It's time once again for another round of the second tournament of CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN, the charity tournament with BIG stakes!  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.

Tonight, we have five brand new celebs scratching it out for their share of the prize pool:


Sean Astin
playing for National Center of Family Literacy
You may know him as the title character of "Rudy"...but chances are you know him as the hobbit Samwise Gamgee in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.  Will he be lord of the table...or will his play be ANYTHING but precioussssss?

Lauren Graham
playing for Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program
She's best known as Lorelai Victoria Gilmore from the WB's hit Gilmore Girls, but she also had a role in the Billy Bob Thorton film "Bad Santa".  Will her wish come true six month in advance...or will this girl's night be out early?

Chris Masterson
playing for Citizens Commission on Human Rights
This young actor plays Francis on FOX's Malcolm in the Middle and had a role in "Scary Movie 2".  Will be stuck in the middle with all the chips...or will the others' play freak him out too much?

Matthew Perry
playing for the Lili Claire Foundation
Matthew just completed his tenth and final season as Chandler Bing on Friends...and starred in the flopped movie sequel "The Whole Ten Yards".  Will this be "The One where a Friends character survives"...or will he drop the ball at the 9-yard line?

Sara Rue
playing for Susan G.Koman Breast Cancer Foundation
Sara plays the protagonist Claude Casey in Less Than Perfect as well as a role in the thriller "The Ring".  Is she a "ringer" to win this table...or will her play be WAY less than perfect?

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 tap.  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 Sean.

LaurenSaraSean (D)Chris (SB)Matthew (BB)
J♥ 4♦ A♥ 6♠ 5♦ 2♥ K♣ J♣ K♦ J♠
FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $600 FOLD
WIN $900
Matthew had almost the same hand as Chris...but he's a "tight" player, only playing hands he's 99% sure he can win.  While this is good strategy early on, you don't want to play too tight when the antes and blinds increase.
Sean wanted to check...but, since there's a "bet" in play (the Big Blind), he's informed that he can only call, raise or fold.  Sean chooses the latter.  Matthew replies, "That is the most elaborate bluff I have ever seen!"

Between hands, Sean and Matthew announce that they're friends and will hang out after the tournament.  Sean says it's cool have a Friend as a which Matthew replies, "Well, we can't all be 'Lord of the Rings'!"
SaraSeanChris (D)Matthew (SB)Lauren (BB)
J♣ 10♣ K♦ 2♣ A♦ Q♥ 5♥ 4♣ K♥ 5♦
FOLD FOLD Calls $200 FOLD Raises to $500
Calls $300
FLOP: 7♥ J♥ 9♦
Bets $1000 FOLD
WIN $2100

Chris Masterson$10,600
Sara Rue$10,000
Sean Astin$9900
Lauren Graham$9800
Matthew Perry$9700

SeanChrisMatthew (D)Lauren (SB)Sara (BB)
A♦ 9♥ A♥ K♥ 10♥ 4♥ J♦ 8♥ K♦ 9♦
Raises to $900 Raises to $2000 FOLD FOLD FOLD
As Sean ponders, a chant comes from the crowd: "RU-DY!  RU-DY!  RU-DY!"
Calls $1100
FLOP: 10♣ 3♠ Q♦
Chris flopped a straight draw, needing a Jack for Broadway.  Doesn't need it, though; he's way ahead.
CHECK Bets $4000
Calls $3900
TURN: 10♠
Poor Matthew; had he not been so tight, he'd've had "30 miles of bad road" and would be leading.  As such, Sean needs a 9 to stay out of the "Mt. Doom" that is the Losers' Lounge...
...but he's downed by...ahem..."The Return of the King"! :)
10♣ 10♠ A♦ K♣ Q♦ K♥ K♣ 10♣ 10♠ A♥
OUT - 5th Place WIN $20,100

Sean sulks to the Losers' Lounge and shakes hands with David.  He then goes over and shakes Phils hand...who promptly tells him, "That was not good."  Sean shows Phil the booklet that Phil gave to the celebs to help them play better Texas Hold 'Em...but Phil tosses it away, saying Sean doesn't need it anymore.  Ah, well, at least the National Center of Family Literacy gets $5000 for his participation.  Sean says he was "showing the Notre Dame spirit" (apparently forgetting how poorly Notre Dame football has been lately).  He then mock-cries on David's shoulder as we return to the action.
MatthewLauren (D)Sara (SB)Chris (BB)
K♥ 10♦ K♣ 10♥ 8♥ 3♦ 9♠ 7♦
Raises to $400 Raises to $800 FOLD FOLD
Calls $400
FLOP: A♥ 9♦ 8♣
CHECK Bets $1000
WIN $2900
The best thing about playing against a tight player like Matthew is you can scare him out of a pot even if you have only a semi-decent hand.  If a tight player checks, you should bet...and bet fairly big to win the pot when the tight player folds.

Chris Masterson$21,100
Lauren Graham$10,600
Sara Rue$9700
Matthew Perry$8600

ChrisMatthew (D)Lauren (SB)Sara (BB)
K♠ J♣ 3♥ 2♣ 9♣ 5♣ Q♥ J♦
Calls $200 FOLD FOLD Raises to $600
Calls $400
FLOP: 8♦ 2♠ 7♦
Bets $800
WIN $2100
Sara was on a bluff; she had no pair or draw and, yet, she bet big.  CHRIS didn't have anything, either, so he folded.

SaraChris (D)Matthew (SB)Lauren (BB)
7♦ 4♣ K♣ 6♣ 9♦ 7♠ Q♥ J♦
FOLD Raises to $600 FOLD Raises to $1200
WIN $1900
King-6 suited isn't as strong a hand as one may think.  It's better to have cards closer together in rank, making it as good a chance to get a straight as a flush.  Lauren was right to raise...and Chris was right to fold.

Blinds are now up to $200 (SB) and $400 (BB).
ChrisMatthew (D)Lauren (SB)Sara (BB)
8♦ 6♣ A♦ Q♣ 7♥ 5♦ 7♣ 2♠
FOLD Raises to $800 FOLD FOLD
WIN $1400
Matthew FINALLY gets a hand he's comfortable with!  Unfortunately, no one else did.  Sara had the "Beer Hand", the worst starting hand in Hold 'Em.

LaurenSara (D)Chris (SB)Matthew (BB)
7♦ 7♣ J♠ J♦ A♣ 8♠ Q♠ 4♠
Raises to $1000 Raises to $2000 FOLD FOLD
Calls $1000
David calls the Jacks "hooks" and the 7s "walking sticks".  At this, Phil tells him, "All right, Vince Van Patton." (Vince Van Patton is one of the commentators on the World Poker Tour, in case you didn't it's sort of a slap to the WPT.) When the boys fold, Chris mutters, "Cat fight."
FLOP: Q♣ K♣ 3♦
Matthew: "No matter what happens, can you two wrestle afterwards?"
Bets $1000 Calls $1000
TURN: 10♣
Sara now has a straight draw.  A crowd member yells at her to go all-in...causing Sean back in the Lounge to say, "Don't fall victim to the crowd!"  Sara yells back at the crowd, "Is this YOUR money?!"
Sara calls "time"...which is legal in tournaments.  Usually tournaments allow players to speed up play by "calling the clock", giving players a set amount of time to make a call.  But calling time gives players a LITTLE more time to think.
Lauren: "Phil didn't tell me about 'time' during my 'private morning session'."
David to Phil: "Is THAT what you call them?"
CHECK Bets $3500
WIN $10,100

Chris Masterson$19,900
Sara Rue$12,900
Lauren Graham$9500
Matthew Perry$7700

ChrisMatthew (D)Lauren (SB)Sara (BB)
7♥ 2♦ 7♠ 3♥ K♦ J♥ K♣ 5♣
FOLD FOLD Raises to $1200 Calls $800
FLOP: 4♥ A♣ J♣
Bets $2000 Calls $2000
Sara "dekes" for her chips out of turn.  Reaching for chips especially with a smile like Sara has) is a "tell" of weakness...and, apparently, Lauren picks up on it...
WIN $12,700

ChrisMatthew (D)Lauren (SB)Sara (BB)
5♠ 2♦ J♠ 10♣ Q♠ 8♥ 4♠ 8♣
FOLD Raises to $1200 Calls $1000 FOLD
FLOP: 3♠ 10♠ A♣
Matthew has flopped "middle pair".  He has a chance...
Bets $4000
...unless, of course, someone who KNOWS he plays tight scares him out with a big bet.
WIN $6800

The price of poker has gone up; blinds are now $300 (SB) and $600 (BB).
LaurenSara (D)Chris (SB)Matthew (BB)
K♦ 8♣ K♠ J♦ A♥ 9♦ J♥ 6♥
Raises to $1400 Calls $1400 FOLD FOLD
FLOP: Q♥ 5♦ 7♦
Though Lauren has nothing (and even less than Sara), she asks Sara how much she has left.  This is also legal in tournament play; at any time, a player can ask another how much s/he has left.  This is usually an indication that the asking player is going to "tap" the other player, or put him/her all-in.
Bets $3000 FOLD
WIN $6700

SaraChris (D)Matthew (SB)Lauren (BB)
K♥ 8♥ 9♦ 6♣ K♠ J♣ 6♠ 4♦
FOLD FOLD Raises to $1500 FOLD
WIN $2100
Another disadvantage of being a consistently tight player is that, once players catch on to that, they will stay away from him whenever he bets, assuming he has a monster hand.  You can get many chips from collecting just the blinds every with good hand.

Chris Masterson$20,000
Lauren Graham$16,200
Sara Rue$7800
Matthew Perry$6000

LaurenSara (D)Chris (SB)Matthew (BB)
J♦ 2♣ J♣ 6♥ 8♦ 7♥ Q♠ 8♠
Since Matthew had $600 in the Big Blind already and no one has raised him, he can check and see the Flop for free.
FLOP: 9♦ K♠ 7♣
Bets $1200 FOLD
WIN $2400
Matthew may have been right to fold this time; Chris' "mullets" made him a mild favorite. 

MatthewLauren (D)Sara (SB)Chris (BB)
Q♥ 4♥ 3♥ 2♦ J♥ 10♣ A♦ 5♥
FOLD FOLD Raises to $1200 Calls $600
FLOP: 9♠ 9♦ K♠
CHECK Bets $3000
Calls $3000
WIN $11400

In the Lounge, Sean has all sorts of notes as he watches the action.  He prefers to call the area the LEARNING Lounge, since he's learning more and more about poker with each hand. 
LaurenSara (D)Chris (SB)Matthew (BB)
Q♦ 8♥ K♣ Q♥ K♠ 9♦ 10♠ 7♥
Raises to $1200 Raises to $2400 FOLD FOLD
Raises to $4200 Calls $1800
FLOP: Q♠ 9♥ 8♣
Ooooooo. Lauren flopped two pair!  Sara was a 75% fave before the Flop, but now Lauren's an over 90% fave.
Lauren's bet is lowered to match Sara's all-in.  Sara needs a King to stat around.
TURN: 6♠
WIN $23,700 OUT - 4th Place

As Lauren become the chip leader, Sara shows Phil's booklet to the camera and says, "I had to do it."  She goes into the Losers' Lounge.  Phil AGREES that Sara made the right move, calling with "top pair" on the Flop.  Sean says, "I know it's not saying much, but you played better than me."  Sara takes SOME solace in that the Susan G.Koman Breast Cancer Foundation gets $5000.  Sara says that's good because "You have to protect the ladies".  Then an awkward moment appears when Sara says that the spouse should be made to give breast exams to the which David says, "You shouldn't have to MAKE the guy touch your breasts."  Well, uh,...back to the action...

Lauren Graham$27,900
Chris Masterson$17,000
Matthew Perry$5100

Matthew (D)Lauren (SB)Chris (BB)
5♦ 4♦ Q♠ 10♠ A♠ J♥
FOLD Raises to $3300 Calls $2700
FLOP: 4♥ Q♦ 6♥
Bets $4000 FOLD
WIN $10600

Antes have gone up to $0 and blinds are now $400 (SB) and $800 (BB).
Lauren (D)Chris (SB)Matthew (BB)
4♠ 4♣ Q♦ J♦ 4♥ 3♠
Raises to $1600 Raises to $4500 FOLD
Matthew: "Oddly,...I'm going to fold."
WIN $6900
There's a switch: CHRIS semi-bluffed LAUREN out of a pot.  Actually, Lauren's "Darth Vader" ("dark" fours) and Chris' suited connectors were pretty much a coin flip.

Chris (D)Matthew (SB)Lauren (BB)
9♠ 5♦ K♣ Q♦ Q♥ Q♣
FOLD Raises to $2900 Raises to $6300
Calls $2000
EWWW!  Matthew finally gets a hand to go all-in with...and someone else has a BETTER hand to CALL with!  Lauren's about a 4-to1 favorite.
FLOP: 6♦ 7♠ A♥
TURN: 6♥
Matthew needs a King or it's all over...
RIVER: 10♥
6♦ 6♥ A♥ K♣ Q♦ Q♥ Q♣ 6♦ 6♥ A♥
OUT - 3rd Place WIN $8600

Matthew is very sad as he arrives into the Lounge, greeted by David, Sean and Sara.  After ordering drinks, David comments about Matthew's tight play...and Matthew ADMITS that he played TOO tight.  David ALSO comments on his Friends counterpart David Schwimmer losing in HIS CPS game last year...but Matthew can live with it since, according to him, he and Schwimmer will never see each other again.  He takes a mild bit of comfort that the Lili Claire Foundation will get 5 "large".

But, now, it's down to HEADS-UP action between the WB star and the FOX star.  Which of these so-called "minor-league network" actors will get the silver chip?  We'll find out as we SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL!

Lauren Graham$33,900
Chris Masterson$16,100

Lauren (D) (SB)Chris (BB)
K♥ 3♥ 5♥ 4♣
Raises to $2000 FOLD
WIN $2800
Here, Lauren starts to talk it up with Chris, asking for a new "Chris Fact" each hand.  Chris says he's "bi-curious" (look it up if you don't know).

Chris (D) (SB)Lauren (BB)
3♥ 3♦ 10♦ 5♥
Raises to $2500 FOLD
WIN $3300
Chris was born on Long Island

And, now, it's time once again for HOW WOULD YOU PLAY IT!?  We'll only show you Chris' hand and see if you can determine what to do as Lauren plays along.

Lauren (D) (SB)Chris (BB)
????? K♠ 7♠
Chris has no pets.
Raises to $1900 Calls $1100
Lauren raised rather strong, but "you" (as Chris) have a strong hand yourself.  Folding is not an option, but the hand's not string enough to raise.  So, the best thing to do is call and see what the Flop has in store.
FLOP: 2♦ 3♦ 3♠
"You" don't have either of "your" cards paired, but "you" DO have two "overcards".  Plus, the first one to bet into a pair on the Board usually wins.  The best bet would be about $3000 of "your" remaining chips.
Bets $5500
Calls $5500
"You" overbet the pot.  And Lauren actually CALLED...without much thought, mind "you".  This should worry "you", since "you" should be putting her on a flush draw.
There's still nut flush chance for Lauren...and "you" have no pair of "your" own.  "You" delay to try to pick up a "tell" from Lauren...who gives none noticeable.  Finally,...
Bets $4000 FOLD
The big bet by Lauren shows either a flush draw...or a bluff at a flush.  "You" shouldn't take chances and should fold (like Chris does).
WIN $18,800
Unlike Chris, however, you get to see what Lauren had...and it was J♦ 8♦.  She WAS on a draw.

Chris (D) (SB)Lauren (BB)
K♦ 3♠ 3♣ 2♣
Raises to $2400 Calls $1600
FLOP: 10♥ A♣ J♦
WIN $11,100

Chris (D) (SB)Lauren (BB)
6♥ 3♦ J♥ 9♠
Raises to $2700 Calls $1900
FLOP: Q♥ A♥ Q♠
Bets $4000
WIN $9400
Chris TRIED to bluff...but Lauren's call before the Flop and big bet afterwards forced him to fold.

Lauren Graham$40,800
Chris Masterson$9200

I won't bore you...much: what follows is a number of hands where one bets big and the other one folds to win the pot without a Flop.  Let's get to a hand where the Flop actually takes place, shall we?

Blinds are now $500 (SB) and $1000 (BB).

Chris (D) (SB)Lauren (BB)
7♥ 2♣ K♦ Q♣
Calls $6300
Chris MUST be "on tilt"; no one should even consider CALLING the Beer Hand, let alone putting all their chips in!  There's still a chance, though; Lauren IS the fave, but only about a 68% fave.
FLOP: 7♣ 8♠ K♠
Ooooo...Chris flopped a pair...but so did Lauren.
TURN: 9♦
Only a 7 or a 2 can keep Chris' game alive...
7♥ 7♣ A♠ K♠ 9♦ K♦ K♠ A♠ Q♣ 9♦

And, so, while Chris' Citizens Commission on Human Rights gets $5000 (and Thomas Ridge cancels the phone call to him about that), it's Lauren Graham who become the second female this season to get silver chip that signifies a Final Table participant.  The  Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program has a chance at receiving the $100,000 Grand Prize...IF Lauren survives the Final Table!