I Did Not Win The Trash Talk Championship of the World

So, you may have read that I was in Vegas this weekend for the Trash Talk Championship of the World, which was a cleverly named $1,000-buy in charity poker tournament put on by the folks at Victory Poker and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Half of each entry fee, plus money raised during a silent auction, went to the Sharon Osborne Colon Cancer Program at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Artist Michael Godard, a close friend of the Osborne family, was the tournament host. Josh Zerkle of With Leather and I were invited to play. Here's a breakdown of the event. Video first, of course:
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↵I ended up in the best seat of the house, which was actually supposed to go to Godard (felt a little bad about that), sitting next to poker pro – and former professional bull rider – Lee Markholt on my right side and Nancy Cartwright – the voice of Bart Simpson – to my left. Sara Underwood, the 2007 Playmate of the Year, and a darn good poker player it turns out, was to Cartwright's left, and yes, there were at least two inadvertent references to a "big pair" at one point or another during the tournament. While I don't believe they were by me, specifically, I do recall asking her, after a raise and a lay down, "so are you going to show me?" Not my finest moment, but it was trash talk, I suppose. ↵

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↵Shortly after the tournament started, Kathy Liebert, one of the best tournament players in the world, joined our table and sat to my right, putting pressure on me literally every single hand until she busted out. I was holding on for dear life. I'll spare you the rest of the poker strategy and get right to the name-dropping. ↵

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↵After Cartwright busted, her seat was filled by Lou Diamond Phillips, an incredibly nice man and a heck of a lot of fun to play cards with. When he busted, the seat was filled by David "The Maven" Chicotsky, who was only named the 2008 online player of the year by Bluff Magazine. When he busted out, ESPN's Lon McEachern sat down next to me. We had chatted during the red carpet about the future of the ESPN telecast and the possibility of a three-man MNF-style booth. If those at ESPN are listening, it's a bad idea. ↵

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↵My friend the anonymous sports gambler from Sunday's post eventually sat on my right and when they ran out of players to put on my left, I was betting into Underwood the rest of the way. I held on for dear life as long as I could before busting in 14th place, which isn't bad considering those to my left (1) and right (2) ended up in the top five. It just gave me more time to schmooze, anyway. I talked with ESPN X Games and E! host Sal Masakela about his plans for the World Cup (he's doing some interesting advance work) and of course stalked Cheryl Hines in what I'm certain was embarrassing fashion. Since she's married on TV to Larry David, I felt it was okay to ask her to call my wife – we had been chatting for a while so this wasn't the ice breaker – to suggest we that when my son is born, we host a Brisening. Part Bris, part Christening. A snip here, a dip there…let's have cold cuts. Cheryl, if you're reading this, my wife is waiting for your endorsement before she'll sign off. ↵

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↵As for Zerkle, he finished around 29th place, which was inside the top half of the draw and amazing considering he had to take a train out of Washington D.C. all the way up to Boston before flying through Minneapolis en route to Vegas, all to avoid the snow. That's dedication. Josh was sitting next to Sopranos star Robert Iler, but no indication if they talked at all about the show's final scene or any blog-related criminal enterprise the two might be starting. ↵

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↵Reality TV star turned poker pro Trishelle Cannatella ended up winning the tournament in rather impressive fashion. Underwood finished in fourth in her first live tournament and won an invitation to the Playboy mansion in the process, which…yeah…she probably doesn't need. (Here's a link to some great red carpet photos.) ↵

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↵The Victory Poker after-party was what you'd expect a party in Vegas to be; free booze and copious amounts of candy for both the mouth and eyes. I staked my reputation to McEachern on the orange-flavored Tootsie roll, and came out a winner. He's a fan. There was a Victory Poker photo shoot going on as well, but honestly I was more concerned with talking to Hines about the future of Curb (it's up to Larry) and, of course, telling her a story I've always sworn was funny enough to be a Curb episode. Turns out, she thought it was pretty funny too. No, she wasn't patronizing me. Yes, it did involve a bris. ↵

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↵On Sunday, Josh and I watched the Super Bowl with a few hundred of our closest friends in the Hard Rock concert hall The Joint before retiring back to the room to be bloggers and write about Super Bowl commercials. Then came the plane ride home yesterday, trying to figure out if the woman who busted me really should have called an all-in bet on my somewhat short stacked A3H with her A4O in that situation. Probably the right play, but it would have been nice to make the final table. ↵

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↵A great time for a great cause. It would have been better if my 10-prop bet parlay had hit (I got 9 of 10 right) which payed $1,600 on my two-dollar bet. But I came back up, and alive. So that's a plus. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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