What follows is a televised-hand-by-televised-hand account.  Obviously, since it's only an hour show, most hands are not televised so you're going to see a lot of jumping of the dealer button.

Last December, 25 celebrities competed in a poker tournament for charity.  It was so successful for Bravo that they're at it again!  From the Palms Casino in Vegas, it's the second tournament of CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN, the serious cash-money tournament that plays like Beverly Hills home games!  There will be five games of five celebs each, with the winner of each game advancing to the Final Table and a big piece of the $250,000 Cingular Wireless(TM) Prize Pool for his/her charity.

Let's meet the five upstanding entertainers ready to put their poker prowess on the line this week:


Jerome Bettis
playing for The Bus Stops Here Foundation
This Pittsburgh Steelers' running back is better known as "The Bus" because he runs over EVERYBODY in his path.  Will he ride his way to the Final Table, or will he need some alternate transportation away from the casino?

Rosario Dawson
playing for Scenarios USA
First appearing in the controversial film "Kids", Rosario has gone on to hits like "He Got Game" and "Men In Black II".  Has SHE "got game" enough to win this tournament, or will she wish to be "neuralized" afterwards?

Mena Suvari
playing for the Starlight Children's Foundation
The "beautiful" cheerleader of "American Beauty" and the sexy Heather of the first two "American Pie" films, will she be an all-American winner...or end up Six Feet Under (the HBO series she recently starred in)?

Wanda Sykes
playing for Habitat for Humanity
This comedienne has been heard as the voice of Gladys Murphy on Crank Yankers and was recently seen on her own FOX series Wanda at Large.  Will she dial this in or will she be considered "at large" by the others?

Travis Tritt
playing for St. Jude Children's Hospital of Memphis
Travis is one of country music's greatest stars, having hits like "I'm Gonna Be Somebody", "Drift Off to Dream" and "Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof".  Will this good ol' boy be "bullet"-proof at the table...or is HE just dreaming?

Each celebrity will start with $10,000 worth of chips and the game will continue until one celebrity has all $50K in his/her possession, thus making him/her eligible for the Final Table later in the year.  At the announcers' position beside the Losers' Lounge are NEW host Dave Foley and poker expert Phil Gordon.  They'll be calling the action emanating from the main room.

All right, enough of this.  As Tournament Director Robert Thompson says. let's SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL!

Initial blinds are $100 (SB) and $200 (BB).  The Dealer Button (D) starts on Mena.

RosarioTravisMena (D)Jerome (SB)Wanda (BB)
9♣ 7♦ K♦ 9♠ K♣ J♣ Q♥ 8♥ Q♦ 2♣
FOLD FOLD Calls $200 Calls $100 CHECK
Wanda was planning to fold but, remembering that she doesn't HAVE to since no one raised her Big Blind, she changes her mind and says that she checks.
FLOP: 5♠ 3♥ 3♣
TURN: 10♠
COMMUNITY: 3♥ 3♣ 10♠ 6♠ 5♠
Raises to $400 FOLD FOLD
WIN $1000
Mena, sensing weakness from all the checking, decided to bet into the pot.  Even if Jerome and Wanda had called the bet, Mena STILL would have won with a King kicker.  As it is, she only won the blinds.  By the way, Dave and Phil have been given the task by Mena to come up with a poker "nickname" for her.

TravisMenaJerome (D)Wanda (SB)Rosario (BB)
8♥ 3♥ 6♥ 4♠ Q♠ 5♠ 10♥ 9♦ J♦ 6♣
FOLD FOLD Calls $200 FOLD Raises to $800
Calls $600
FLOP: A♠ 7♦ 4♦
Raises to $800 FOLD
WIN $2500
Wanda tried to goad Rosario into betting by saying, "Go ahead; that ain't your money."  From that ALONE, we glimpse into Wanda's strategy.

Jerome Bettis$10,900
Mena Suvari$10,500
Wanda Sykes$9700
Travis Tritt$9700
Rosario Dawson$9200

WandaRosarioTravis (D)Mena (SB)Jerome (BB)
8♣ 7♠ 9♣ 9♠ 10♠ 9♥ 5♠ 5♣ 6♥ 4♥
FOLD Raises to $600 FOLD Calls $500 FOLD
Rosario's "German Virgin" is a heavy fave over Mena's "speed limit".
FLOP: 3♠ A♦ 9♦
Rosario has flopped three...or a "PERSISTENT German virgin".
Raises to $500 FOLD
WIN $1900

MenaJeromeWanda (D)Rosario (SB)Travis (BB)
J♥ 2♠ 10♦ 8♠ 7♣ 4♦ K♦ 5♦ Q♥ 10♥
FOLD FOLD FOLD Calls $100 Raises to $1000
Calls $800
FLOP: 3♥ 7♥ 7♠
Travis has about a 35% chance to get one of the eight remaining hearts to make a flush on the Turn or the River.  Wanda would've flopped a "slot machine" (7-7-7) had she stayed in.
CHECK Raises to $1200
WIN $3200

WandaRosarioTravis (D)Mena (SB)Jerome (BB)
Q♠ 8♠ 9♠ 3♠ 4♣ 2♠ 7♣ 6♣ A♣ 10♣
Calls $200 FOLD FOLD Calls $100 Raises to $800
Raises to $1800 FOLD Calls $1000
FLOP: 10♠ Q♦ 7♥
Bets $1000
Raises to $2000 Calls $1000
Wanda leans right over at Jerome after her raise.  This is normally a "tell" of weakness.  However, THIS time, she's a 79% favorite to win.
TURN: 6♦
COMMUNITY: A♥ Q♦ 7♥ 6♦ 10♠
The one card that could help Jerome...and he GETS it!  His Aces beat Wanda's Queens
Bets $3000
WIN $15,100
Jerome, inexperienced as he is with Hold 'Em, didn't figure out that the only way Wand could've beaten him was if she had a pair of Queens or an Ace-Queen as her hole cards.  Wanda literally scared Jerome out of the pot with her all-in wager.

Wanda Sykes$15,500
Travis Tritt$10,500
Mena Suvari$9800
Rosario Dawson$9200
Jerome Bettis$5000

Blinds have gone up to $200 (SB) and $400 (BB).
MenaJeromeWanda (D)Rosario (SB)Travis (BB)
J♥ 9♠ Q♦ 10♥ A♣ K♦ 9♣ 4♠ 6♠ 2♦
FLOP: 8♠ 10♣ A♥
WIN $1000
Travis didn't HAVE to fold; he could have just checked.  But, seeing as how bad his hand was, you can't blame him, really.

JeromeWandaRosario (D)Travis (SB)Mena (BB)
K♥ 9♣ K♠ J♥ 10♥ 5♦ 7♣ 5♣ Q♦ 7♠
FLOP: 6♣ 8♥ 8♣
Had Travis stayed in, he would have flopped an "open-ended straight-flush draw"; he could've ended up with a straight with any 4 or 9, a flush with any club...or a STRAIGHT FLUSH with a 4 or 9 of clubs.
...and welcome to Check-oslovakia.
COMMUNITY: 8♥ 8♣ A♠ 6♣ 3♠
Mena bluffs going for her chips before checking.  Wanda bluffs pushing ALL her chips in before checking.
8♥ 8♣ A♠ K♠ J♥ 8♥ 8♣ A♠ Q♦ 7♠
WIN $1000
Yup, this is the first televised hand of the game where the players actually had to show their hands.  Both Wanda and Mena have a pair of 8s, but Wanda's Ace-King kickers are better than Mena's Ace-Queen, so she wins the Blinds.

WandaRosarioTravis (D)Mena (SB)Jerome (BB)
9♣ 5♣ A♣ Q♥ 10♣ 5♦ J♦ 3♥ 7♠ 7♦
FOLD Raises to $1200 FOLD FOLD Calls $800
FLOP: 9♥ 2♥ 2♠
Bets $1000
Raises to $2000 FOLD
WIN $5600
Once again, Jerome is scared out of the best hand by an aggressive bet.  Jerome is obviously a "tight" player, only betting into hands he's at least 99% sure he can win.

Wanda Sykes$16,300
Rosario Dawson$11,800
Travis Tritt$11,200
Mena Suvari$8700
Jerome Bettis$2000

Blinds are now up to $300 (SB) and $600 (BB).
RosarioTravisMena (D)Jerome (SB)Wanda (BB)
J♥ 7♠ Q♦ 7♣ K♣ 5♣ K♥ 9♥ 3♦ 2♦
WIN $2000
Even though Wanda's hand was a fair underdog against Jerome's "pedigreed dog", she COULD have called with the "suited connectors".  Instead, she claims that they'd "take away her NAACP card" if she "knocked out a 'brother'".

TravisMenaJerome (D)Wanda (SB)Rosario (BB)
Q♠ 9♠ K♠ 6♥ 5♠ 4♠ K♣ 9♥ 6♦ 5♦
Raises to $1200 FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $2400
Calls $1200
Wanda claims Travis spent more money than what he had in front of him on tobacco.  Travis reminds her that "no one has died from 'second-hand spit'."  Wanda answers back, "They WILL if they spit on the wrong mother(bleep)!"
FLOP: 5♥ A♦ J♣
Bets $3000
WIN $8100

Rosario Dawson$16,300
Wanda Sykes$15,100
Mena Suvari$10,500
Travis Tritt$7000
Jerome Bettis$1100

Blinds are up again, this time to $400 (SB) and $800 (BB).
JeromeWandaRosario (D)Travis (SB)Mena (BB)
K♣ 7♠ J♥ 10♣ K♠ 4♠ J♣ 5♠ 9♦ 2♣
Though Mena's a HUGE underdog, she only had to call $300 more...which is nothing for someone with as much chips as her.  Plus, even if Jerome DOES win, he'll STILL be far behind.
FLOP: 2♣ 6♥ 8♣
Mena's flopped a pair of deuces.  She's a 4-1 fave.  Jerome needs a King or two running cards for a straight. 
Jerome has a pair of Kings now and is an 89% fave.  But Mena can STILL win with a 9 or a 2.
K♣ K♥ 8♣ 8♠ 7♠ 8♣ 8♠ 2♣ 2♣ K♥
WIN $2600

RosarioTravisMena (D)Jerome (SB)Wanda (BB)
K♣ 7♣ 6♣ 3♠ 10♥ 5♦ K♠ 7♠ 9♦ 5♣
Calls $1000
Jerome's suited cards are a 3-to-2 favorite against Wanda's "Dolly Parton".
FLOP: J♦ J♣ 4♦
TURN: 8♥
The only thing that can knock out Jerome is...
...a nine.  So much for the NAACP card.
J♦ J♣ K♠ 9♣ 8♥ J♦ J♣ 9♦ 9♣ 8♥
OUT - 5th Place WIN $3600

So the final "Bus Stop" for the night for Jerome is the Loser's Lounge, where Dave consuls him.  Dave says, "That woman (Wanda) snapped you like a twig."  Jerome KNEW he was a mark at the table for being so big...and he KNEW that the three females were going to gang up on him and Travis from the get-go.  The GOOD news is the The Bus Stops Here Foundation gets $5000 for Jerome's participation

Rosario Dawson$19,100
Wanda Sykes$16,100
Mena Suvari$9000
Travis Tritt$5800

WandaRosario (D)Travis (SB)Mena (BB)
J♠ 9♠ Q♦ 6♦ Q♠ 5♥ Q♣ 7♥
Calls $800 FOLD FOLD Calls $0
FLOP: A♥ A♠ 5♦
TURN: 8♥
COMMUNITY: A♥ A♠ 5♦ 8♥ 6♠
A♥ A♠ J♠ 9♠ 8♥ A♥ A♠ Q♣ 8♥ 7♥
WIN $2000

Blinds are now $500 (SB) and $1000 (BB).
MenaWanda (D)Rosario (SB)Travis (BB)
K♣ 2♥ Q♠ 2♠ J♦ 4♥ 10♣ 6♦
FOLD FOLD Raises to $3500 FOLD
WIN $4500
Starting with this hand and lasting for quite a while afterwards, Wanda and Travis talk about cutting a record together and then going on tour.  They make a reference to William Hung, the worst-ever tryout for American Idol who has been making a FORTUNE off his bad singing...and that makes Wanda, who can't sing a lick, very confident that their record and tour would rock.  But, when she mentions that Jerome could drive the tour bus, Jerome leaves the Loser's Lounge and hands his "monster bus" toy to Rosario, saying to Wanda and Travis, "I ain't drivin' no Miss Daisy!"

WandaRosario (D)Travis (SB)Mena (BB)
K♥ 2♠ 8♥ 8♣ 9♠ 5♦ A♦ 7♣
FOLD Raises to $3000 FOLD Calls $2000
Wanda calls the Rosario-Mena stand-off a "cute-off".  Rosario's a slight favorite with her snowmen.
FLOP: K♠ 7♦ 3♦
Mena now has a pair of "mullets"...but Rosario is STILL beating her.
Bets $3000
Calls $3000
TURN: 2♦
Wanda would've had two pair by now had she stayed in.  Mena has a flush draw, but Rosario's still ahead.
Raises to $3000 Calls $3000
COMMUNITY: K♠ 7♦ 5♥ 3♦ 2♦
Rosario has won...but Mena still thinks her hand is strong and that Rosario may be bluffing so...
Calls $2200
8♥ 8♣ K♠ 7♦ 5♥ 7♣ 7♦ A♦ K♠ 5♥
WIN $22,900 OUT - 4th Place

So a distraught Mena, who Phil nicknames "All-American" (as much as how she played as starring in "American" movies, sulks to the Lounge...and blames her loss on Jerome for giving his "bus" to Rosario instead of her.  Dave tells Mena that her charity, Starlight Children's Foundation, gets $5000 for her efforts...but she thinks it's small consolation for the charity.  Dave then says the charity should be HAPPY with the money and to not whine about it.  Now back to the action...
Rosario (D)Travis (SB)Wanda (BB)
10♥ 2♦ A♥ 5♣ 8♦ 5♦
FOLD Raises to $2000 Calls $1000
FLOP: 5♥ 4♠ 5♠
BOTH Wanda and Travis have flopped a set of 5s!  But Travis' Ace makes a better kicker,
CHECK Raises to $2000
Wanda's bet is lowered by $100 to cover Travis' all-in bet.  Wanda needs an 8 to make a full house and knock her "tour partner" out.
TURN: 2♣
5♣ 5♥ 5♠ A♥ 4♠   5♦ 5♥ 5♠ 8♦ 4♠
WIN $7800

Rosario Dawson$31,800
Wanda Sykes$10,400
Travis Tritt$7800

Wanda (D)Rosario (SB)Travis (BB)
Q♠ 9♦ 7♥ 7♦ Q♦ 2♥
FOLD Raises to $3000 Calls $2000
While the cards are dealt, Travis hums some gospel...which gives Wanda ideas for the "tour" but makes her wonder about him.  Travis says he's sung with Patti LaBelle and Ray Charles, so he CAN hang with the "soul brothers and sisters".  Wanda is impressed...but says, "Y'know that they told Ray Charles that you was Charlie Pride." (Pride was one of very few African-American country singers in the genre...and a good one, too.)
FLOP: J♣ 6♣ 6♥
Bets $3100 FOLD
WIN $9100

Blinds are now $1000 (SB) and $2000 (BB).

Rosario (D)Travis (SB)Wanda (BB)
5♣ 4♣ 10♦ 9♦ J♠ 5♠
FOLD Calls $1000 CHECK
Before Travis calls, a buff shirtless man comes out to replace drinks...much to Rosario and Wanda's pleasure.
FLOP: 2♣ 7♠ 7♣
Phil often says that, when there's a pair on the Board, the first one to bet into the pot usually wins it, since everyone else is assuming that person as a third card to match the pair.  Most of the time that's true...
TURN: 4♥
COMMUNITY: 7♠ 7♣ 4♥ 4♠ 2♣
...but it only works if you actually BET into the pot!  Had Travis tried a bluff at ANY time, he MIGHT have scared Wanda off.
7♠ 7♣ 4♥ 4♠ 10♦ 7♠ 7♣ 4♥ 4♠ J♠
WIN $4000
Such as it is, Wanda wins with a Jack kick to the two pair on the Board.

Wanda (D)Rosario (SB)Travis (BB)
J♥ 9♦ 5♠ 4♣ 7♠ 2♠
FOLD Raises to $4000 ALL-IN
Being "short-stacked", Travis had no option but to go all-in and Rosario's bet is lowered.  As it turns out, he's a favorite with his suited hand.  Wanda sees both hands and says, "And I thought I was the only one who played (bleep)!"
FLOP: 4♠ 5♦ 10♥
OUCH!  Rosario flopped two pair!  Travis needs a LOT of help.
TURN: 10♠
Rosario has a BETTER two pair...but the 10 of spades HELPS Travis.  He can win with a 7 (to make a better two pair, 10s and 7s beating 10s and 5s) or a spade to make a flush.
10♥ 10♠ 5♠ 5♦ 9♥ 10♥ 10♠ 9♥ 7♠ 5♦ 
WIN $5600 OUT - 3rd Place

After hugs and one last push about a tour by Wanda, Travis marches to the Losers' Lounge.  Jerome is angry that the "experienced" players are back in the Lounge while the "novices" are still playing.  Travis can't BELIEVE that Rosario raised such a bad hand.  The good news for Travis is a) the St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis gets $5G for Travis' participation and b) he's now AWAY from Wanda's mouth.  But Travis says he enjoyed the conversations with Wanda and really had a good time.

But enough of that.  Wanda and Rosario are now going heads-up.  The winner gets the silver chip that will signify her entry into the Final Table.  So let's SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL!!

Rosario Dawson$37,600
Wanda Sykes$12,400

(It may LOOK insurmountable, but ONE double-up and Wanda's back in the game!)

Wanda (D) (SB)Rosario (BB)
9♠ 8♦ K♦ 6♥
Calls $1000 CHECK
FLOP: 7♠ 7♦ 9♦
Raises to $3000 FOLD
WIN $7000

Rosario (D) (SB)Wanda (BB)
Q♦ 5♦ ?????
WIN $3000
Queen-5 suited is REALLY not too bad a hand heads-up...but Wanda's relative silence tells her she's got a decent hand...though SHE'LL never know.

Rosario (D) (SB)Wanda (BB)
K♣ 9♦ K♥ Q♠
Raises to $4000 ALL-IN
Calls $10,400
Before moving all in, Wanda tells Robert she wants to raise and asks for her options.  Before Robert could say a word, though, Wanda says, "Save your breath" and moves all-in.  And why not?  She's a 3-to-1 fave.
FLOP: 4♥ 4♠ J♠
TURN: 6♣
Wanda's a 95% favorite right now and clears a space for all the chips she thinks she's about to win.  The only thing that could beat her... 
RIVER: 9♠ a 9!  The card that Wanda used to kill Jerome killed her!
9♦ 9♠ 4♥ 4♠ K♣ 4♥ 4♠ K♥ Q♠ J♠

And, so, while Wanda's Habitat For Humanity gets $5000, it's Rosario Dawson who receives the illustrious silver chip that signifies a Final Table participant.  Her charity, Scenarios USA, just MAY get the $100,000 Grand Prize...if she beats the other four single-table winners!

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