It's ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ack! CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN, the serious cash-money tournament that plays like Beverly Hills home games! We're on Season 5 and still going strong from the Palms Casino in Vegas. 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 Caddilac(TM) Prize Pool for his/her charity.

It's Everybody Loves Raymond night as the two big stars of the recently-ended series join a vet, an actress and a champion at tonight's table. And they are:


Brad Garrett
playing for the Dream Foundation
While doing some voice-acting work for Disney (he was Bloat in "Finding Nemo"), Brad spent ten years as cop Robert Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. Will the big brother get some love himself or will he make it "An Extremely Goofy" table?

Catherine O'Hara
playing for the Hollygrove Children & Family Services
This SCTV alumni has been in a LOT of movies since, like the first two "Home Alone" films, "Saving Christmas" and, most recently, "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events". Will she be terribly unfortunate or will she be "Best In Show"?

Ray Romano
playing for the Fund For Public Schools
The man, the myth, the guy who played the weirdo sports reporter Ray Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond for ten years. Will this "Ice Age" star get more love or is this the start of a meltdown?

Sara Rue
playing for the Ari Gottfried Foundation
Last time this Less Than Perfect star was on CPS, her play was...well, less than perfect. Will she do better "This Time Around" or will she be "Pearl Harbor"ed again?

Curt Shilling
playing for the SHADE Foundation of America
Even with a bloody ankle, Curt STILL found the strength to pitch the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series in 86 years! Even with a cast on the operated ankle, can he pitch a shutout or will he STRIKE out?

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!

Blinds start at $100 (SB) and $200 (BB). The Dealer Button (D) starts on Curt, meaning Brad posts the Small Blind, Catherine posts the Big Blind and Sara is first to act.

Sara Ray Curt (D) Brad (SB) Catherine (BB)
10♦ 4♥ K♠ 2♦ J♣ 6♣ 9♣ 2♣ ????
Brad could have just tossed in the $100 to see the Flop...but he didn't and, since Catherine was the only one left, she wins the blinds. She states, "It's much easier than I thought!"

Curt Brad Catherine (D) Sara (SB) Ray (BB)
Here, Ray promises to do a "Lambeau Leap" into the audience if he wins a big pot.
A♦ 5♥ A♥ 9♦ 10♦ 4♠ K♥ 2♥ 5♣ 2♣
Raises to $600 Raises to $1000 FOLD FOLD FOLD
Calls $400
27% 73%
Like last year, I'll post the chances of winning the hand at each point. NUTS! means the player has the best hand and DEAD! means the player's hand is just that: dead.
FLOP: 3♥ 9♥ 10♣
1% 99%
The only thing that Curt can get to save him is running hearts (a heart on both the Turn and the River).
Bets $1000 Raises to $2000
WIN $5300

Brad Garrett $12,200
Ray Romano $10,300
Catherine O'Hara $10,000
Sara Rue $9500
Curt Shilling $8000

Curt Brad Catherine (D) Sara (SB) Ray (BB)
A♦ 9♦ J♦ 5♥ A♠ J♥ 8♦ 7♠ K♠ Q♠
Raises to $600 FOLD Raises to $1200 FOLD FOLD
Calls $600
30% 62%
FLOP: 9♠ 7♣ 7♥
89% 11%
DOH! Had Sara stayed in, she'd've had the "slot machine" (7-7-7)! Curt leads with two pair.
Bets $2000 Calls $2000
TURN: 3♠
95% 5%
RIVER: 10♠
COMMUNITY: 7♣ 7♥ 10♠ 9♠ 3♠
9♦ 9♠ 7♣ 7♥ A♦ 7♣ 7♥ A♠ J♥ 10♠
WIN $6700

Hand 5

Ray Curt Brad (D) Catherine (SB) Sara (BB)
Q♠ 8♠ K♠ 7♦ K♦ 3♥ 9♦ 5♣ Q♣ 10♠
FOLD FOLD Raises to $1000 FOLD Calls $800
55% 44%
FLOP: J♣ 7♥ 9♠
56% 44%
Sara has an open-ended straight draw; a King or an 8 will make her a straight.
Bets $1500
Raises to $3000 Calls $1500
8% 92%
Sara now has "Seigfreid & Roy" (pair of Queens). Brad needs a 10 for a straight.
Bets $3000
WIN $11,100

Curt Brad Catherine (D) Sara (SB) Ray (BB)
7♠ 7♣ A♣ 5♥ J♥ 2♦ K♥ K♣ A♠ 6♠
Raises to $1000 Calls $1000 FOLD Raises to $2000 FOLD
Calls $1000 Calls $1000
Sara's "cowboys" are the second best hand in Hold 'Em behind Aces. So her raises is well justified.
20% 20% 59%
FLOP: 8♣ 3♦ 4♠
9% 25% 66%
Bets $4000
WIN $10,200
Brad had an inside straight draw, needing a 2. But Sara bet her Kings BIG and scared the two boys out.

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

Catherine Sara Ray (D) Curt (SB) Brad (BB)
A♠ 2♦ A♣ J♣ 6♠ 4♥ 10♣ 8♦ Q♦ J♦
Calls $400 Raises to $800 FOLD FOLD Raises to $1900
Raises to $3000 Calls $2200 ALL-IN
FOLD Calls $3200
67% 31%
When an audience member asked Brad why he went all-in, he claimed, "There are 40 other tables out there! This place blows!"
FLOP: 3♠ 2♣ 4♦
82% 15%
Sara has a one-card straight draw, needing a 5 for a "wheel"
TURN: 5♥
87% 0%
BANG! Sara has the "wheel"! Brad can't win...but he's not out yet!
COMMUNITY: A♥ 2♣ 3♠ 4♦ 5♥
And THAT's why! In Texas Hold 'Em, you play your best five cards out of seven. Thanks to the Board, Brad ALSO has a "wheel". Since they both have the same hand, Sara and Brad split the pot. And Brad can't be more elated at getting that 13% chance!
5♥ 4♦ 3♠ 2♣ A♣  5♥ 4♦ 3♠ 2♣ A♥
WIN $7800 WIN $7800

A hand or two later...
Sara Rue $22,200
Ray Romano $9600
Curt Shilling $8600
Brad Garrett $6600
Catherine O'Hara $3000

At this point, Ray expresses his dislike for the terms "Flop", "Turn" and "River". To this effect, he asks Robert Thompson to just call them "the first three cards", the "fourth card" and "the fifth card". Just for this hand, Thompson obliges.
Ray Curt Brad (D) Catherine (SB) Sara (BB)
7♣ 5♣ K♣ J♦ 10♣ 10♦ K♥ 3♥ A♠ 8♠
FOLD FOLD Raises to $1000 FOLD Calls $600
63% 37%
13% 87%
Hmmm...Sara flopped the top two pair.
Bets $4000
Calls $1600
16% 84%
Brad still has a few outs. A 9 would give him a straight...
...or a 10 would give him "30 miles of bad road"! And Sara REALLY has a "dead man's hand"!
10♣ 10♦ 10♥ A♣ J♥ A♠ A♣ 8♠ 8♥ J♥ 
WIN $13,400

Curt Brad Catherine (D) Sara (SB) Ray (BB)
10♦ 9♠ J♠ 2♠ 9♥ 5♣ 5♥ 3♥ J♦ 9♠
33% 50%
FLOP: J♣ 4♠ 3♠
47% 44%
Bets $1000
Raises to $2000 Calls $1000
TURN: 5♦
45% 55%
Bets $1000
Raises to $2000 Calls $1000
COMMUNITY: 3♠ 3♦ J♣ 5♦ 4♠ 
Bets $2000 Calls $2000
J♠ J♣ 3♠  3♦ 5♦ J♦ J♣ 3♠ 3♦ 9♠
WIN $13,000
Behold the awesome power of the "kicker". Both had Jacks and 3s, but Ray's fifth card was a 9, which beats Brad's 3. And, yes, Ray DOES do a "Lambeau Leap" into the crowd...specifically the part of the crowd with a number of cute girls in it.

Blinds are now $300 (SB) and $600 (BB).
Ray Curt Brad (D) Catherine (SB) Sara (BB)
K♣ 3♦ 5♥ 3♠ 10♦ 9♠ A♠ 8♠ Q♥ J♦
FOLD FOLD FOLD Calls $300 Raises to $2200
57% 42%
FLOP: 10♠ A♥ 4♦
83% 17%
92% 8%
Sara has several outs against the "Bang-bang-bang" (three "bullets"). A diamond that's not an 8 or a 10 gives her a flush while a King gives her "Broadway" (Ace-high straight).
A♠ A♥ A♦ 10♠ 8♠ A♥ A♦ Q♥ J♦ 10♠
WIN $4400

Another request from Ray is that the "Turn" now be called "Santa" and the "River" be called "The Chocolate Shop".
Curt Brad Catherine (D) Sara (SB) Ray (BB)
7♣ 2♥ 9♠ 8♣ 4♥ 3♣ Q♥ 6♣ K♥ 10♠
FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $1800 Calls $1200
34% 65%
FLOP: 3♠ 4♣ K♠
5% 95%
CHECK Bets $3000
WIN $6600

Ray Romano $17,700
Sara Rue $11,400
Curt Schilling $8600
Brad Garrett $7900
Catherine O'Hara $4400

Oh...and the "Flop", according to Ray, is now "Ricky"
Brad Catherine Sara (D) Ray (SB) Curt (BB)
5♥ 4♥ A♦ 8♦ 7♣ 4♣ K♠ 3♥ Q♠ J♠
FOLD Calls $600 FOLD Calls $300 CHECK
40% 24% 36%
"RICKY": 9♣ 8♣ 2♦
53% 11% 36%
Bets $2000 FOLD
Calls $2000
88% 12%
92% 8%
Bets $1800
After "seeing Santa", Ray "taps" Catherine, meaning he only bets enough to put her all-in. But Ray's in deep trouble. He needs a King as they go to the "Chocolate Shop"...
Like Veruca Salt, this hand was a "bad egg" for Ray. He shleps over to the same crowd he "leapt" into last time and gets condolences from the ladies.
8♦ 8♣ 2♦ 2♠ A♦ 2♦ 2♠ K♠  Q♥  9♣
WIN $9400

Blinds are now $400 (SB) and $800 (BB).

It's that time again! Time to play HOW WOULD YOU PLAY IT?! We'll only show you Sara's hand and tell you what the experts would do in a similar situation.
Ray Curt Brad (D) Catherine (SB) Sara (BB)
???? ???? ???? ???? A♣ 9♥
FOLD Raises to $2000 FOLD FOLD Calls $1200
Curt raises "you" (that is, Sara) while "you" have money in on the Big Blind. If "you" are CERTAIN "you" have the best hand, re-raise. If "you" think it's the worst hand, fold. If "you" are not sure, just call. And this is what Sara did.
FLOP: J♣ 2♠ A♠
"You" have flopped top pair, a decent hand when "heads-up" (one-on-one). Bet it.
Bets $3500
Calls $3500
Hmmm...Curt called. He's either on a flush draw...or has an Ace with a weak kicker.
THIS could be trouble. However, had Curt had Ace-face card, he probably would have raised instead of called. A modest bet would be good for "you".
Bets $3600
Upon revealing the cards, "you" find out that "you" were right! Curt had A♥ 8♦ and cannot win the hand. HOWEVER, a 10 or higher on the River will give both "you" and Curt a split pot.
59% 0%
RIVER: 10♠
Oooooooo. Both "you" and Curt have the same hand: Aces and Jacks with a 10 kicker. However, if you played it the way Sara did, you played it just right. It was just dumb luck that split the pot.
A♥ A♠ J♣ J♦ 10♠ A♣ A♠ J♣ J♦ 10♠
WIN $9800 WIN $9800

Curt Brad Catherine (D) Sara (SB) Ray (BB)
K♣ J♣ 10♠ 7♦ 6♦ 5♠ 6♥ 3♠ 9♥ 9♦
Raises to $2000 FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $3000
Calls $1000
52% 48%
FLOP: 10♣ Q♦ 9♠
65% 34%
ZOINKS! Ray flopped three nines... and Curt flopped a nut straight!
Ray's bet is lowered to match Curt's all-in. Ray needs for a card to "pair the Board" and give him either a full house or four nines.
TURN: 5♥
79% 21%
K♣ Q♦ J♣ 10♣ 9♠ 9♥ 9♦ 9♠ Q♦ 10♣
WIN $19,000
OUCH! That REALLY hurt Ray! But he says, "If I'm out first, I'm drinkin' and whorin' it up!" (Why not? What HAPPENS in Vegas STAYS in Vegas, right?)

Curt Schilling $18,200
Sara Rue $13,300
Catherine O'Hara $9000
Brad Garrett $7800
Ray Romano $1700

Dave and Phil decide to see just how "bad" being in the Losers' Lounge is. They relax on the couch like a couple watching TV (Phil leaning back against Dave's chest as they watch the TV of the main room action).
Sara Ray Curt (D) Brad (SB) Catherine (BB)
10♥ 6♥ 9♥ 6♠ A♦ 3♣ K♠ Q♠ K♣ 5♣
FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $2300 Calls $1500
67% 28%
FLOP: J♣ 10♠ 10♣
45% 43%
Bets $2000 FOLD
WIN $6600
Catherine may have played this hand too conservatively. After all, she WAS on a flush draw.

After Brad complains about not wanting to go into the Losers' Lounge first, Dave Foley comes out and tells them that HE's in there all the SHUSH!

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

Curt Brad Catherine (D) Sara (SB) Ray (BB)
10♥ 6♦ Q♠ 2♥ 8♣ 2♣ Q♣ 10♠ A♦ 5♦
FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $1600 ALL-IN
35% 65%
Ray goes all-in without even looking at his cards. This is the last desperate act of a short stack.. But, lo and behold, it's not that bad.
FLOP: 2♦ Q♥ 7♣
79% 21%
Oooo...Sara flopped top pair! But Ray still has a few outs.
TURN: 3♦
63% 37%
Now Ray has MORE outs. A 4 gets him a straight, any diamond will get him a flush... or any Ace will just give him a better pair. That's
Q♣ Q♥ 10♠ 2♦ 7♣ 3♦ 3♥ A♦ 5♦ 2♦ Q♥ 7♣ 3♦ 3♥
WIN $3200 OUT - 5th Place
And, with a couple of "San Francisco waiters" (Queens with treys), Sara knocks out Ray!

Before departing for the Lounge de Losers, he tells Brad that he HAS to win and not to be stupid! In fact, he even takes out a Yankees cap and puts it on Brad's head, as if mocking Curt right next to Brad. After one more "leap", he FINALLY retires to the Lounge. He and Dave agree that the straight beating his three 9s earlier is what really did him in. But, hey, at least the Fund For Public Schools get $5000 for Ray's troubles...and I'm sure they love him for that.

Sara Rue $24,900
Curt Shilling $13,800
Brad Garrett $6500
Catherine O'Hara $4800


Catherine Sara (D) Curt (SB) Brad (BB)
7♥ 2♦ A♣ K♣ A♠ 8♦ A♦ J♦
FOLD Raises to $4000 FOLD ALL-IN
Calls $2500
70% 26%
Brad screams to the Lounge, "Ray, save me a pillow!" But he also says, "Here come da Jacks!"
FLOP: J♠ J♣ 6♠
7% 93%
And "da Jacks" show up! ain't over yet. Two clubs (as long as one is not a 6) will make a flush that can beat three "hooks".
TURN: 7♣
20% 80%
There's one...
...but not the other.
J♠ J♣  A♣ K♣ 7♣ J♦ J♠ J♣ A♦ 7♣
WIN $13,500
Brad: "I'm channelling Phil Gordon!"

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

Curt Brad (D) Catherine (SB) Sara (BB)
10♦ 9♦ A♣ 4♠ Q♦ J♥ J♠ 8♣
FOLD Raises to $4000 ALL-IN
Calls $1700
Calls $3700
Catherine was all-in on the Small Blind. Since Sara called Brad's raise, a side pot is made that only those two can bet into and win. Catherine can only win from each player what she herself put in. Therefore, she has a $900 main pot to shoot for.
47% 32% 19%
FLOP: 3♠ 3♦ J♣
16% 48% 11%
Oooo...good Flop for Catherine. She has two pair with a Queen kicker. Sara likewise has two pair, but with a LOWER kicker. Brad...has a pair of threes.
$16,900 (Side)
Since Brad folded, Sara wins the side pot. Now Sara and Catherine turn their cards over to battle for the main pot...and Catherine's continued presence in the game. A Jack or a three would split the eight would give Sara the pot and Catherine the boot.
52% 12%
TURN: 5♥
68% 8%
  Q♦ Q♠ J♥ J♣ 5♥ J♠ J♣ 3♠ 3♦ Q♠
WIN $900 (Main) WIN $24,300 (Side)


Catherine Sara (D) Curt (SB) Brad (BB)
9♦ 4♠ K♦ 4♥ K♠ 4♣ 9♣ 6♣
Calls $1000
51% 48%
It's almost literally a toss-up.
FLOP: 2♦ 10♦ 6♠
11% 89%
Ut-oh. Brad's 6s make Curt an underdog. He needs a King to pull this one out.
TURN: 10♠
5% 95%
K♠ 4♣ 2♦ 10♦ 6♠ 10♠ J♦ 9♣ 6♣ 2♦ 10♦ 6♠ 10♠ J♦
OUT - 4th Place WIN $6000

Curt hops on his crutches and, to a standing "O", limps towards the Lounge. Dave jokes, "This isn't your year." As Curt sits down, Dave calls Brad the "luckiest man alive"...and Curt HAS to agree. At least the SHADE Foundation - a foundation to raise awareness of skin cancer and create shaded areas for playgrounds - gets $5000 for Curt's efforts. The pitcher's pissed...but he still had fun. And, most of all, he's GLAD that Ray went before him.

Brad Garrett $25,800
Sara Rue $23,300
Catherine O'Hara $900

Sara (D) Brad (SB) Catherine (BB)
10♥ 4♥ 9♥ 7♠ 10♣ 5♥
FOLD Drops to $900 ALL-IN
Catherine is all-in again on the Blind. Since Sara folded, Brad gets to take back $100 from HIS Blind to cover Catherine's bet.
46% 52%
FLOP: 8♦ Q♣ 5♣
36% 64%
SHE LIVES! But Brad has a LOT of outs still...not the least being a 6 to make a straight.
24% 76%
Q♣ Q♦ K♦ 9♥ 8♦ Q♣ Q♦ 5♣ 5♥ K♦
WIN $1800

Sara (D) Brad (SB) Catherine (BB)
A♥ 4♠ K♠ 3♣ K♣ 3♥
Raises to $4000 FOLD ALL-IN
Catherine is, again, all-in with the blind. Since Brad folded, Sara's bet is lowered to match Catherine's
74% 26%
FLOP: 8♠ 7♥ 3♠
32% 68%
Sara just canNOT catch a break! Catherine just flopped a pair. Sara looks to heaven and asks, "Why? Why are you doing this?! What did I do?!?"
TURN: 4♣
93% 7%
But Sara turned a HIGHER pair. Sara says, "I feel bad now." Only a King or a three can save Catherine.
4♠ 4♣ A♥  8♠ 7♥ 3♥ 3♠ K♣ 8♠ 7♥
WIN $4400 OUT - 3rd Place

Her luck finally running out, Catherine marches back to the Lounge to join Phil, Ray, Curt and her college classmate Dave. When Dave asks her why she stuck around for so long, she says that she feels like the American Idol girl who kept staying around though she shouldn't have. Well, Hollygrove Children & Family Services do get $5000 for Catherine sticking around that long.

But, now, it's HEADS-UP time between the CPS veteran and the so-called "luckiest man alive". The winner gets the silver chip, at least $7500 for his/her charity and a spot in the Final Table for up to $100,000. Let's SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL!

Sara Rue $28,100
Brad Garrett $21,900

Brad (D) (SB) Sara (BB)
A♦ Q♣ A♥ 3♦
Raises to $6000 Raises to $12,000
Calls $6000
Sara puts a chip on her cards. This is a common thing for players to do to prevent other players from seeing the cards. But Curt tells Phil that that's Sara's "tell", a little thing someone does that declares the strength of the hand...IF someone takes the time to notice. Curt says she puts a chip on the cards whenever she calls or raises. Phil didn't know that...and HE'S the pro!
70% 24%
FLOP: 9♣ 4♠ 6♣
83% 14%
Bets $5000
Calls $5000
Brad has less chips, so Sara's bet is lowered. Little did she know that she had already lost.
Q♣ Q♠ A♦  9♣ 6♣ 3♦ 3♠ A♥ Q♠ 9♣
WIN $43,800
Phil calls this the only mistake Sara's made most of the night. But it's a BIG one. Still, Phil reminds us that David Cross from Tournament 1 camne back from a mere $2000 and won his prelim table. ANYTHING can happen in No-Limit Hold 'Em.

Sara (D) (SB) Brad (BB)
9♣ 3♠ J♦ 8♦
Calls $4200
32% 67%
FLOP: 6♥ 4♥ 10♦
21% 79%
TURN: 4♦
9% 91%
This could be it. Sara needs a 9 or a 3 that's not a diamond to stay alive. Otherwise...
...Brad the Giant wins!
4♥ 4♦ 10♦ 9♣ 6♥ 4♥ 4♦ J♦ 10♦ 8♦

Sara's charity, the Ari Gottfried Foundation which helps the homeless, gets $5000... but, despite her VASTLY improved play, it's big Brad Garrett who avenges his buddy Ray and moves on to the Final Table! The Dream Foundation may get the largest piece of the Caddilac(TM) Prize Pool pie...if Brad is as lucky there as he was here!