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Poker Royale
The WPPA Championship
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The WPT gave out $2.7 million, the WSoP $5 million... but the WPPA is giving out TEN million dollars to a lucky poker player and an even luckier viewer... if they can win ONE poker hand. It's Poker Royale, the WPPA Championship on GSN!

Recaps by Chris Wolvie, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Kevin Nealon
Analyst:
Evelyn Ng

Commentator:
Susan N. Freeman
EP: Jeff Mirkin, Jim Coane, John Faratzis, Gary Garcia
Packager: Coane Productions, Jeff Mirkin Productions, Last Word Productions for GSN Originals
Airs: Tuesdays at 9:00pm ET on GSN


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No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. No challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

It seems every cable network and their sister (station) has a gambling show on this days. Well, after holding the monopoly on blackjack shows, GSN has decided to join the crowd and host the World Poker Players Association Championship. At the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Vegas, 72 players put up $5000 each to play a no-limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament. We pick up the action with the final two tables. 18 players are left to battle it out for a first-place prize of $125,420.

But there's a TWIST to this tournament. The winner of the tournament will not only walk away with the WPPA Title... but will then have a chance to split $10 million with a lucky viewer by playing one more hand!

Your host is recent Celebrity Poker Showdown Finalist and Saturday Night Live alumnus Kevin Nealon. Your "poker expert" for this ep is the lovely and talented Evelyn Ng.

Now, unlike my lengthy recaps of the WPT and CPS, since this show shows all hands but not all bets, I am forced to just recap the key hands through commentary. We start with the chip count for the main televised table:

 
CHIP COUNT - MAIN TABLE
Carlos Mortensen
89,850
Paul Wolfe
54,500
Chau Giang
42,700
Jim Meehan
34,900
Kathy Leibert
14,900
John Esposito
10,300
Avery Cardoza
8750
Ed Pellergrini
5500
Terry Myers
3200

Let's shuffle up and deal as we go to the main table of nine players!

Cardoza Esposito
A? Q? 4? 4?
Esposito goes all-in with his "sailboats" against Cardoza's Big Chick. Cardoza calls the all-in by going all-in himself. It's a virtual coin flip with 18,550 chips up for grabs.
FLOP: 2? 3? Q?
The Flop goes to Cardoza's favor, getting a pair of Queens. He's 89% to win now. Esposito needs a four to knock Cardoza out.
TURN: 7?
RIVER: K?
Q? Q? K? 7? A? 4? 4? K? Q? 7?
WIN 18,550  

 

Giang Esposito
Q? Q? A? 8?
Esposito, feeling cocky, goes all-in again. But Giang not only calls but his "Seigfreid & Roy" is a 68% fave. Only 5000 chips in the center this time.
FLOP: 10? 6? 10?
That all but shuts the door on Esposito. He's in DIRE need of an Ace as an 82% underdog.
TURN: 6?
This helps. Esposito has a flush draw. Any diamond except the Queen wins it for him.
RIVER: 9?
Q? Q? 10? 10? 9? 10? 10? 6? 6? A?
WIN 5000 OUT - 18th Place

At least he gets to talk with sideline commentator Susan Freeman, though he wishes he didn't have to talk to her QUITE so soon. Back to the table...

Mortensen
Giang
Wolfe
A? 10? Q? Q?
J? 7?
Mortensen raises 1500 with his "blackjack"...but Giang has ANOTHER pair of Queens. Wolfe says, "I'll call Giang, who called you (Mortensen)." Giang is 59% to win.
FLOP: J? J? Q?
BOAT! Giang has a full house! He's a 95% fave! Wolfe has three Jacks and Mortensen has a straight draw. Mortensen leads out with 3000... Giang calls...and Wolfe raises to 8000. Mortensen folds...and Giang calls.
TURN: J?
ZOIKS! Wolfe had only a 4% chance of hitting that Jack...and he DOES! He has four Jacks, which beats Giang's boat! Wolfe bets 10,000...and Giang calls. Only the fourth Queen can save Giang now.
RIVER: 6?
Giang is dead...but HOW can you muck a full house?! He checks to Wolfe...who puts Giang all-in. "You've got to be kidding," Giang says. After muttering all the possibilities out loud to himself and standing up, he figures he can only lose to a Jack... and he calls!
 
Q? Q? Q? J? J?
J? J? J? J? Q?
 
OUT - 17th Place
WIN 91,650

 

Paul Wolfe
130,325
CHIP COUNT - MAIN TABLE
Carlos Mortensen
74,825
Jim Meehan
45,700
Kathy Leibert
18,600
Avery Cardoza
16,550
Terry Myers
5500
Ed Pellergrini
3200

Giang is shocked at the bad beat he took...but he shrugs it off and says, "That's poker."

Meanwhile, on the outer table,...:

Jones Hansen
A? J? A? K?
COMMUNITY: J? 8? Q? 10? 3?
...Jesse Jones, one of the founding members of the WPPA, went all-in with the nut flush, trying to force poker vet Thor Hansen out. Hansen has "Broadway" (ace-high straight). However, Hansen, being as experienced as he is, mucks his hand.

As a tornament whittles down players, players from outer tables move to inner tables to even things out until a Final Table is determined. In this case, David Troung has moved to the seat once occupied by Chau Giang.

Troung Myers
5? 5? 10? 10?
Well, ain't THIS interesting. Troung rasies with his "speed limit" and runs right into an all-in raise by Myers with his "tension". Troung is getting decent "pot odds" for his stack... so he calls. When they flip the cards over, Troung knows he's an 81% underdog.
FLOP: 3? 8? 7?
TURN: 5?
There we go! Troung has "15 miles of bad road". Myers needs a 10 to make 30 miles or he'll be taking a long walk home.
RIVER: K?
5? 5? 5? K? 8? 10? 10? K? 8? 7?
WIN 11,100 OUT - 16th Place

Terry Myers talks with Susan and, like Giang, shrugs it off. He had been short-stacked so...he HAD to run with what he had.

Paul Wolfe
125,425
CHIP COUNT - MAIN TABLE
David Troung 81,125
Carlos Mortensen
78,700
Kathy Leibert
42,500
Avery Cardoza
13,400
Jim Meehan
12,200
Ed Pellergrini
1300

OK, let's get a REAL hand going here!

Leibert
Wolfe
Mortensen
Meehan
2? 2?
9? 8?
A? 10?
A? Q?
26%
27%
17%
30%
Now THAT'S what I'm talking about! "Ducks", "blackjack", "Big Chick" and...connectors in the same hand, each with a decent chance of winning.
FLOP: 2? 9? 9?
75%
23%
1%
1%
BOAT! Leibert has the full house now...but we ALL know that it's not safe. Wolfe has three nines...and a fourth CAN beat it! They check around to Mortensen, who (for some reason) bets 1500. Wolfe calls, Meehan folds and Leibert calls.
76%
23%
1%
 
TURN: 6?
83%
17%
DEAD!
 
Mortensen can't shake the temptation to bet...and he does with 6000. Wolfe calls...and Leibert, one of the best female players in the world, raises to all-in! Mortensen finally folds...and Wolfe calls. He needs the final 9 (for "quads") an 8 or a 6 (to make a better full house) to knock Leibert out.
RIVER: 3?
2? 2? 2? 9? 9?
9? 9? 9? 8? 2?
   
WIN 42,550
     

Meanwhile, back in the outer table...:

Horton Van Alstyne
A? A? 10? 10?
FLOP: 9? 8? J?
...Dennis Horton went all-in with the best starting hand in Hold 'Em. Little does he realize, though, that Kevin Val Alstyne has a straight draw. Van Alstyne calls...
TURN: Q?
 
...and, bada-bing! He gets the straight! Horton's only shot is to get a King to put a straight on the Board and split the pot.
RIVER: 3?
A? A? Q? J? 9? Q? J? 10? 9? 8?
OUT - 15th Place WIN

Back to the main table:

Mortensen
Pellegrini
Leibert
Q? J? A? K?
4? 4?
Mortensen raises just a little with his hand. But Pellegrini, who designed the WPPA Championship bracelet, goes all-in with "Big Slick". Leibert calls as does Mortensen. This means that a side pot is created between Leibert and Mortensen. Pelligrini is the fave, though not by much.
FLOP: 7? 9? 8?
Mortensen is a little better with a "gut-buster straight draw." But it's checks all around between the two.
TURN: 6?
Straight draw on the Board now. But, again, it goes check-check.
RIVER: 10?
That puts a straight on the Board...but it ALSO gives Mortensen a HIGHER straight! Leibert checks...and Mortensen bets 3000. After pondering, Leibert folds. Mortensen gets the 3000 back and rakes in the main pot as well.
Q? J? 10? 9? 8?< /strong>
10? 9? 8? 7? 6?
 
WIN 7400
OUT - 14th Place
 

At least Ed Pelligrini can take pride in the fact that his bracelet will be worn by some OTHER player. Take me to your leader...board:

Paul Wolfe
123,700
Carlos Mortensen
79,450
CHIP COUNT - MAIN TABLE
David Troung 69,300
Kathy Leibert
17,500
Avery Cardoza
13,125
Jim Meehan
8950

 

Meehan Cardoza
6? 6? A? J?
About time "Minneapolis" Meehan gets a good hand. He's a SLIGHT fave over Cardoza's "Ajax" and Cardoza just calls.
FLOP: J? J? 3?
Whoops. Cardoza has "trips" now and is a MONSTER fave. Meehan goes all-in and is QUICKLY called. Minneapolis HAS to get the last 6 (one was folded) to stay alive.
TURN: 5?
RIVER: 3?
J? J? 6? 6? 5? J? J? J? 3? 3?
OUT - 13th Place WIN 11,100

During the commercial break, Dan Heimiller bombed on an all-in bet and departed in 12th place. Only one more must fall to have a Final Table.

Mortensen Truong
6? 4? A? J?
Mortensen picked a BAD time to try and bully out the Big Blind. Truong re-raises to 6000. Mortensen calls, hoping to see a Flop he likes and Truong does not. He's 61% to lose.
FLOP: 5? J? 10?
Truong has jumped to a 94% fave with a pair. When Mortensen checks, Truong bets 12,000. Mortensen, hoping to steal the pot later on, calls.
TURN: 8?
A few more outs for Mortensen: a 7 will give him a straight. He checks and Truong, who is 25 but was carded because he looks so young (I can sadly relate), bets 22,000. Mortensen raises another 22 Gs, bluffing that he has a flush. After some thought, Truong calls. The pot is over 125,000 now.
RIVER: 7?
Holy @#$%! It was a 9% chance, but the 2001 WSoP Champ gets his straight! He checks yet again, worried about a flush. But he knows he has it locked when Truong checks as well. Mortensen has won the biggest pot of the tournament so far.
8? 7? 6? ! 5? 4? J? J? A? 10? 8?
WIN 127,150  

 

Carlos Mortensen
151,425
Paul Wolfe
140,650
CHIP COUNT - MAIN TABLE
David Troung 32,850
Kathy Leibert
32,350
Avery Cardoza
20,925

 

Liebert Mortensen
A? 2? 10? 9?
Liebert raises to 3000 with her "Acey-Deucey". Everyone folds to Mortensen, who calls with his "suited connectors". Liebert's 5-to-4 to win .
FLOP: 6? 6? A?
Liebert flopped two pair. She slow-plays and checks. Mortensen bets 3000, representing an Ace. But Leibert calls with HER Ace.
TURN: K?
Both Liebert and Mortensen now has a flush draw...but Liebert would have the nuts if another club appears so Mortensen is drawing dead. Liebert checks and, oddly enough, so does Mortensen.
RIVER: 5?
Both have flushes. Liebert bets 7000...and Mortensen goes all-in. Liebert's not sure she HAS the best hand, what with a 2 to go with her Ace. After pondering and pondering, she calls and goes all-in herself...meaning she doubles-up.
A? K? 6? 5? 2? K? 10? 9? 6? 5?
WIN 127,150  

Cardoza is the short stack right now...let's see if he can stay in the hunt for that $10 million:

Cardoza Wolfe
A? 6? 10? 10?
Cardoza calls the Big Blind, but Wolfe, with his "tension", raises to 8000. Pot-committed as he is, Cardoza has no choice but to go all-in...and pray Wolfe folds. But Wolfe calls, meaning Cardoza (a 72% "dog") is praying for an Ace.
FLOP: 4? K? 6?
Wolfe's up 4-to-1 now. Cardoza can win with another 6.
TURN: 5?
No help; Cardoza's down to an 11% chance.
RIVER: 7?
6? 6? A? K? 7?</ strong> 10? 10? K? 7? 6?</! strong>
OUT - 11th Place WIN 49,600

And, with that, the Final Table is set:

Paul Wolfe
161,575
Carlos Mortensen
118,075
CHIP COUNT - FINAL TABLE
Bill Carroll 105,225
Yohanes Muruz
71,925
Kathy Leibert
65,100
James Van Alstyne
57,225
Jesse Jones
52,500
Lee Markholt
50,300
David Troung
32,500
Avery Cardoza
4525

These ten will play against each other for the eighth-of-a-million promised prize and a shot at $10 million!

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