agree Zhora, one can only be so lucky for so long until someone calls him on it. Fathead is dealt A[img]c.gif[/img] , Q[img]c.gif[/img] and bets $10,000 with this strong hand. Willie also has suited cards but only 4[img]c.gif[/img] , 9[img]c.gif[/img] . Again to our amazement, though, he calls putting him all in! Now this just seems like suicide. He has tempted Lady Luck far too many times today. The Flop comes down 7[img]c.gif[/img] , 2[img]c.gif[/img] , 2[img]h.gif[/img] . Both Fathead and Willie have a flush draw but Fathead has the nut flush draw. The Turn brings 4[img]d.gif[/img] which pairs Willie. He sure has been on a lucky streak, but Fathead can still win with a Club on the River. The River comes down 8[img]h.gif[/img] , which doesn’t help Fathead, and Willie doubles up his chip count. Laughing and pacing around the stage Willie is blown away by his incredible luck,. He says, “It’s a poker lesson to me. It’s not a good one, but it’s a poker lesson”. Boston Fathead can’t believe Willie’s luck. You would have to think this would catch up to him at some point right, Zhora?
Zhora: Unless he really is The Prince of Darkness…Oh hell, even the Devil’s gotta miss a Turn card once in a while, right? Unbelievable.
The blinds have gone up to $1,000/2,000. Willie is dealt 7[img]c.gif[/img] , Q[img]s.gif[/img] and he laughs as he bets $4,000. Ben calls with K[img]h.gif[/img] , 5[img]h.gif[/img] . The Flop comes down Q[img]h.gif[/img] , 5[img]c.gif[/img] , 4[img]d.gif[/img] and this time it’s Ben who bets $4,000. Willie calls and we see the Turn card is J[img]d.gif[/img] . Ben’s only got a pair of 5’s and there is no sense in trying to bluff Willie because Willie apparently doesn’t give a crap about what anyone has or doesn’t have, he just goes for it. Ben checks hoping to see the River for free. Nothin’ doing. Willie goes all in with his pair of queens forcing Ben to fold on the $23,800 pot.
Greenie: Willie can do no wrong it seems. He’s obviously feeling quite confident with his luck as the next hand begins. Fathead is dealt Q[img]d.gif[/img] , 2[img]c.gif[/img] and bets $7,000, which is quite aggressive for his hand. Willie has A[img]c.gif[/img] , 7[img]h.gif[/img] and calls. The Flop comes down K[img]h.gif[/img] , 10[img]d.gif[/img] , 8[img]s.gif[/img] . Willie checks dramatically to Fathead. Fathead, not liking his chances, checks also. Willie responds with “Oh really?!? You little girl!” Fathead is so flabbergasted by this he just sits with his mouth open. Personally I am hoping to see some kind of fistfight to make the game a little more interesting, but Fathead keeps his cool. He’s certainly not living up to his “cool” poker handle. The Turn brings 4[img]d.gif[/img] . Both of them check. The River comes 3[img]h.gif[/img] and Willie bets $6,000 even though he only has ace high. Fathead has nothing and doesn’t call Willie’s bluff. Willie takes back the chip lead.
Zhora: Ben is dealt A[img]c.gif[/img] , 2[img]h.gif[/img] , so it’s time to make another stand. He bets $10,000. Willie tells him “I feel that is an arbitrary amount” and makes one of his patented Willie-go-for-it moves. He goes all in with K[img]s.gif[/img] , J[img]d.gif[/img] . Not a bad hand really, but I don’t think it would have mattered what Willie had. The guy just can’t sit still any longer. Ben calls. They shake hands. The Flop is 7[img]c.gif[/img] , 4[img]d.gif[/img] , 3[img]s.gif[/img] , giving Ben a straight draw. With everyone in the audience and Loser’s Lounge rooting for Ben’s 5 to come off, the dealer reveals J[img]c.gif[/img] on 4th street, pairing Willie. It’s not over until the River comes down 10[img]s.gif[/img] . Ben holds out his hand to shake, but Willie puts a monster hug on him. All hail Willie, tonights Celebrity Poker Showdown winner.
Greenie: Boy Fathead certainly doesn’t look happy he lost to “Evil Willie”.
Zhora: I wouldn’t be all that thrilled if it happened to me either. I suppose skill is bound to take a backseat to luck once in a while or they wouldn’t call it gambling. The celebs all make their way back to the stage to say their farewells. Phil looks like a theatrical backdrop with the way he just stands in one place towering over everyone. Kevin gives Willie a silver chip representing his entry into the final round. Willie exclaims, “I got down so low that I just threw caution to the wind…I hit a lot of cards.” Kevin replies, “You not only rode lady luck there in the end, you slapped her behind”. Ahhh…Kevin - what a class act. So, the first episode comes to a close. All in all it was a pretty fun night, eh Greenie?
Greenie I had a blast! Even though Willie totally won on luck, it made for some exciting poker. Hot poker even! Ha! The hot hosts weren’t as hot as I’d hoped them to be though. How’d you feel about Kevin and Phil as hosts?
Zhora: There wasn’t a lot of chemistry between them, but maybe it’s just because this is their first experience working together. I enjoyed Phil’s expert opinions and although Kevin tried a little too hard to be funny he added to the show too. How do you think Will’s luck will hold out in the finals?
Greenie Well I can’t imagine he could win the whole thing just on luck. Even he said that you can’t bluff all the time, at some point you need to have a good hand. I’m looking forward to next week with the stars from the NBC show “West Wing” anteing up. Looking forward to recapping this with you again Zhora!
Zhora: Me too Greenie. I’ll see you back here next week for another fun-filled night of poker.