This week, “Poker Night in America” featured the second of multiple episodes filmed earlier this year at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. The player lineup was among the most eclectic and engaging of any cash game ever broadcast, with a mix of poker pros, celebrities, and highly accomplished experts in law and entertainment. However, an amatuer player appearing on television for the first time ended up winning the money and stealing the hearts of viewers.

Perhaps most obvious about this week’s lineup was the large number of female players in the game. Although not by intent, six of the nine seats were filled by ladies. To the chagrin of the four men who appeared on the program, they ended up doing quite well, indeed.

Host Chris Hanson opened the show by reminding the audience that the classic board game Monopoly was based on Atlantic City’s street names. The player lineup included —Jessica Dawley (poker pro), Richard Roeper (film critic and writer), Katie Stone (poker pro), Linda Kenney Baden (famous criminal defense attorney), Dan Shak (poker pro and investor), Jamie Kerstetter (poker pro and attorney), James Woods (film and television actor), Christine Pilcher (poker amateur and housewife), Wendeen Eolis (legal consultant and poker legend), and Steven McLoughlin (poker pro, foodie, and diletante).


Several hands were shown, with the most interesting being a huge showdown between Christine Pilcher and Jessica Dawley (with Wendeen Eolis in part of the way for good measure). The hand played out as follows..

Amazingly, seven players called the $200 raise to go and saw the flop, which came:

Ac 10d 2c

Three players hit the flop strongly:

Dawley: As 2s

Eolis: Ah Qc

Pilcher: Ad 10c

Dawley and Pilcher both flopped two pair, while Eolis flopped top pair with a solid kicker. Pilcher didn’t hesitate holding the best hand and bet out $500. Eolis called. Dawley, realizing her hand was strong, but also vulnerable, raised to $1,700. Pilcher moved all in for a total of $3,225. This made the decision easy for Eolis, who folded. Dawley, not nearly as certain before as when she raised went ahead and called the re-raise and watched the board run twice, which failed to improve her hand. Pilcher, who won her seat onto the show at the website 888poker for an investment of just $10, ended up dragging the $8,375 pot, and perhaps just as satisfying shined like a star on national television.

The show also featured conversations (off camera) with world-renowned criminal pathologist Dr. Michael Baden (Linda Kenney Baden’s husband) who jousted a bit with actor James Woods. Poker pro Shaun Deeb also stopped by the table and was jokingly miffed that he couldn’t get a seat.

The program concluded with another segment of “Poker Night in America” at the Movies, which featured a roundtable discussion of famous poker hands played in film and television. The hand discussed was one of the most famous and entertaining in movie history, which was from the 1973 classic, “The Sting,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The hand involved a stunning twist of fate for the cheater and villian, played by Robert Shaw, who gets out-cheated and out-witted by Newman while on a passenger train. The roundtable discussion was led by Chris Hanson, who was joined by actor James Woods, film critic Richard Roeper, and poker pro Ebony Kenney, who surprisingly had not seen the movie before, and loved it. The entire panel gave the scene their highest rating, both in terms of cinema and poker, reminding us once again why we love this film and poker scene more than 40 years later. Rightfully, “The Sting” won the Academy Award for Best Picture when it was released.

Biggest winners included three ladies — Jessica Dawley, Christine Pilcher, and Jamie Kerstetter. Not doing so well were a couple of guys named James Woods and Dan Shak.

During this week’s show, the first television commercial for the upcoming poker tournament the 2015 Rock n’ Roll Poker Open aired, which promotes “Poker Night in America’s” third stop at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL. The tournament dates have been announced and will run Nov. 19 through Dec. 2. “Ladies Night III” will also be filmed in early December at the Hard Rock, once the tournament concludes.

More episodes of action from Atlantic City are still to come. ‘Til next week..


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