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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

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

Copyright Statement

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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

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.

From the Palms Casino in downtown "Sin City", the Bravo TV network, in association with the National Broadcasting Company, presents the gambling stylings of Kevin Pollack and CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN. From the beautiful Gold Yellow Copper Steel Iron Auditorium of the Palms Casino in downtown Vegas, overlooking the uptown section of downtown Mustang Ranch. Stay with us, won't you, and enjoy the coolest poker this side of Binion's Horseshoe or the Bellagio.  Ah, there's laughter, concentration and gaiety at the Palms weekly.  Now, to get things underway, Kevin will introduce the five entertainers vying for the spot at the Final Table and the lion's share of the $250,000 prize pool for his/her charity.  These beautiful pictures and lovely lyrics portrayed vocally by Chris Wolvie.

And, guess what, folks?  It's West Wing night on Celebrity Poker Showdown!  All five competitors are on the long-running hit NBC drama series (the one whose reruns are played now on Bravo)!  Let's meet the cabinet:


Timothy Busfield
playing for Planned Parenthood Federation
Busfield plays Danny Concannon, a member of the White House Press Corps and writer for the Washington Post.  Will he make the others misquote and use it against them?

Allison Janney
playing for the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund
Janney plays C.J. Cregg, the White House Press Secretary.  She makes sure the Prez doesn't look bad.  But can she make the others look bad with her poker skills?

Richard Schiff
playing for the Weingart Center Association
Schiff's character is Toby Ziegler, the White House Director of Communications.  Will he telegraph his moves to everyone else, or will the others be left on the line?

Martin Sheen
playing for the San Carlos Foundation
Sing "Hail to the Chief"!  The father of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez plays U.S. President Jed Bartlett.  Will the Chief Executive veto his staff out of the title hunt?

John Spencer
playing for Professional Children's School
Spencer portrays President Bartlett's Chief of Staff, Leo Thomas McGarry.  He controls everyone else...except the Prez, of course.  Will he be able to control him and the others with the cards he's dealt?

Each celebrity will start with $10,000 worth of chips and the game will continue until one celebrity has all $50 thou. That player is then eligible for the Final Table later in the year.

They play No Limit Texas Hold 'Em, 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 bets are in, three community cards which can be used by anybody are dealt face-up on the table.  This is called the flop.  After another round of betting (and/or folding), a fourth card is turned up, called the turn or fourth street.  More bets (and/or folds) are made, then the fifth and final community card, the river or fifth street, 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 Phil Gordon.  They'll be calling the action emanating from the main room and great those that bust out.

After a little sťance by the five Wingers to channel their poker energy, it's time to SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL!

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

John Richard Martin (D) Allison (SB) Timothy (BB)
7? 5? ?????  A? 3? ???? A? 2?
Raise to $400 FOLD Calls $400 FOLD Calls $200
Timothy already had $200 in the pot on the Big Blind, so he only had to put up $200 more to call the raise by John.
FLOP: 10? K? A?

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

 Bet $400
Calls $400 Calls $400 Calls $500
To check means not to bet and to pass to the next player.  If all players check, they move on to the next card.
RIVER: 10?
COMMUNITY: 10? 10? A? K? Q?
Had someone had a Jack in the hole, he would've had an Ace-high straight, or "Broadway".
CHECK Bets $400 FOLD
WIN $2,900
Had Timothy stayed in, the pot would have been split.  Both had two pair, Aces and tens, with a King "kicker" or tie-breaker card.  Martin's 3 and Timothy's 2 would not have entered into it as it is only the best five-card hand that is counted.  If the pot HAD been split, Martin would have received $1,500 and Timothy $1,400.  Since the lowest chip value is $100, the extra $100 would've gone to the one nearest to the Dealer button.


Allison Timothy John (D) Richard (SB) Martin (BB)
K? Q? ?????  A? 4? K? Q? A? 5?
Raise to $500 FOLD Calls $500 Raises to $1,000 Calls $600
Calls $500 Calls $500
FLOP: 7? 6? 6?
Timothy had a six in the hole; he'd have had a "set of sixes", or three sixes, if he had stayed in.

Richard bets first this time --->

TURN: 9?
Martin is on a "gut-buster straight draw", meaning he needs an 8 on the river for a nine-high straight.
Phil Gordon says that the players are playing their cards and not the other players.  "You don't need two pair or 'trips' (three of a kind) to make a play at the pot," he says.  And, beings a No-Limit champion, Phil would know these things.
COMMUNITY: 6? 6? 9? 7? 2?
6? 6? K? Q? 9? 6? 6? A? 9? 7? 6? 6? K? Q? 9? 6? 6? A? 9? 7?
WIN $2,000 WIN $2,000
Again, since two players had the best five-card hand, they split the pot...this time evenly.


Richard Martin Allison (D) Timothy (SB) John (BB)
10? 4? K? 6? ????? 5? 5? ?????
Calls $200 Calls $200 FOLD Raises to $1,000 FOLD
Calls $800 Calls $800
Richard has a "CB" hand...as in "10-4, good buddy."  Timothy has the "speed limit" (55).
FLOP: K? 8? A?

Bets $1,000
FOLD Calls $1,000
COMMUNITY: A? K? J? 8? 5?
Timothy got the one card he needed to beat Martin; if an ace had come off, Martin would've had Aces and Kings to Timothy's Aces and fives. 
Martin has less chips than Timothy (barely).  Therefore, Timothy's bet is reduced to match Martin's all-in.
K? K? A? J? 8? 5? 5? 5? A? K?
OUT WIN $19,600

The "impeached" Martin shakes hands with Kevin.  Martin has lived up to his self-given nickname of "Longshot"...and it makes sense since this was his first time EVER in playing Texas Hold 'Em.  Martin had thought Timothy was bluffing so he HAD to call the all-in.  When Kevin tells Martin he had Timothy beat until the river card gave Timothy the three fives, Martin bawled a little.  San Carlos Foundation does walk away with $5,000 in any case.


Timothy Busfield $20,700
John Spencer $10,900
Richard Schiff $9,800
Allison Janney $8,600


Timothy John (D) Richard (SB) Allison (BB)
????? 6? 6? 8? 7? 10? 4?
FOLD Raises to $400 Calls $300 Calls $100
FLOP: 6? 7? 4?
John has the "devil's hand": 6-6-6.
  Bets $500 Raises to $1,500
  Calls $1,500 Calls $1,000  
TURN: 2?
  CHECK Bets $1,000
  Calls $1,000 Calls $1,000  
COMMUNITY: 6? 6? 7? 4? 2?
  Bets $1,500 Raises to $3,000
  Raises to $4,500 FOLD ALL-IN
  Calls $1,200    
  6? 6? 6? 6? 7?   6? 6? 4? 4? 10?
  WIN $21,600   OUT

Well, THAT was quick.  Allison joins Kevin and Martin in the Losers' Lounge.  Kevin says Allison can get "all liquored up now."  Allison asks, "Now?! I'm am already!"  She claims she was very nervous...and the one time she plays aggressive and fearless, she lost.  At least the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund gets 5 Gs for Allison's participation.  But enough of the funeral talk: let's get back to the live game with just three people left.

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

Timothy (D) John (SB) Richard (BB)
Q? 3? 10? 8? ?????
Raise to $1,000 Calls $800 FOLD
Allison: "Richard is so going to lose; he can't decide who he is."
Richard had removed his cap and sunglasses before folding.
FLOP: J? 9? 10?
Both Timothy and John have open-ended straight draws.  Timothy needs a King or an eight, John needs a Queen or a seven.  Timothy is also on a "flush draw", needing one more club to make a flush.
  Bets $1,000  
Raises to $4,000 Calls $3,000  
Timothy now has a "nut flush", or the best possible flush in the hand.
Bets $5,000 Calls $5,000  
COMMUNITY: A? K? J? 10? 9?
WIN $31,100  

At this point, Richard not only wear his cap like a rally cap, he dons THREE pairs of glasses, making him look...well, like a superstitious and/or non-serious poker player, really.

Timothy (D) John (SB) Richard (BB)
A? 7? K? 10? 10? 6?
Raise to $1,000 Calls $800 FOLD
FLOP: 8? 7? 10?
John flopped "top pair", meaning he's paired one of his hole cards with the highest-ranked card on the flop.  Timothy flopped "second pair" or "middle pair".
Raises to $2,000 Calls $2,000  
TURN: 5?
Timothy now has a flush draw in diamonds.
Bets $2,000 FOLD  
WIN $10,200  


Timothy Busfield $29,900
John Spencer $15,900
Richard Schiff $4,200


Richard (D) Timothy (SB) John (BB)
J? 9? ????? 9? 8?
FOLD Calls $3,800
Here, Allison comes back out and massages Richard's shoulders...not to mention his ego, I'm sure.
FLOP: 10? K? A?
John has a flush draw.  One more spade and Richard's history.
TURN: 6?
RIVER: 10?
10? 10? A? K? J?   10? 10? A? K? 9?
WIN $8,600  
Richard REALLY lucked out here.  Both ended up with a pair of tens with Ace and King kickers.  The fifth card in Richard's hand was the Jack, which won out over John's nine.  Richard has "doubled up", or won with an all-in bet and essentially doubled his money in one hand.


Timothy (D) John (SB) Richard (BB)
A? 3? 6? 7?   Q? 2?
Raise to $1,000 Calls $800 Calls $600
FLOP: 10? 6? J?
Bets $3,000 FOLD Calls $3,000
TURN: 5?
  WIN $13,600


Timothy (D) John (SB) Richard (BB)
K? J? 2?  9? ?????
Raise to $800 Calls $600 FOLD
FLOP: 3? 5? 8?
Bets $2,000 Calls $2,000  
TURN: 8?
Bets $4,000 Calls $4,000  
RIVER: 10?
COMMUNITY: 8? 8? 10? 5? 3?
8? 8? K? J? 10? 10? 9? 8? 5? 2?  
  WIN $14,000  

Timothy Busfield $19,300
John Spencer $17,100
Richard Schiff $13,600

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

John (D) Richard (SB) Timothy (BB)
A? 8? A? Q? K? 5?
Calls $600 Raises to $1,200 Calls $600
Calls $600  
FLOP: A? K? J?
  Bets $2,000 Raises to $4,000
Calls $4,000 Raises to $8,000 FOLD 
Calls $4,000  
Richard now borrows a fedora from the audience.
TURN: 6?
COMMUNITY: A? K? J? 6? 5?
Calls $4,400  
A? A? K? J? 8? A? A? K? Q? J?  
  WIN $32,400  


Timothy (D) John (SB) Richard (BB)
J? Q? A? A? 10? 4?
Raises to $1,200 Calls $900 Calls $600
Bullets, American Airlines, Pocket Rockets...whatever you call them, Aces "wired" (in the hole) is the best possible starting hand in Texas Hold 'Em.  And, yet, John just calls or "limps in" to feign weakness.
FLOP: 8? 5? J?
Bets $2,000 Calls $2,000 FOLD 
TURN: 7?
Bets $1,000 Calls $1,000  
COMMUNITY: J? 8? 7? 6? 5?
J? J? Q? 8? 7? A? A? J? 8? 7?  
  WIN $9,600  


John (D) Richard (SB) Timothy (BB)
10? 2? 6? 5? 3? 3?
FOLD Calls $300 CHECK
Timothy has "crabs".  No, not THAT kind, sickos!  Since a 3 turned sideways looks like a crab, "treys" in poker are called "crabs".  Since Timothy's are both red, you could say they're "COOKED crabs".
FLOP: 9? 7? 5?
COMMUNITY: J? J? 9? 7? 5?
  CHECK Bets $1,000
  Raises to $2,000 Calls $1,000
  J? J? 5? 5? 9? J? J? 3? 3? 9?
  WIN $5,200  
Richard won with "Motown"...Jacks 'n' fives.  Get it?!

Richard Schiff $37,600
Timothy Busfield $8,500
John Spencer $3,900


Richard (D) Timothy (SB) John (BB)
5? 6? Q? 2? 9? 8?
FOLD Raises $1,600 Calls $1,000
FLOP: 4? 8? 2? 
TURN: 6?
  CHECK Bets $1,000
Calls $2,300
  K? Q? 8? 6? 4? 8? 8? K? 9? 6?
  OUT WIN $7,800

Timothy went from first to worst in a hurry.  Martin and Allison are shocked when Timothy joins them and Kevin in the Losers' Lounge.  "I didn't play as well as I should have," Timothy says.  Ah, well, Planned Parenthood Federation gets $5,000.  But, now it's down to heads-up action between the Director of Communications and the Chief of Staff!

John (SB) Richard (D) (BB)
8? 6? ?????
   WIN $900
An audience member yelled, "FOLD!", even though that member had no idea what John was holding.  But John folded anyway, giving Richard the measly pot automatically.  Usually, in heads-up action, you WANT to stay in and see a flop, no matter how much it may cost.

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

John (SB) Richard (D) (BB)
5? 4? A? A?
Calls $400 Raises to $4,000
Calls $3,200  
FLOP: K? 5? 6?
Bets $8,400
Richard "tapped" John, meaning he bet exactly the same amount of chips John has left.
John is "drawing dead".  No card in the deck can beat the three Aces of Richard.
Nope...not even that third five.  That gave Richard a full house, Aces full of fives.
5? 5? 5? A? K? A? A? A? 5? 5?
OUT WIN $24,800

And, so, John's Professional Children's School gets $5,000.  But Richard Schiff becomes the second member of the illustrious Final Table and receives the non-collectible silver chip.  His words upon finding out he'd have to play again: "I don't want to PLAY again!"  But he's glad to help his charity get more that the $5,000 everyone else got.

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