Thursday, January 29, 2004

WPT: Hollyweird Home Game

I finally saw the episode of the World Poker Tour's version of celebrity poker. I read Chris Halverson's write up and my brother told me most of the highlights, so I had a general idea what to expect. My initial thoughts were: how soon will this be on network TV? My guess: by the fall season, one of the major networks will pick up a season of celebrity poker... either from Bravo or from the WPT. I hope it's the WPT because the have the experience and conduct themselves with more poker professionalism and I dunno if I can stomach yet another mundane season of Celebrity Poker Letdown... it's kinda like the absurdity of watching X rated porn. If you are going to watch porn, then fuckin' go all the way and shoot for the XXX... why waste you time and money on the single X?

The Players:
Aisha Tyler (The chick from Talk Soup)
Fred Savage (the kid from The Wonder Years)
Jack "Tenacious D" Black
Steve Harris (The Practice)
Drew Carey
Mimi "Mrs. Tom Cruise I" Rogers (yes, before there was a Nic, there was a Mimi)

I chatted with Seven Fingered Vinny, the local bookie who hangs out at the bar down the street. The only things stranger than his hairpiece were the jaw-dropping stories about how he lost two and a half of his fingers. He's the odds-man and lines-maker at the Pauly Sports Book and is a walking encyclopedia reagrding NYC sports. I asked him for the skinny on the WPT home game. He liked Drew Carey and Mimi Rogers. He thought Jack Black smokes too much of "the pot" (his exact words!) so he figured Jack "Bonghit" Black would get bounced first. I thanked SF Vinny for his time and put my money on Aisha Tyler... you can't go wrong when betting on Ivy Leaguers in situations like that!

I settled in an watched the first two hands... and poor "Kevin Arnold" got smoked by Aisha. I had not seen him get his ass kicked like that since season two of The Wonder Years, when the local bully, Eddie Pinetti, sought out the innocent Kevin and his gangly, four-eyed sidekick Paul Pfeiffer in the locker room, beat them both down like Russian dissidents, and then stole all of their lunch money. Alas, flash forward to the game... and he tried to bluff at the first pot and failed miserably! Only to find more pain on the very next hand, when Aisha bluffed him and induced him to lay down a better hand!

Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten were tooling on Fred "Any Two Cards Will Do" Savage. He played plenty of hands and I was surprised he lasted all the way to the end. I figured he had no chance against Mimi, who lets face it... was the ringer in the game. Poor Alisha went on tilt late in the episode and lost several hands in a row.

The idea of the "lifeline" red cards was a new twist. I wonder what Celebrity Poker Letdown would have been like if Coolio could call over his homey, Phil "Whiter Than White" Gordon, over to the table to discuss betting strategies. The combo of Daniel Negreanu and Jennifer Harmon was a good idea although their chats with the celebs were not as secretive as I had expected.

My brother was quick to point out that the charities which the celebs played for were real and the winnings were not going to support "some freakin' cat crap" when they were sick kids out there who needed the money for research.

Fred Savage looked a little too excited sometimes. Maybe he hasn't gotten laid in a while or he doesn't touch anything stronger than NyQuil... but he was pumped up to win some of those hands late in the tourney.

Good job to the folks over at the WPT for an exciting non-pro tournament. With all these celebrities playing poker on TV these days... my once "bad habit" (according to Haley, when we first met a little over a year ago, who quickly frowned on my gambling) has now been legitimized into a "sincere hobby"... and now all of her thespian friends want to hop on the Hollyweird bandwagon and learn the tricks of the trade of Texas hold'em. I'm thinking about charging them a small fee for lessons, just like Brad Pitt in Ocean's Eleven! Bring them on, I say... more fish to feast on. And I'll be responsible for teaching them how to swim, or at least, sputter along!

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