The Super High Roller Celebrity Shootout got off to an interesting start Wednesday as five popular TV personalities faced off for a chance at $1 million. Three episodes have aired so far on NBC SN, with the event’s continuation slated to televise this Wednesday at 6:00pm ET.
The tournament is part of Poker Central’s Super High Roller Bowl, a tournament series at Las Vegas’ Aria Resort & Casino that awarded professional poker player Brian Rast with $7.5 million for his victory in the $500,000 buy-in Main Event a month ago.
The first three episodes of the Super High Roller Celebrity Shootout featured the “celebrity” portion of the event, as actors Norm MacDonald, Kevin Pollak, Don Cheadle, Hank Azaria and Brad Garrett competed at a five-handed table. The winner will go heads-up against Wednesday’s winner of the “pro” segment, which features Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, Vanessa Salbst, Phil Hellmuth, and Antonio Esfandiari.
Celebrities Show Off Poker Skills
The celebrity portion of the tournament wasn’t exactly a “donk-fest” as many would believe, Although there wee some mistakes, beats and other interesting hands, all five did a fine job of representing their poker abilities despite their star status.
The first interesting hand took place during Episode 1, as Norm MacDonald mistakenly re-raised with 7-4 hearts when he threw 5,200 chips into a pot rather than the necessary 700 to call. MacDonald thought a dark blue 5,000 chip was actually a light blue 500 denomination, and was forced into a large pot against Hank Azaria.
Both players flopped a pair, but Azaria held a significant advantage on the flop with a top pair for his K-4 diamonds holding. Azaria then check raised the action on the turn, and forced MacDonald to surrender his hand. The former Saturday Night Live star finished in 5th place.
Don Cheadle, who rose to fame in Ocean’s 11, was the victim of a cold deck throughout the three telecasts, and eventually lost an all-in preflop hand against Azaria to finish in 4th place.
Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond was the recipient of bad luck in the event — losing hands with AA, KK, and QQ. He was eliminated in 3rd place.
That left The Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria and A Few Good Men actor Kevin Pollak to battle it out for a shot at one of the pros. The action went back and forth for several televised hands, with Azaria improving from his original short-stack situation to take the chip lead. However, it was Pollak who won in the end, besting his friend in a typical QQ vs. AK race to advance.
Top Pros Compete This Wednesday
Kevin Pollak will take on the winner of the “pro” table, which airs this Wednesday at 6:00pm ET on NBC SN.
It will be interesting to see which pro comes out on top, and if there is any confrontational banter among Hellmuth, Negreanu, Selbst, Esfandiari and “Texas Dolly” Doyle Brunson, who is making a rare TV appearance at 81 years of age.