The latest season of High Stakes Poker continued Monday night with another action-packed episode. This current run of episodes seems to reach a new high point with each new installation. After last week’s episode, the same cast of characters returns with more carnage, plenty of laughs, and more than one great story.
This week, the story-teller in several of the players came out on full display. Rick Salomon and Jennifer Tilly, in particular, were full of stories and in the right mood to tell them. This may have had something to do with Jean-Robert Bellande breaking out the “good wine” for some of the players at the table, loosening their lips just enough to get to the good stuff.
The stories told aren’t exactly the easiest to follow–the who, the why, the where sometimes unclear–but that doesn’t stop them from being gems. These are the moments that place High Stakes Poker in its own echelon when it comes to televised poker. These are the moments that make the PokerGO price tag worth the expense.
Jennifer Tilly starts the story-telling party
Tilly kicked off the story swapping with what starts as a quick anecdote about being in a private game with a player stuck piles, but quickly develops into something else entirely. There’s really no way to do the story justice in text–and this holds true for all the stories told–but know that it involves millions of dollars, Canadian poker player and sports bettor Haralabos Voulgaris, a hairy-chested man by the name of Kevin getting a massage, and Tilly crawling out of a $1.4 million hole over the course of a few hours.
The story-telling fever struck Salomon next and he rattled off a tale about his friend Sam screaming in the night–something to do with toes and metal screws. There’s context missing, but just the fact that it’s Salomon telling the story almost makes it good. Salomon’s prior appearances on the show saw him remain relatively quiet, focused on the gambling. This talkative side of Salomon came as a welcome surprise and prompted commentator AJ Benza to say, “I haven’t heard Rick Salomon talk this much in years.”
The climax of the stories comes courtesy of Salomon. Again, it’s hard, basically impossible, to recount his tale properly in writing, but the buzzwords might be enough to convince you to toss on the episode and hear it for yourself.
If these words and phrases pique your interest, do yourself a favor and listen to the full story.
Cocaine. Heads-up high stakes. A deal with the devil. $4.5 million dollar pots.
Need I say more?
Fine, if that’s not enough, there’s a little cherry on top. After Salomon finishes, commentator Nick Schulman follows up with an anecdote of his own about the same player and it’s a perfect addendum to round out the scene.
Salomon strikes at the close
Then, almost out of nowhere, a massive showdown occurs between Salomon and Brandon Steven on the final hand of the episode. It’s a classic poker cooler–set over set on the flop, multiway. Bobo Chann’s pre-flop squeeze failed to drive out any of the already-invested players, despite the steep price: $30,000 to see three. The action bloats the pot and the cards do the rest. There’s no way Steven can lay down his hand at any point, in fact he’s probably praying that all the money goes in. That’s how Salomon gets you.
Salomon’s bet on the flop cleared the other two, but Steven opted for the flat call, setting the trap without knowing he’s the real prey. The turn card came clean enough to get all the money in and Steven finds himself with just one out to win. There was no miracle river for him, though, and the call came for reload chips.
The pot saw Salomon’s stack near the million dollar mark, which bodes well for the action in next week’s episode. When Salomon has all the chips, there’s just no knowing what will happen. That’s pure entertainment.
There’s a little less than a week’s time until it airs, will you be watching?