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Clear the Table... - January 31

It's every casino executive's nightmare: Some senior on a group daytrip who's only here to see the show comes in and goes on a run akin to Bugs Bunny in that one cartoon where he found the gold nugget. For Todd Haushalter, his nightmare became a reality as 83-year-old O.G. Jerry Goldberg played Hold Em about as well as Norman Chad but was still knock him out of the King of Vegas and the $1,000,000 top prize. That leaves us with 2 sets of 5 gamblers (10 all told) and another set of games. We start the battle at Bally's with Blackjack with:

"Hollywood" Dave Stann (3:1, up from 4:1 last week)
Steve "Chainsaw" Dempsey (8:1, up from 10:1)
Brandon "Big Boy" Newsome (15:1, up from 30:1)
Jerry Goldberg (20:1, no change)
Katie Porrello (30:1, up from 40:1)

Blackjack is played just like Hit Me, so let's give these peeps 10K and let the cards fly. Stann in seat 5 starts out by singling out Chainsaw in seat 1. Chainsaw fires back both verbally and with a $2,000 bet. The words escalate as the hands start to form. Chainsaw 8; Katyie 11; Big Boy 21!; Jerry 12; and Stann 7; all vs. a dealer Ace. Katie wants Insurance, just in case........and she was right to buy. A dealer blackjack wipes the table clean.

We check the totes and see that Katie is $200 above the Mendoza Line thanks to that Insurance and currently claims the top spot. Big Boy is breaking even and has the 2nd and final Sitting Pretty Spot. Jerry has 9600, Hollywood has 9400, and Chainsaw's in the hole with 8,000.

Stann is still dishing it out and Chainsaw just keeps coming back. Stann pulls a Unibomber and pulls up his hoodie. As the hands form, we see Jerry with a 17, 15 for Stann, Snowmen for Chainsaw, 10 for Katie, and 18 for Big Boy, all against a Dealer 4. Dempsey splits his 8's to get 12's (what're the odds?) and stays. Katie doubles her 10 down to 12. Yikes!

All these 12's are depressing. We need a commercial break. When we return, we realize that everyone else stayed (thanks for nothing, guys) and the dealer has 14. The next draw is an Ace for 15, and then an 8. That's Too Much! Everybody wins, especially Katie and Chainsaw, who takes this opportunity to perform his signature move all up in Hollywood's grill. Obviously not satisfied with just that, Demspey then flips Stann off.

(ASIDE: I'm admittedly not a big fan of Dave and would like him to go ASAP, but compared to Dempsey, he looks like a saint. Whatever happened to etiquette at the table?! Sit down, you frikking moron!)

As a countermeasure, Stann tries to implore the crowd to use their heads like him when playing the casinos. Unfortunately, his not-as-bad-as-you-would-think advice falls on deaf ears. In the middle of all this, Katie's gettin' the vapors and so the jacket comes off ^__^ and then goes ALL-IN. Big Boy's done just about the same. Katie starts out with the Ace and the crowd's on pins and needles (not to mention Katie). Against a Queen, Chainsaw gets 14, and Katie gets her paint! Brandon gets 14, Jerry, 13, and Stann 15.

No blackjack, so we move to Dempsey who hits to 17 and stays. Katie gets her 3:2. Brandon hits to 15, then 25. Down he goes. Jerry hits to 17 and stays. Hollywood decides to surrender half his bet. The dealer had a 10. She also had a 7. Dempsey and Jerry push.

As we head into the final hand, Chainsaw's the only one in the black with $10,150. Katie's 3:2 All-in has her at 9800. Jerry's a c-note behind her. Stann has 8500, and Big Boy has to catch cards to build his 5600. Lucky for him, a 6-card Charlie pays 11:1.

Leader Katie bets the min to the amusement of Stann. Jerry's letting it ride, all-in. Porrello starts with 10. Soft 19 for Brandon, 20's for Jerry and Hollywood, and 15 for Chainsaw, all against a 6. Katie hits regularly to 19. That's good for her and Big Boy. Jerry can't split so he stays, but Hollywood CAN split and DOES! Hand 1: 16; he stays. Hand 2: Queens for 20. Dempsey wants to steal the bust card so he hits. Out comes a 9 and he's busted.

The dealer's 6 becomes paired with........a four! Uh ohes, that's 10, which becomes 16! Hollywood's on edge........trip 6's! Add that to a 4 means 22 and a dealer bust. Dave does it again. Brains conquer brawn and had Chainsaw stayed, the dealer would've had 6+4+9 for 19. Katie would've been safe, but Steve and Stann are the ones who Sit Pretty.

Porrello's angry that she might have been backstabbed, but she'll have to worry about that later. Much later in fact, because it's time for heat 2: Mini Baccarat. Here's who'll be going at it:

David Williams (4:1, up from 6:1)
Mike "the Mouth" Matusow (6:1, up from 8:1)
a bespectacled Evelyn Ng (10:1, up from 12:1)
Ken Einiger (15:1, way down from 2:1 at his specialty)
Alan Borman (20:1, up from 20:1)

Now how the heck do you play Mini Baccarat? Let's learn the house rules together: a player must choose one of three bets: Banker Hand, Player Hand, or tie. The dealer deals 2 community cards on each hand, which are added together. Higher sum wins, but only the ones digit of the total is used, which means that 5+7=2. Obviously, the high hand is a 9.

I think we have a vague grasp of what's going on so let's dish out the 10K rolls and start the cards, BUT we must mention that on the King of Vegas, a player that acts as a banker can go head to head against another player. I'm confused, but let's think of it as a Dare. Ken starts out All-In. Banker Alan decides to Dare the Young Gun. Evelyn, Mike, and Ken go with the Banker. The cards come out with 2 paints for the player and (1)1 for the Banker. Player draws a 2, Banker draws paint. David wins 2-1. Ken's out, David steals from Alan, and I'm still confused.

New hand: Mike is all-in, and Banker Alan wants a piece. David has 700 on Alan. Evelyn has 8 on the Mouth. Player starts out with Q-8! Banker has Blackjack, but only counts as 1. They're calling off the fight and Alan's out.

The tote's looking a little small, don't you think? Mike has $16,000, David has $9,700 and the lovely Evelyn Ng has 9600.

Mike's the banker this round and goes after David for $1500. Evelyn has $400 on the Mouth. Player starts with J+6. Banker has 4+3=7! Ng takes 2nd.

Another hand, please: Evelyn has banking duties, but David is All-in. Evelyn says, presumably to Mike "If I were you, I would bet 100." This causes controversy. David accuses his two opponents of collusion, which is an absolute no-no. Matt Savage (aka the nodding head) steps in and makes a decision. David's objection: overruled. Evelyn wants to go after Mike with $1,200. David decides to push his chips with her. (If they both win, David wins more.) Player gets Blackjack, Banker has paint. Player hits a 9, which totals 0. Banker's J-Q gets a K, which means a push.

One hand to go. Mike's pretty much locked, and David walks out?! WTF?! He obviously is on tilt because of the collusion ruling, but flipping the camera off?! He's admittedly in a bad spot as he'd be the banker, but if he walks out now, he's DQ'd and is off the show.

As the producers try to calm the smoking Young Gun, we check the totes. Mike has an impressive $18,300. Evelyn has 9200, and David has 7000.

David Williams, COME ON DOWN! He takes his seat knowing he's dead. Everyone's betting 100, but David symbolically goes after Evelyn. Mike wants nothing to do with anything and bets a tie. Player gets 8, Banker gets 0. It's all but academic, but David's done. Evelyn and Mike live to fight another week. In the interview, David explains his frustration, but looks like he has sufficiently calmed down.

We have 4 on the couch, but 6 on the hot seat. It's time for Roulette. If Episode 1 was any indication, this should be a ride. Everyone places chunks of their 10K, but Katie decides to take off her jacket ^__^ and goes All-in on red! David has 2K on odd and Big Boy has 300 on 00, just to be different. The wheel goes round and round......and stop on red! 20 grand for Katie!

Before the next spin, David goes all-in on Black! Ken Einiger counters all-in on Red! As an aside, Katie has 3,000 on the 3rd set of 12, and Brandon apparently is a sadist; he has 500 on green (the two zeros). This time the ball will fall into.....a black space. Ken's out, but a good time was had by all. Yay!

Let's check the totes: David skyrocket his funds to $28,200 and the lead. Alan's a "distant" second with $12,600. Big Boy has 84, Katie 77, and Jerry 75. Speaking of Jerry, he's all in on row 3! Katie's all-in on the 3rd 12! If they both win, hoo boy. David has 2K on red, incidentally. The ball spins and goes to........Red 1! Double Disaster for Katie and Jerry. They're out.

The next betting phase is a war of numbers, and a race against time. 0 hour and we've got controversy! Alan tries to counter Big Boy but verbally says he's on black, which commits him to that 18. Big Boy actually went all-in on the 2nd 12 and promises to dance if he wins..........13! Brandon gives us a little Texas Two-step while he TRIPLES UP.

With one spin to go, David has $34,200, which is about 2x Big Boy's stack of $17,400. That's about 2x Alan's stack of $9,200. (Weird) Brandon puts a K on red. Uh ohes. He bet too soon, so Alan can go all-in uncontested on even. David spreads the wealth, apparently $300 at a time, on number bets. Final spin............31! Alan's done. David actually called 31 and Brandon doesn't give a crap one way or another about color. They move on, and Alan fills out the Death Match Table.

It's worth noting that the two people who have survived Sudden Death already (Katie and Jerry) are sitting at the Death Match Table once more. What will this mean? Who knows, but Wayne Allyn Root still doesn't like Katie's chances, but he likes how she's been learning. I think Wayne is full of it, so let's dish out the 10K stacks, shuffle up, and deal.

Katie starts with 5-4 of diamonds; that's good for the $200 Big Blind. Ken has 10-6 of spades; good for 200. Alan has 6-9 off, but is in the small blind. He calls and Jerry checks with J-4 spades. Family Flop: 10-Q-A, 2 spades! Jerry has the nut flush draw, but Ken has 10's as well. Jerry bets 800. Katie's out, but Ken calls. Alan's out as well. As we head to the turn it's a 50:50 shot. Turn's a 3 of diamonds which gives Ken the 7:3 advantage. Jerry is in for 1200, and so is Ken. The river is another 3, but of SPADES! Jerry fished out the nuts and bets 2,000. Ken goes over the top All-in! Unfortunately for Jerry, he calls and shows Ken the bad news. Just like that, Ken's out to Sudden Death, and Jerry has the 20,000 needed to sit pretty.

Table clearing seems to be a theme tonight. In the span of one hand, we've gone from 4 players to 2. One more will sit pretty. Katie has J-9 and calls the 100 needed to complete the blind. Alan has pocket 3's and checks. Flop comes A-Q-9 with two diamonds. Katie gets top pair and a runner-runner flush possibility, but Alan start the action with $500. Katie raises to 700(?) and Alan puts in another 700.....that's the last time I pay attention to the on-screen graphics. The turn is a 7 of clubs, so it's just 9's vs 3's now. Two checks give us another 9 on the river. Katie nails a set. Katie bets supposedly 1200. Alan calls (it says he put in 1100) and gets a rude awakening.

Before I put my shoe through my roommate's TV, let's play another hand. Alan has J-10 and calls. Katie has 6's and raises. Alan calls. Flop: K-J-Q; money for Borman. Double check means a turn 10. Two pair for Alan, but there are 3 diamonds and an open-ended nut straight draw on the board. Katie checks, and Alan goes All-In. Katie CALLS with the short stack! Only a 6 will save her, but a 9 or Ace means a chop pot..........3! Not as such for Katie, as she heads back to Sudden Death to go against Ken.

Before we start, we award the Shick Quattro Poker Face of the Night to Ken Einiger. Spiffy. Now to SUDDEN DEATH. Blackjack maven Ken has 10-A of diamonds and goes ALL-IN! Katie has K-J. She wants none of that. $200 to Ken.

Later, we see Ken with K-J and he just calls. Katie has 5-J and checks. Flop: K-5-4, 2 diamonds. Money all around, but Ken has the Big Bucks. Katie bets 700. Ken raises to 22. Katie says enough and goes All-In. Ken calls with top pair. Katie needs 5's or running diamonds to stay in the tourney. Turn is an 8 of spades, so she's dead to a 5............FIVE! Katie Porrello sucks out to the tune of $19,800!

But it's not over yet. Ken has 2 chips and a chair. Obviously, he's all-in. He's got J of spades 4 of clubs. She's got 10-5 of spades. The flop's got 5-K-Q. Ken has three clubs while Katie has three spades and two 5's. Turn: 9 of spades. Ken needs a 10 for a straight, or a Jack for a pair, but that very Jack will give Katie a straight. In other words, it's 10 or bust............a jack! Ken doubles up? Are we playing Omaha?! I'm confused?!

It shouldn't matter, though. Katie folds the next hand. After that, 9-4 hearts and is all-in. Katie has K-6. She calls. Flop: J-8-J. Three hearts for Ken. Turn: 9. That's even better. River: 6. Ken's up to 4 grand.

New hand: Ken has Q-3 clubs. He's all in. Katie has A-6 and calls. Flop: 8-A-9. Katie gets Aces, but Ken has 4 clubs. Turn: another 4. River: 10.....of CLUBS! 8,000 for Ken.

Maybe it will matter. Katie has K-Q of diamonds and raises. Ken has pocket 9's and is All-in and gets the call. Flop: 4-Q-10. No diamonds, but Katie's got Queens. There's $16,000 on the line! Turn is a 2. Ken's dead to a 9...............three! Katie Porrello does it again, and Ken Einiger is left holding the bag.

Ken's out, which means there's 9 left to play next week. Until that day comes, I'll try to make sense of things and NOT GET ELIMINATED.


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