One interesting thing about being a writer is every once in a while you get invited to a place you don't belong, to sit and mingle in a room of strangers. Last night, I was invited to Ashton Kutcher's new Hollywood hotspot, the Geisha House to mingle with hipsters, and celebrities, and play a little poker. Oh yeah, the reason for this event was to promote E! Televisions new poker show "E! Hollywood Hold Em"
These events are funny, because you walk into a room lined with Paparazzi, and as you look over at them, you see the look that is all too familiar if you have lived in Hollywood, and been in show business your whole life. That look is the look on the Paparazzi's face, until they realize you are 'no one', and can go back to loading/fiddling with their cameras. But, tonight I had the misfortune of walking in right in front of "That 70's Show" star Laura Prepon. As soon as Laura walked in, and I had not yet cleared the photo area (the room was quite crowded), suddenly, not only was I 'no one', but I was 'no one' that was in their shot. I was suddenly the enemy, and I forced my way through the crowd to avoid being batted over the head with a Nikon.
For those of you who know me, you know my strength is not being in a room of 200 people I don't know. I actually knew three of the 200, Phil Laak, Jeff from Cardplayer, and a film agent guy I know because he used to be in the music business. I said hello to Phil, and the agent guy, and took in the celebrities on hand. I managed to see many Hollywood types, but (thankfully) it was fairly soon before we got to the poker.
The celebrities at my table were Sara Rue, who is on TV show called "Less Than Perfect" (I must be getting old, as I hadn't heard of half of the shows the celebrities were on), and Nick Gonzalez from "The O.C." (for the record, I have heard of that show). I must say, I was impressed with the way both of them played, and they were probably the two most aggressive players at the table. Sara went out fairly early, and Nick had a nice stack when our table broke. Because the event was about the TV show, and not about the poker, the blinds went up at a dizzying pace (how does the average stack having ten times the big blind in level two sound?). About 75 people started, and I would be surprised if the tournament lasted 90 minutes.
I did not last ninety minutes, however, as I was moved to Macaulay Culkin's table, and went broke fairly quickly (didn't play a hand with Macaulay). For the record, I played four hands in 40 minutes. KK(me) vs A3 .two aces on the flop, QQ (me) vs A9, Ace on flop, AJ (me) vs QQ and KQ, Ace on flop for the triple up. AK suited (me)versus AJ suited and A9 off in a bid to triple up again. Flop 586, turn 7 .good night.
All in all it was a very pleasant experience, and I must say the poker bug has bitten Hollywood very hard. I overheard one of the "That 70's show" cast saying that if they aren't shooting, one of the cast hosts a home game four to five nights a week.
Also, I TIVO'ed the show, and watched it before I went, so I would not seem like a fool were anyone to ask me about it. I must say that while I agree with Earl (Earl reviewed the show for us a few days back) in his assessment that the show could do without the "Better Homes & Gardens" segment that opens the show, I actually thought it was the best poker show to come out in a while. I have found the other Celebrity Poker shows a complete bore, and I think it was very smart of E! to put people in the poker environment who know each other, and are really comfortable with each other. This combination led to a lot of quick witted banter, which was entertaining. The show is really funny, and I would say that had they not just given me three pieces of free sushi, and a couple drinks. The executive producer told me all the episodes are as funny as the first, but that is her job. I say "E! Hollywood Hold Em" is a TV show worth checking out.
Speaking of TV you need to check out Those of you in the US need to tune into the Travel Channel tonight at 9pm EST, and watch Pokernews writer Tony G do his thing in his second straight World Poker Tour Paris final table. I promise it will be entertaining.
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