West Wing
Celebrity Poker Showdown

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Deborah: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Shoe Money Tonight!

As the next game begins, Tim wonders if there's an extra seat in the Losers' Lounge. John starts to bet on a lousy hand, while Phil and Pollak freak, and then suddenly comes to his senses, saying, "No, these are the worst cards I've ever had." Richard calls, Tim checks, and things seem to be going Richard's way. But the pot's only $1,200. The pot gets up to $5,200, and Richard wins, but both hands looked weak to me. Then we have a segment of Timothy talking about Richard as an opponent while we gets several shots of Richard clowning around with his hats and glasses. And it's time for another commercial.

And another commercial means another chip count: Richard has 37,600; John has 8,500; Tim's sinking fast with 3,900. Phil advises Richard to play conservatively now. Not that Richard can hear him. For some reason I don't quite understand, Richard doesn't seem to be playing the next hand. Timothy eventually bets everything -- which, in his sadly diminished circumstances, only brings the pot to $6,500. ("Only," she says, like she would even risk sixty-five cents on a card game. Like six and half grand wouldn't buy everything on her Amazon list and leave room for a very expensive day at a spa.) John calls, and they show their cards; the river card's no help to Timothy, and he's out. He hugs everybody and makes his way to the Losers' Lounge, while Allison expresses her surprise; she thought he would win. Timothy sits down on the couch and throws more metaphors and clichés at us about the last round than have appeared in the entire rest of the show.

Phil reminds us that Richard has a three-to-one chip lead, but says that John has enough to be a "real threat." Richard wishes John good luck, and they bump fists. John gets the eight of spades and the six of diamonds. Someone in the crowd tells him to fold, and he does. Wait, can they see the cards? How do they keep the audience from spoiling the game? It's all a mystery to me. And is that it? He folds immediately, and the game's over? Couldn't you just keep doing that until you got a hand you liked? Man, I'll stick with Scrabble, thanks. ["I think you have to ante before the cards are dealt to you, don't you? So you lose whatever the ante is? I don't know either; my game is blackjack." -- Wing Chun] On his next hand, John gets the four and five of spades. The toothpick he's chomping on is dwarfed by the unlit cigar Richard's chomping. John calls. Richard has the Ace of clubs and the Ace of hearts. Richard raises to four grand. John calls. Richard: "Whaddaya have?" John: "Not much." Richard laughs. The flop: King of clubs, five and six of diamonds. John consults with one of the poker flunkies hanging around and calls. He's all in. The pot is quickly at $24,800. Phil says that unless John gets very lucky, they're going to have a winner. Pollak: "There are a lot of cards to come. All right, just two, but still, anything could happen." Cram it, Kev. The turn is the Ace of spades. Even I know that it's in the bag for Richard. John's already clapping for Richard, and the river card is the five of clubs. John can't believe it; Richard agrees that it's unbelievable. Phil says that the three fives aren't good enough, and Richard's won with a full house. Richard and John hug, and everyone emerges from the Losers' Lounge to congratulate them. When Allison hugs Richard, he points to her and tells the camera, "She did it! She won." Aw. Pollak tells Richard that he gets to go to the final round (airing January 13, 2004), and Richard says, "I don't want to play again -- I'm very happy." Pollak reminds Richard that his charity could win $100,000 instead of just $5,000. Richard's down with that, and thanks everyone present for helping the homeless. Pollak presents him with a special silver chip, which he informs us "for now" isn't available in any store. What? Who cares? Yeah, is there a mailing list where I can sign up to be informed when that's available to us commoners? Richard accepts it and holds his hands up, as Pollak asks for applause and the closing music plays. Richard seems to try to put it in his eye behind his sunglasses, sort of like a monocle. Well done, Colonel Klink!

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