I’m a TiVo poker junkie.
If it’s about poker and it’s on TV, I’ve watched it. And if I don’t have time to watch it, then TiVo’s got my back.
Yes, I’ve suffered through Hip-Hop Hold ’Em (this actually was a show), The Best Damn Poker Show (that title couldn’t be more wrong) and Celebrity Poker Showdown (this one nearly sent Phil Gordon to the nuthouse). I’ve even sat through the Texas Hold ’Em Billiards Championships and the World Series of Golf because they remotely had poker tied to them. I still watch reruns of Three’s Company just so I can pick up tells on Jack when he and Larry play strip poker with Lana and Mr. Furley. Hell, I once wrote a heartfelt letter to ESPN begging the network to bring back its original drama, Tilt. “What happens to The Matador? I have to know!”
That’s not to say all TV poker is bad. The World Series is airing on ESPN and I literally count the minutes until the new episode airs every Tuesday night. I’ve seen so many WSOP reruns I can recite Josh Arieh’s 12-letter cussing tirade from 2004 by heart, but not before telling you the hole cards of every player, the flop, turn and river of the hand that busted him in third place. And, of course, there’s High Stakes Poker on Game Show Network, but we’ll save that for another column.
I want to find out if I’m alone in my tortured TiVo universe. Let’s take a very short World Poker Tour quiz to see if you’re as sick as me, shall we?
With Season VI coming to a close last month, it gave me some time to reflect on the efforts of the WPT announcing duo of Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten. Hopefully these guys will see this column and maybe reach deeper into their bag of “witty” one-liners and poker “analysis” for Season VII on Fox Sports Net. Their comments usually are as stale as a forgotten loaf of bread in a condemned Panera.
For each question I’ll set up a poker scenario and you have to pick the overused phrase uttered by Sexton or Van Patten. For each correct answer you receive one point.
1. There’s a raise under the gun and the action gets to Daniel Negreanu on the button. He looks down at 7C8C. Sexton would then say:
A. He’s got position and should see a flop.
B. Now, Vince, he has the type of hand you like to see flops with.
C. I love 7-8 suited; it’s my favorite hand.
D. The nickname for 78 is RPM. I miss my portable record player.
2. After two callers Chad Brown is dealt and Van Patten says:
A. You know, Mike, I got my first hickey in ’77 on the set of Eight is Enough.
B. He’s got Walking Sticks. If he plays them he’ll be walking back to Florida.
C. Chad Brown looks down at a wired pair of sevens.
D. Two sevens … he should split those.
3. Barry Greenstein moves all-in with and gets called by Doyle Brunson with . As the cards are shown Sexton pulls out this one:
A. What we have here is a classic race situation, Vince, two overcards vs. a pair.
B. Back in the day they called ace-king walking back to Houston.
C. Ace-king is only a drawing hand. Man, Doyle’s nuts!
D. Barry loves the ladies and the ladies love Barry!
4. On the same hand Van Patten can’t help himself as he cuts off Sexton:
A. Barry’s picked up Siegfried and Roy!
B. Barry’s picked up the Hilton sisters!
C. Barry’s picked up the Gabor sisters!
D. All of the above.
I could’ve gone on (Show tunes going off in his head! … There’s gonna be fireworks on this hand!) but I thought I’d save a few trees this month. The answers are 1-B, 2-C, 3-A and 4-D. How’d you do?
0 points: Nice job; you have a life.
1 point: You’re doing fine. Go ahead and keep watching that Discovery Channel documentary on the mammoth asteroid that’s hurtling toward Earth.
2 points: You probably only knew one answer and just guessed right on the other one. You can go back to playing Asteroids.
3 points: There’s still hope, but you must act now. Unplug the TiVo and step away from the remote. Do something useful with your life while you still can. Go plant a tree so the asteroid will have a larger target.
4 points: Congratulations, you’re a slave to your poker TV addiction. Not even a poker intervention can save you now. It’s a sick, twisted existence full of rooting for cards you know aren’t coming because you’ve seen this WPT episode 147 times and no matter how hard you wish for it, Phil Ivey’s just will not hold up. The only thing you can do is subscribe to another Season Pass and hope the asteroid gets here soon.
— Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe together we can enter a 12-step program for Poker TV junkies.