Less than a year ago, CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN, the serious cash-money tournament that plays like Beverly Hills home games, debutted on Bravo (baby!) and made a big splash from the Palms Casino in Vegas. Well, it's already up to its fourth iteration and STILL going strong!  There will, as always, 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 NetZero Internet(TM) Prize Pool for his/her charity.

Two CPS veterans and three rookies apporach the felt tonight. And they are:


Christopher Meloni
playing for the MS (Multiple Sclorosis) Society
Aside from being Det. Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Christopher was also in "Wet Hot American Summer" and "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle". Will he eat up the competition or will he be a "special victim" of the cards?

Matthew Perry
playing for the Lili Claire Foundation
This former member of Friends bombed greatly during his Tournament 2 prelim table. Will he go "The Whole Ten Yards" this time or is this "The One With a Former Friend Choking Yet Again"?

Stephen Root
playing for Corazon De Vida Foundation
After is run with Dave Foley on NewsRadio, Stephen ended up on many films like "Dodgeball" and "Finding Nemo". Will he find the right combination of cards or will he get slammed in the... head?

Sarah Silverman
playing for Habitat for Humanity
This comedianne is a regular on Comedy Central's Crank Yankers and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, as well as played in CPS' Tournament 1. Will she yank a victory this time or will she be lost in the crowd?

Michael Vartan
playing for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital
As Agent Michael C. Vaughn on the hit ABC series Alias, Michael is slick and sly, just like any good poker player should be. Will he spy a way to won or will the others gun him down?

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 winning the "coveted" silver chip and making him/her eligible for the Final Table later in the year.  At the announcers' position beside the Losers' Lounge are 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 Stephen.

Michael Sarah Stephen (D) Christopher (SB) Matthew (BB)
3♠ 2♥ Q♣ ?♠ 10♣ 3♣ A♦ 7♦ Q♦ 6♥
FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $500 Calls $300
69% 31%
(For this tournament, I decided to include possible winning percentages for each hand, just like in the World Series of Poker coverage. This will cover TRUE odds of winning given all the cards dealt, including those folded.)
FLOP: 7♥ 2♣ 5♦
86% 14%
Bets $800 FOLD
WIN $1800

Stephen Christopher Matthew (D) Michael (SB) Sarah (BB)
J♦ J♥ J♠ 7♦ 10♥ 5♦ K♦ 2♠ K♣ 4♣
Raises to $500 FOLD FOLD FOLD Calls $300
68% 32%
Here, the hosts predict a winner. Dave says Stephen (for personal reasons) and Phil picks Matthew.
FLOP: 8♦ J♣ 9♠
Stephen flops three "hooks"... and Sarah has bupkis.
94% 6%
Bets $400
Raises to $800 FOLD
WIN $2300

Stephen Root $11,000
Christopher Melony $10,800
Michael Vartan $9700
Matthew Perry $9400
Sarah Silverman $9100

Christopher Matthew Michael (D) Sarah (SB) Stephen (BB)
J♣ J♠ K♠ 2♥ Q♣ 9♠ 8♦ 5♥ A♦ 6♣
Raises to $400 FOLD FOLD FOLD Calls $200
70% 30%
FLOP: J♦ K♥ 7♦
Trip-jacks strike again!
95% 5%
Bets $400 Calls $400
TURN: 7♣
BOAT! Christopher has Jacks-full-of-7s and will win the hand if he doesn't fold.
(If the percentage of winning is 100%, I'll put "NUTS!" since that's what the player has. If it's 0%, I'll put "DEAD!" because that's what the player is in this hand.)
Bets $400 Calls $400
Christopher is "trapping" Stephen into thinking his OWN hand isn't worth much either. He also looks disappointed... which is usually a tell of a strong hand.
COMMUNITY: 7♦ 7♣ A♠ K♥ J♦
That is a GREAT card...for Christopher. It gives Stepen two pair and almost promises that he'll bet instead of check.
Bets $500
Raises to $2000 Calls $1500
J♣ J♠ J♦ 7♦ 7♣ A♦ A♠ 7♦ 7♣ K♥
WIN $6500

Michael Sarah Stephen (D) Christopher (SB) Matthew (BB)
Q♣ 3♣ 10♥ 5♠ 8♥ 7♣ 10♦ 9♦ 10♣ 5♥
FOLD FOLD FOLD Calls $100 Raises to $600
Calls $400
77% 22%
FLOP: 10♠ 3♥ 3♦
That's the last 10 in the deck. Both players have two pair, but Christopher's kicker is slight better. The chances for a tie, though, are close to even.
67% 33%
Bets $500 Raises to $1000
Calls $500
Christopher now has a flush draw, needing another diamond. But, for now, they both have the same hand: 10s and 3s with a Queen kicker. Tie chances are now 60%.
67% 33%
Bets $500 Raises to $2500
WIN $6200
Matthew proves the you don't need "the nuts"... as long as you have SOME "nuts" (wink wink).

Stephen Christopher Matthew (D) Michael (SB) Sarah (BB)
Before the cards are dealt, Matthew requests that everyone rub the felt of the table for luck. He then asks that someone put a timer on so that, every seven minutes, they'll do another "felt rub".
J♣ 9♠ A♠ K♦ K♣ 2♠ 10♥ 9♥ A♦ 7♣
FOLD Raises to $400 FOLD Calls $300 Calls $200
40% 43% 17%
FLOP: 10♦ 6♠ 6♥
Michael got lucky and flopped two pair!
17% 80% 3%
Bets $600 FOLD
Calls $600
18% 82%
TURN: 6♣
Devil on Board! That gives Michael a full house...but how can Christopher fold trips with two excellent kickers? All he needs is an Ace or a King to win the hand, after all.
13% 87%
Bets $2000
Calls $2000
COMMUNITY: 6♠ 6♥ 6♣ 10♦ 5♣
6♠ 6♥ 6♣  A♠ K♦ 6♠ 6♥ 6♣ 10♥ 10♦
WIN $6400

Michael Vartan $12,900
Matthew Perry $11,900
Christopher Melony $9700
Sarah Silverman $9000
Stephen Root $6500

Sarah Stephen Christopher (D) Matthew (SB) Michael (BB)
A♦ J♥ 10♥ 8♠ K♥ 6♥ Q♣ 10♦ A♥ J♣
Calls $200 FOLD FOLD Calls $100 Raises to $1000
Calls $800 FOLD
50% 50%
Sarah tossed a $500 chip into the pot... but, since she didn't say "raise", it is considered a call and Sarah would have got change back had she not called the raise. Sarah and Michael have the exact same hand. The only way for one of them to win outright is a flush. Tie chance: 97%.
FLOP: 8♥ 9♦ 4♦
SLIGHTLY better odds now for Sarah. In fact, she can't LOSE this worst (95% chance), she'll tie.
52% 48%
Bets $2500
Calls $2500
Sarah: "What do you have with that flop that's so great?"
Michael: "A lot better than that!"
TURN: 5♣
With no chance for a flush for EITHER player, it'll be a split pot unless someone bets the other one out of the pot.
COMMUNITY: 4♦ 4♠ 9♦ 8♥ 5♣
4♦ 4♠ A♦ J♥ 9♦ 4♦ 4♠ A♥ J♣ 9♦
WIN $3600 WIN $3600

Stephen Christopher Matthew (D) Michael (SB) Sarah (BB)
A♠ 9♥ J♦ 8♥ 5♠ 3♣ Q♦ 8♦ 9♦ 7♠
Raises to $500 FOLD FOLD Calls $400 FOLD
60% 40%
FLOP: 10♣ 8♠ 4♥
Michael forges ahead with a pair of "snowmen".
25% 75%
Bets $500 Calls $500
TURN: 2♠
87% 13%
Bets $1000 Raises to $4000
Calls $1500
Stephen picked the wrong hand to semi-bluff with. Only an Ace or a 9 will save him.
A♠ 10♣ 9♥ 8♠ 6♠ 8♦ 8♠ Q♦  10♣ 6♠
OUT - 5th Place WIN $13,200

Despite losing, Stephen is PSYCHED to go to the Loser's Lounge with his former co-hort Dave. Stephen bear-hugs Dave before they sit on the couch. Dave says, "At least now you can drink without distraction." Stephen didn't think Michael would call his all-in. At least the Corazon De Vida (Spanish for 'Heart of Life') Foundation gets $5000 for Stephens participation in the tournament. Stephen takes comfort in the fact that the orphanages in Baja California won't know how badly he played... and that his winnings will possibly finish their food budget for the rest of the year! Well, let's get back to the table.

Blinds are now $200 (SB) and $400 (BB).

It's time to play HOW WOULD "YOU" PLAY IT?, the part of the show where only one hand is shown and the viewing audience will have to play along and see if their decisions are the right ones. We'll play with Christopher and tell you how you SHOULD play it.

Michael Sarah (D) Christopher (SB) Matthew (BB)
????? ????? J♠ 8♥ ?????
Being in the Small Blind puts "you" (Christopher) "out of position", meaning "you" must bet first in every consequent round. Should Michael and/or Sarah fold and/or just call, it's a good idea to just "limp-in" (call) and try to see the Flop.
FOLD FOLD Calls $200 Raises to $1000
That's a might aggresive raise by Matthew. Because of position, "you" should fold.
Calls $800
FLOP: 9♠ 10♣ 5♣
"You" now have an open-ended straight draw, needing a 7 or a Queen. Make a "semi-bluff" and hope Matthew didn't get something.
Bets $500 Raises to $1500
ANOTHER aggresive raise. Matthew is fronting SOMETHING but, since it's only $1000 more, "you" might as well see a Turn card.
Calls $1000
TURN: 10♥
Chances of "you" getting a straight now are fairly slim. Best to check and see what Matthew may have.
Bets $1000 Raises to $4000
YOIKS! He must have at LEAST three-of-a-kind (most likely three 10s). Fold and get out of this situation!
Calls $3000
COMMUNITY: 10♣ 10♥ K♦ 9♠ 5♣
"You" did not make "your" straight. Since Matthew MUST have a huge hand, "you" should make a BIG bluff and try to scare Matthew out of the pot.
CHECK Bets $4000
Matthew KNOWS he has "you" beat when you "checked". Bail out now!
WIN $17,000
And we were right. Matthew had 10♠ 6♠, giving him "thirty miles of bad road". Christopher should've abandoned his hand before the Flor and saved himself $6300. Now he's in REAL trouble.

Matthew Perry $19,000
Michael Vartan $18,900
Sarah Silverman $8700
Christopher Melony $3400

Christopher Matthew (D) Michael (SB) Sarah (BB)
K♥ 9♠ 5♦ 3♦ J♦ 4♣ 10♣ 5♣
Calls $400 FOLD Calls $200 CHECK
45% 26% 29%
FLOP: 8♥ 10♦ 9♦
Sarah shouts, "YES!!" If THAT ain't a tell... However, Michael has an open-ended straight draw.
18% 44% 38%
CHECK Bets $500
Calls $500 Calls $500
26% 61% 13%
Bets $500 Calls $500 Calls $500
If a 7 shows up on the River, it'll be a three-way split pot, since no one can beat the straight on the Board. If a QUEEN comes up, though there will STILL be a straight on the Board, Christopher will win since he'll have made a KING-high straight.
COMMUNITY: A♥ J♣ 10♦ 9♦ 8♥
Bets $500 FOLD Calls $500
Michael folded the best hand! He's playing mighty tight.
9♠ 9♦ A♥ K♥  J♣ 10♣ 10♦ A♥ J♣ 9♦
WIN $5200

Michael Sarah (D) Christopher (SB) Matthew (BB)
K♦ 4♥ A♦ 8♥ Q♠ 5♠ A♣ 9♦
FOLD Calls $400 Calls $200 Raises to $1100
Calls $700 ALL-IN
Matthew "tapped" Christopher, betting just enough to put him all-in. Should Sarah or Matthew bet more, a side pot will be made that only they can bet into and win.
21% 42% 37%
FLOP: 6♥ A♥ J♥
Both Sarah and Matthew have flopped top pair... but Sarah ALSO has a flush draw going.
53% 2% 45%
Bets $500 (Side)
Raises to $1500 (Side) Calls $1000 (Side)
TURN: 6♠
With that, Christopher is out of the tournament. Sarah STILL has a chance to win both pots outright IF a heart shows up on the River. Other than that and it's two split pots (60% chance).
58% DEAD! 42%
COMMUNITY: 6♥ 6♠ A♥ J♥ 4♦
A♦ 8♥ 6♥ A♥ J♥ 6♠ 4♦ Q♠ 5♠ 6♥ A♥ J♥ 6♠ 4♦ A♣ 9♦ 6♥ A♥ J♥ 6♠ 4♦
WIN $1700 (Main)
WIN $1500 (Side)
OUT - 4th Place WIN $1600 (Main)
WIN $1500 (Side)
Since Matthew is "on the button" and there are no $50 chips, he gets the extra $100 chip.

Christopher doesn't seem TOO bummed that he lost. As he meets Dave and Stephen back in the Lounge, Phil goes over how he botched the "HOW WOULD YOU PLAY IT" hand as his fatal mistake. Christopher says that Matthew was very impressive. He's glad that the MS Society gets $5000 thanks to him... and he's glad he won't get "felt burn" anymore. Now, back to the action:

Matthew (D) Michael (SB) Sarah (BB)
10♥ 3♥ Q♠ Q♦ 10♠ 2♠
FOLD Calls $200 CHECK
86% 14%
FLOP: K♦ J♥ 8♥
Matthew would've had a flush draw had he stayed in.
95% 5%
Bets $1000 Raises to $3000
Calls $2000
TURN: 8♠
COMMUNITY: 8♥ 8♠ K♦ J♥ 4♥
Q♠ Q♦ 8♥ 8♠ K♦ 8♥ 8♠ K♦  J♥  10♠
WIN $6800
Had Matthew stayed in, he would've won with a flush!

Sarah (D) Matthew (SB) Michael (BB)
5♦ 2♠ K♣ 4♣ Q♠ 7♦
FOLD Raises to $800 Calls $400
62% 38%
FLOP: 9♣ Q♣ 2♥
Top pair for Michael, flush draw for Matthew.
48% 52%
Bets $800 Raises to $3000
Calls $2200
TURN: 10♥
36% 64%
COMMUNITY: A♣ Q♣ 10♥ 9♣ 2♥
Matthew has his nut flush!
Bets $5000 FOLD
Before folding, Michael asks Matthew if he has an Ace or a club... and Matthew says, "I cannot say at this juncture."
WIN $12,600

Matthew Perry $23,200
Michael Vartan $18,100
Sarah Silverman $8700

Matthew (D) Michael (SB) Sarah (BB)
K♠ 5♣ K♣ Q♥ A♠ 10♣
Raises to $800 Calls $600 Raises to $1300
FOLD Calls $500
37% 63%
FLOP: 7♠ Q♦ Q♠
Michael has flopped three Queens... or "six t#$s" in more vulgar lingo,
96% 4%
COMMUNITY: Q♥ Q♠ J♦ 9♦ 7♠
WIN $20,200

Blinds are now up to $300 (SB) and $600 (BB).

Michael (D) Sarah (SB) Matthew (BB)
"FELT RUB!" (and Director Robert Thompson even joins in!)
6♣ 2♥ Q♠ 7♥ A♣ 6♥
FOLD Calls $300 Raises to $2600
Calls $2000
41% 59%
FLOP: 2♦ J♦ 10♣
28% 72%
CHECK Bets $2400
WIN $7600

Matthew Perry $27,400
Michael Vartan $20,200
Sarah Silverman $2400

Sarah (D) Matthew (SB) Michael (BB)
K♠ 4♥ 5♦ 3♣ 9♣ 9♥
FOLD Raises to $1200 Calls $600
17% 83%
FLOP: 2♠ A♦ 6♥
Matthew has an inside "wheel" draw
15% 85%
Bets $1000 Calls $1000
TURN: 8♦
7% 93%
CHECK Bets $3000
WIN $7400

Sarah (D) Matthew (SB) Michael (BB)
K♦ 2♠ Q♥ 5♦ 8♦ 4♥
FOLD Raises to $1200 Calls $600
62% 38%
FLOP: K♣ 9♥ 9♣
75% 25%
Bets $3000 FOLD
WIN $5400

Michael (D) Sarah (SB) Matthew (BB)
7♥ 5♠ Q♠ 10♠ A♥ 9♥
Calls $2100
45% 55%
FLOP: 6♣ 9♦ K♦
Matthew has pushed far ahead with his pair of 9s. HOWEVER, a Queen, 10 or Jack will pull Sarah ahead.
40% 60%
TURN: 7♦
Now Sarah has MORE outs. An 8 would give her a straight as well as a Jack. At this, she more than RUBS the felt... she climbs on top and gives it a full-body massage! The dealer has to put the River card on the small of her back...
33% 67%
And Matthew Perry wins with the "Persistant German Virgin".
9♦ 9♣ K♦ Q♠ 10♠ 9♥ 9♦ 9♣ A♥ K♦
OUT - 3rd Place WIN $5400
Sarah stays on the table, not wanting to leave. But, eventually, she does.

Well, at least this is familiar territory for Sarah; she went out third in her Tournament 1 prelim table as well. She grabs a plate of melon balls en route to the Lounge, where Dave, Stephen and Christopher await her. Phil smiles and says, "I'll never look at the River the same way again. Dave tells Sarah that $5000 is going to Habitat for Humanity... and Sarah replies, "Who cares?!" But Dave cheers her up by saying that it'll buy "a lot of hammers for Jimmy Carter".

Well, you know that means HEADS-UP between the unemployed TV actor and gamefully employed TV actor. Will "Chandler" give Michael the ba-da-"Bing" or will Michael make Matthew go under a new alias? After a "en masse felt rub", it's time to (as the crowd yells out) SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL!

Matthew Perry $30,900
Michael Vartan $19,100

Hand 24

Michael (D) (SB) Matthew (BB)
10♠ 7♠ 2♦ 2♠
Raises to $1200 Raises to $2200
Calls $1000
52% 48%
FLOP: 3♠ J♦ 8♥
Matthew now leads with the "ducks", though Michael has an inside straight draw
44% 56%
Bets $2500
WIN $6900
Ah, the power of a massive chip lead. You can use your stack to scare the opponents out of pot.

Blinds are now up to $400 (SB) and $800 (BB).
Michael (D) (SB) Matthew (BB)
J♦ J♥ Q♠ 4♦
Calls $400 Raises to $3300
Raises to $8300 FOLD
WIN $11,600
Michael overplayed that. Even though he was an 8-to-3 fave, he could've just called and work some more bread out of Matthew. Then again, he didn't want Matthew to catch up on the Flop so... In any case, they're about dead even in chips now.

Matthew (D) (SB) Michael (BB)
9♣ 8♦ J♣ 6♦
Calls $400 CHECK
44% 56%
FLOP: 9♠ 10♥ J♠
Matthew has an open-ended straight draw, and Michael has a pair of hooks.
45% 55%
Bets $2000
Raises to $5000 Calls $3000
TURN: 8♥
Now they BOTH have open-ended draws. If a 7 or a Queen comes off, it'll be a split pot (18% chance).
73% 27%
Bets $5000 FOLD
WIN $16,600
Michael's hands were shaking before he folded and said, "I do not have the nuts."

Michael (D) (SB) Matthew (BB)
Q♦ 5♦ K♠ Q♠
Raises to $1900 Raises to $3900
Calls $2000
28% 72%
FLOP: 8♥ 3♥ 4♥
That would be a nice Flop...if either of them had two hearts.
18% 82%
Bets $4000
WIN $26,900
Again, Michael is scared out of the best hand by aggresive play. They're still pretty even in chips, though.

Michael (D) (SB) Matthew (BB)
A♠ 9♥ 6♦ 4♣
Calls $400 CHECK
63% 37%
FLOP: 3♠ 4♥ 2♠
Matthew leads with the two "sailboats", but Michael has a "wheel draw".
24% 76%
Bets $3000
Calls $3000
TURN: 3♥
14% 86%
Bets $6000
WIN $13,600
With just a draw, I can see how Michael would think Matthew had him beat. Any Ace, Queen or 5 (11 outs) would've won it, but why take chances?

Matthew Perry $26,500
Michael Vartan $23,500

Matthew (D) (SB) Michael (BB)
A♣ 5♦ J♦ 9♦
Raises to $2500 Calls $1700
54% 46%
FLOP: A♦ 9♣ 7♠
At this point, Matthew is leaning back and Michael is hunched over the table. These are classic tells for strong and weak hands respectively.
77% 23%
Bets $3000 Raises to $8000
Calls $5000
The check-raise by Michael didn't scare Matthew out. Why should it? He has "bullets" to Michael's "Barbara Feldon" (Agent 99)
89% 11%
COMMUNITY: A♦ Q♠ 9♣ 7♠ 4♦
A♣ A♦ Q♠ 9♣ 7♠ 9♦ 9♣ A♦ Q♠ J♦
WIN $21,000

Antes have gone up to $0 and blinds are now $500 (SB) and $1000 (BB).
Michael (D) (SB) Matthew (BB)
K♣ 10♠ 9♥ 4♦
WIN $7000

Matthew (D) (SB) Michael (BB)
K♥ K♣ Q♠ J♦
Raises to $8500 ALL-IN
86% 14%
Matthew "tapped" Michael with his "cowboys". Michael's is a decent hand, but it's gonna need help.
FLOP: A♠ 2♣ 10♦
91% 9%
Yeah, that'll do all right. A King would give him "Broadway".
TURN: 9♠
86% 14%
Even BETTER now. It's still a long shot at best, but Michael can stay alive with a King or an 8, a total of 6 outs out of 42 cards left.
K♥ K♣ A♠ 10♦ 9♠ A♠ Q♠ J♦ 10♦ 9♠

Michael's charity, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, gets $5000... but Matthew Perry avenged his horrible play six months ago and will take the "illustrious" silver chip that signifies a Final Table participant.  The Lili Claire Foundation will be crossing its fingers when Matthew joins the Final Table for a shot at $100,000!