CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN
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Take one part WPT, mix with twenty-five parts celebrity editions of any game show and reality show you can think of... and you get Celebrity Poker Showdown, a six-part elimination tournament to decide who is the best home-game poker player in Hollywood and win part of a $250,000 prize pool. And it's all for charity, of course.

Recaps by Chris Wolvie, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Hosts:
Dave Foley and Phil Gordon
EP: Joshua Malina, Marcia Mule, Andrew Hill Newman, Bryan Scott
Packager: Bravo
Airs: Thursdays at 9:00pm ET on Bravo


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

What's a "dealer button"?  What's "all-in"?  What the heck is this weird poker game they're playing?  Well, I'll do my best to give the rookies out there a run-down while maintaining the flow of the hands for the veterans.


25 celebrities from all walks of fame have descended on the Palms casino in Vegas to play in a unique No-Limit Texas Hold-Em poker tournament for charity.  It's 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 piece of the $250,000 prize pool for his/her charity.

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

CELEBRITY BIO

Ben Affleck
playing for A-T Children's Project 
Really, if you don't know who Ben Affleck is, you've been missing out.  He's an actor, a director and an Academy Award winning co-writer of "Good Will Hunting".  Will he pick up a killer "Paycheck" this time for his charity?

Don Cheadle
playing for Canyon Charter School
Aside from "Traffic" and "The Rat Pack", Cheadle plays the African-British explosives expert in one of my favorite films, the 2001 remake of "Ocean's 11".  Will it be a "blinder" performance, or will he be "in Barney"?

Willie Garson
playing for the Children's Hospital of Denver
Garson's best known as the romantically-challenged Stanford Blatch on HBO's Sex and the City, but was also recently in the remake of "Freaky Friday".  Will this be a Terrific Tuesday for him?

Emily Procter
playing for the Cure Autism Now Foundation
After two seasons on West Wing, Procter went to greener pastures and sunnier weather, becoming Calleigh Duquesne on CSI: Miami.  Can she investigate the others well enough to come out victorious?

David Schwimmer
playing for The Rape Foundation
If you don't know who David Schwimmer is, then you're no friend of Friends, the show he's been playing Ross Geller on for the last ten years.  Will "Ross" be Boss of the table, or will this be "The One With An Early Exit By Schwimmer"?

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.

The game is No Limit Texas Hold 'Em, often called the "Cadillac of Poker".  A dealer button will be passed around the table after each hand to show the dealer where to start handing out cards (to the right of the button).  The two players to the right of the button post blinds, forced bets to insure there's money in each hand.  Each player is dealt two cards face down, then will either call the highest bet, raise the bet or fold their cards and remove themselves from the hand.  After the best are in, three cars are dealt face-up on the table.  These three cards, called the flop, are community cards which can be used by anybody.  After another round of betting (and/or folding), a fourth card is turned up, called the turn.  More bets (and/or folds) are made, then the fifth and final community card, the river, is turned up.  After more bets/folds, the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.  The game is called no limit because, at any time, any celebrity can go all-in and bet all their chips.  But, if they LOSE the hand they go all-in with, they're eliminated from the tournament

At the announcers' position beside the Losers' Lounge are your hosts Kevin Pollack and poker expert (and WPT regular) Phil Gordon.  They'll be calling the action emanating from the main room.

All right, enough of this.  Let's SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL!

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

Willie Emily Don (D) Ben (SB) David (BB)
7? 4? A? Q?  K? 9? ???? A? 10?
FOLD Raise to $400 Calls $400 FOLD Raise to $900
  Call $500 Calls $500   
FLOP: 6? 5? 7?
David has a "nut-flush draw", meaning another diamond would give him the best-possible (ace-high) flush.  Don would get a flush with another diamond as well, but David's would be higher.  Don ALSO has a "straight draw"; he needs an 8 to make a 9-high straight.

 David, being the first one after the dealer button who's still in, bets first --->

 Bet $500
  FOLD Raise to $1,000   Calls $500
TURN: 8?  
Don has a straight, but David can still win with any diamond.
CHECK
Bets $1,000 Calls $1,000
RIVER: 6?
COMMUNITY: 6? 6? 8? 7? 5?
CHECK
Bets $1,000 Calls $1,000
9? 8? 6? 7? 5?    6? 6? A? 10?8?
WIN $8,800

 

Willie Emily Don (D) Ben (SB) David (BB)
2? 8? 10? 5?  7? 5? A? K? 10? 9?
FOLD FOLD Calls $200 Raise to $1,000 Calls $800
  Calls $800   
FLOP: 3? 4? J?
Another "flush draw" for David...and another "straight draw" for Don

Ben is first to act this time --->

Bets $500 Calls $500
Calls $500  
TURN: 6?
Don has his straight again, but David can still win with any heart.
CHECK CHECK
Bets $1,500 FOLD Calls $1,500
RIVER: Q?
COMMUNITY: Q? J? 6? 4? 3?
David got the flush this time!
CHECK
Bets $2,000 Calls $2,000
7? 6? 5? 4? 3?    Q? 10? 9? 4? 3?
WIN $11,500
David checked because he felt that Don had a strong hand and would bet big.  This is sometimes called "slow-rolling your opponent", feigning weakness to get paid off big.

CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Ben Affleck $14,500
David Schwimmer $14,400
Willie Garson $12,400
Don Cheadle $6,200
Emily Procter $2,500

Blinds are now $200 (SB) and $400 (BB).  Blinds get higher and higher during the tournament.

David Willie Emily (D) Don (SB) Ben (BB)
A? 10? ????? ????? 5? 4? K? 4?
Calls $400 FOLD FOLD Calls $200 CHECK
 Ben didn't have to add any more money to the pot since David and Don both called his "big blind" bet.  Don put in $200 because the "small blind" is one-half of the "big blind" 
FLOP: 3? Q? 2?
Kevin: "Men's Warehouse: three suits, no waiting"

CHECK CHECK
CHECK  
TURN: 5?
CHECK Bets $1,000
Calls $1,000 Calls $1,000
RIVER: A?
COMMUNITY: A? Q? 5? 3? 2?
CHECK Bets $3,000
Calls $3,000 Calls $3,000
A? A? Q? 10? 5?   5? 4? 3? 2? A? 5? 4? 3? 2? A?
WIN $6,600 WIN $6,600
Both Don and Ben had "wheels", or five-high straights (ace can count as a low cards in straights).  So the two split the pot evenly.

 

Willie Emily Don (D) Ben (SB) David (BB)
Q? 10? ????? ????? 7? 7? A? A?
Raises to $1,000 FOLD FOLD Calls $800 Raises to $4,000
Calls $3,000 FOLD
FLOP: A? 7? 5?
David started with the best-possible hole cards in Hold 'Em: "pocket rockets" (or "American Airlines" or any number of other nicknames).  He has increased that with the third Ace.  Ben WOULD have had three sevens.  Willie, has a flush draw, which can beat three-of-a-kind hands down.

Bets $3,000
ALL-IN
$8,400
  ALL-IN
$4,500
Since David had less chips than Willie, Willie's bet is lowered to cover David's "all in".  If Willie loses, he'll still be in the tournament.  If David loses, however, he's out!
TURN: J?
Willie made his nut flush, but David can STILL win with the fourth ace for four-of-a-kind, or with a Jack, 7 or 5 for a full house.
RIVER: 3?
A? Q? J? 10? 7?  A? A? A? J? 7? 
WIN $21,000 OUT

So David joins Kevin in the Losers' Lounge.  Kevin was laughing when Willie went all-in, but David seems not to be overly-effected by being eliminated.  Still, The Rape Foundation DOES get $5,000 for David's participation.  David can now watch and make fun of the other players in the comfort of the Lounge.

But let's not dwell on the past.  Let's get back to the action:

Emily Don (D) Ben (SB) Willie (BB)
A? 5? A? 2? ????? J? 9?
Calls $400 Raises to $800 FOLD Calls $400
Calls $400  
FLOP: 2? 4? 7?
Don has a better flush draw than Willie.  Emily has a "wheel draw".
  Bets $800
Calls $800 Calls $800  
TURN: 8?
Willie now also has a straight draw, needing the 10.  This is also called a "gut buster straight draw" or an "inside straight draw".
  CHECK
CHECK CHECK  
RIVER: 4?
COMMUNITY: 4? 4? 2? 7? 8?  
  CHECK
ALL-IN
$900
FOLD   FOLD
WIN $5,900      
Emily sensed the weakness of the table and bluffed.  She had the fours on the table with an Ace kicker (tie-breaking card), but he got Don to lay down his two pair (4s and 2s).

CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Willie Garson $24,700
Ben Affleck $14,200
Don Cheadle $5,900
Emily Procter $5,200

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

Ben Willie (D) Emily (SB) Don (BB)
8? 6? 2? 2? ????? 10? 10?
FOLD Raises to $1,200 FOLD ALL-IN
$5,900
Don: David, you may have a playmate.
David (in the Lounge): C'mon, Don!  Take Willie down!
  Calls $4,700  
David: I lost to a guy who calls with a pair of twos?!
FLOP: 3? A? K?
TURN: 5?
RIVER: A?
A? A? 10? 10? K?     A? A? 2? 2? K?  
WIN $12,100      
Willie was saying "quackity quack" as the river card was drawn because he wanted a third 2...and dueces are usually referred to as "ducks".

Blinds have gone up to $400 (SB) and $800 (BB).

Ben Willie (D) Emily(SB) Don(BB)
9? 2? 10? 9? 3? 3? 5? 4?
FOLD Raises to $1,200 Calls $800 Calls $400
FLOP: A? J? 2?
Don has a "wheel draw", but Emily has the best hand so far with her "crabs" (common slang for 3s).
  CHECK CHECK
  Bets $1,500 Calls $1,500  Calls $1,500 
TURN: Q?
Willie now has an "open-ended" straight draw, meaning either a King or an 8 would make a high straight. 
  CHECK CHECK
CHECK    
RIVER: 8?
COMMUNITY: A? Q? J? 8? 2?  
  CHECK CHECK
  Bets $1,600 ALL-IN
$1,600
FOLD
  Q? J? 10? 9? 8? 3? 3? A? Q? J?  
  WIN $11,300 OUT  
Willie knew exactly how much Emily had left and bet exactly that much.  Pro poker players call this "tapping" your opponent.

Emily joins David and Kevin in the Losers' Lounge.  She admits to making a few mistakes, but is a little happy that she wasn't the FIRST one out.  She knew she didn't have good cards and that she was never in position to bet.  She sits next to David to heckle the other three.  Cure Autism Now gets five "large" for her effort.

Ben (D) Willie (SB) Don (BB)
J? K? K? 5? ?????
Raise to $3,000 Calls $2,600 FOLD
FLOP: J? 6? 9?
    CHECK
ALL-IN
$10,500
 FOLD  
WIN $17,300  
A pair of jacks may not LOOK like much, but it's a good hand on the flop with just three players.  Ben was a big favorite to win if Willie had stayed in.

 


CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Willie Garson $26,600
Ben Affleck $19,100
Don Cheadle $4,300

 

Don (D) Ben (SB) Willie (BB)
A? 7? K? 5? K? Q?
Calls $800 FOLD Raises to $4,300
ALL-IN
$4,300
 
FLOP: 5? 10? 9?
Another straight draw for Willie; he needs a Jack.
TURN: J?
At this point, Don is "drawing dead".  No card left in the deck can help him.  Even an 8 wouldn't give him a higher straight than Willie's
RIVER: 8?
J? 10? 9? 8? 7?   K? Q? J? 10? 9?
 OUT   WIN $9,000

Don, the third one to be KOed by Willie, joins up with David, Emily and Kevin in the Lounge.  Emily calls Willie "Prince of Darkness."  Don had a great time and Canyon Charter School get 5Gs for the effort.  Now it's down to heads-up action between the writer/producer and the cable TV actor!

CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Willie Garson $30,600
Ben Affleck $19,400

 

Ben (SB) Willie (D) (BB)
Q? Q? Q? 8?
Raises to $4,000 Calls $4,000
Even in "heads-up", there are still blinds to post.  The dealer posts the big blind and the other posts the Small Blind.
FLOP: 6? 7? 2?  
  CHECK
ALL-IN
$15,400
Calls $15,400
Willie obviously wants to end this here and now...but he has nothing that can help that.  The only thing that beat Ben are two 8s, two clubs or two running cards for a straight (like 9 and 10, or 9 and 5).
TURN: 6?
Nope...Willie's drawing dead now. 
RIVER: ??
Q? Q? 6? 6? 7? 6? 6? Q? 8? 7?
 WIN $38,800  
Ben has "doubled-up", meaning he won on an all-in bet and has, effectively, doubled his chip count.  He now has a 4-to-1 chip lead.

 Blinds are now up to $1,000 (SB) and $2,000 (BB).

Ben (SB) Willie (D) (BB)
A? Q?  9? 4?
Raises to $4,000 ALL-IN
$5,900
Calls $1,900  
Once again, Willie is a heavy underdog.  Three clubs will only give Ben the nut flush.
FLOP: 2? 7? 2?  
TURN: 4?
 So much for underdogs.  Willie has two pair and Ben needs a club, an Ace, a Queen or a 7 to win, a total of 14 "outs".
RIVER: 8?
2? 2? A? Q?  8? 4? 4? 2? 2? 9?
  WIN $10,400
This time, it's Willie that has "doubled-up"...but he's only gone from a 4-to-1 deficit to a 3-to-1 deficit in chips.

 


CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Willie Garson $34,200
Ben Affleck $15,800

Kevin: "OK, mano y mano...Ben..."Evil" Willie...LET'S GET IT ON!" ("Mano y mano" is Spanish for "hand and hand".  It SHOULD be "Cabeza a cabeza", or "head to head")

Willie (SB) Ben (D) (BB)
Q? 7? K? 5?
Raise to $4,000 Calls $4,000
Willie has what's called a "computer hand".  It comes from a myth that computerized poker simulators deal the Queen-seven combination more than any other hand.  This, of course, is hogwash.
FLOP: Q? 4? 5?
  Bets $4,000
Calls $4,000  
TURN: J?
  CHECK
ALL-IN
Bets $7,800
FOLD
WIN $23,800  

 

Ben (SB) Willie (D) (BB)
Q? 2? A? 7?
Raises to $7,000 Calls $7,000
Here, Willie notices that Ben raised to a strange number for him.  Things like that are usually "tells", or little things said or done at the table that tells other players (who can pick up on them) what they're feeling or what they have as hands.
FLOP: K? 8? 10?
  CHECK
CHECK  
Willie: Really?!  You little girl!
(This is ALSO a "tell"; acting strong to disguise that you have a weak hand)
TURN: 4?
  CHECK
CHECK  
RIVER: 3?
COMMUNITY: K? 10? 8? 4? 3?
Neither player even has a pair!  But Willie has ace-high and he seems sure that Ben doesn't have a pair, so-o-o-o-o...
  Bets $6,000
FOLD  
   WIN $20,000

 

Ben (SB) Willie (D) (BB)
A? 2? K? J?
Raises to $9,500 Raises to $14,200
ALL-IN
$14,200
 
Willie again notices that Ben raised to a "abritrary amount", a clear sign that Ben's "on tilt", or getting frustrated.  Ben may have an Ace to Willie's King, but the hand is still a toss-up. 
A Jack-King off-suit in the hole (like what Willie has) is sometimes called a "bachelor's hand"...because of the vulgar innuendo of the first three syllables (you figure it out yourself, sickos).
FLOP: 3? 7? 4?
TURN: J?
Willie made his pair.  Ben needs an Ace for a higher pair or a 5 for a wheel.
RIVER: 10?
A? J? 10? 7? 4? J? J? K? 10? 7?
OUT  WIN $28,400

And, so, while Ben's A-T Children's' Project gets $5,000, Willie Garson, who knocked out all four celebs one-by-one, receives the illustrious silver chip that signifies a Final Table participant.  His final words: "I couldn't believe that I got down so low that I just threw all caution to the wind!"  Kevin informs Willie, "You not only RODE Lady Luck...but, tonight, you slapped her behind!"

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