This week’s broadcast of “Poker Night in America” featured the third of multiple episodes which were filmed earlier this year at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Picking a star standout from the player lineup would be next to impossible, but there’s little doubt Florida-based poker pro and 888poker-sponsored?Jessica Dawley enjoyed one of her best days ever on television, booking a win in excess of $15,000. ?This marked her fourth time to appear on the show.
Aside from Dawley’s dominance, this was one of the best conversational games we’ve shown. ?That was certainly to be expected with such an eclectic lineup which included poker pros Dawley — along with Katie Stone, Dan Shak, and Jamie Kerstetter — joined by noted film critic Richard Roeper, famous defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden, accomplished?actor James Woods, and poker legend/legal consultant Wendeen Eolis. ?The table was rounded out by newcomer and amateur Christine Pilcher, who surprised everyone by winning the biggest poker score of her life.
James Woods was absolutely in top form, at least when it came to entertaining us with storytelling. ?He relayed behind-the-scenes tales from some of his movies, including his own standout performance in the 1986 film “Salvador,” for which he received an Oscar nomination for “Best Actor.”
Speaking of acting, Jessica Dawley probably deserved some kind of nomination of her own, given how she slow played a hand where she flopped four-of-a-kind. ?Early in the game, Dawley was dealt 4-4 and faced Dan Shak heads-up in what had the potential to be a bustout hand for the amiable tournament pro, with close to $8 million in lifetime earnings since his earlier days working in high finance. ?Dawley held her emotions entirely in check when the flop came 7-4-4, giving her quad 4’s. ?Shak had J-J and might have lost all his chips had the action not slowed down considerably on the turn when and ace fell. ?That scared Shak from committing too many chips, and he ended up losing a relatively cheap $2,000 or so on the hand.
That said, Shak wasn’t so fortunate sometime later when he committed his entire stack holding K-K which lost to Dawley’s A-A. ?It wasn’t just a case of bad timing to pick up the pocket kings. ?Dawley just ended up having a monster session where everything went well. ?Meanwhile, Shak couldn’t say the same.
PNiA returned to another popular feature this week, with the latest segment of “At the Movies.” ?This time, the crew critiqued the 2007 film “Lucky You,”starring Robert Duvall, Drew Barrymore, and Eric Bana. ?While the film fared poorly and didn’t receive favorable reviews when it was released during the height of the poker boom, the panel of critics assembled by PNiA weren’t quite as harsh. ?Richard Roeper, one of America’s foremost film critics gave the poker scene and movie a mixed grade. ?That opinion was shared by poker pro Ebony Kenney, who spiced up the conversation by saying she was moved emotionally by the scenes with Duvall the father, and his son Bana playing poker together. ?However, James Woods gave the scene and the film some much added context when he told a fascinating story about what he observed one night in Los Angeles, just before the film was scheduled to go into production.
In a story never told before, and shown for the first time on PNiA, Woods recalled that he went into the Commerce Casino, in LA one night late in 2006, and happened to see poker legend Doyle Brunson sitting in a big No-Limit Hold’em game. ?That wouldn’t have been unusual except for the man who was sitting behind Brunson, sweating the action and enjoying a slice of poker history from one of the game’s masters. ?The spectator was none other than two-time Oscar winner Robert Duvall, who knew Brunson and was sitting in the high-stakes game in order to prepare for his role in the upcoming poker movie, which turned out to be “Lucky You.”
While we’re on the subjects of actors and critics of movies, one of the more interesting hands in the broadcast took place between Woods and Roeper, which turned into a disaster for the Hollywood actor. ?Roeper was dealt 10-8 against Woods’ 9-9. ?The flop had action written all over it, as it came: ?Q-J-9. ?Roeper flopped a straight. ?Woods flopped trip 9’s. ?Predictably, all the money went into the pot, with Woods fearing he was beat. ?The players decided to run the turn and river twice, which ended up as a double disappointment to Woods, who failed getting the board to pair. ?Woods missed his full house while Roeper scooped in a huge pot with a straight. ?Albeit a rare occasion, it likely wasn’t the first time Woods was on the losing end of a film critic’s ire.
This week’s episodes also included some great footage from PNiA sponsor, SkyCombatAce.com, which offers the riveting excitement of aerial flights and simulated battle scenes over the Las Vegas skyline as well as atop Lake Mead. ?Poker pros Phil Laak and Danielle Anderson were taken up on the aircraft, and were actually flying with the assistance of an instructor. ?Both were ecstatic afterward, which was captured in the ad which ran during the broadcasts. ?More on SkyCombatAce.com to come.
A reminder that PNiA has two more stops coming up in 2015. ?The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh is hosting a major tournament Nov. 5-23, the Pittsburgh Poker Open. ?The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino?in Hollywood, FL hosts the final tour stop of the year, Nov. 19-Dec. 2, the Rock n’ Roll Poker Open. ?Both tournament final tables will be live streamed and recorded for the upcoming affiliated series “Poker Night: ?The Tour.” ?Cash games will be played and recorded for two days at both venues. ?In addition, the Seminole Hard Rock will feature Ladies Night III, the third segment of the first and only cash game exclusively for ladies. ?Player lineups willbe announced soon.
‘Til next week..