The Joey Del Experience: The Poker Star and Status Symbols

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November 08 2009

Written to Feature Articles by JoeyDel

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"Joey Del - capable of calling with 85o at any time..."
November 08, 2009

Well we are down to just four players in the Australian reality TV show The Poker Star and things are really starting to get interesting.
For those who missed it the challenge in the last episode can only be described as torture! In fact I am amazed that the shows’ producers have not been thrown into some sort of a human rights court for the punishment they made the remaining contestants suffer!
Straight after the tournament from the episode before, contestants were then whisked off to a secret location where they were given a new watch (remind me to discuss this later) and taken out on a late night boat ride full of drinking and eating.
What appeared to be a compassionate evening from Joe Hachem and the rest of The Poker Star team ended up to be all lies when it was revealed that the evenings’ festivities were merely an act to keep the contestants awake to test their endurance. At 3:30am after being awake for 20 hours they were made to spend four hours sitting in an isolated white room and count the amount of times a giant eye, projected on a big screen in front of them, blinked. How they didn’t all end up completely insane I don’t know, but it was funny television especially with Donna deciding the second half of the challenge would be better spent asleep than focussing on a blinking eye.
Josh ended up winning the challenge and his prize was a day relaxing in a day spa and the all important chat with Joe Hachem over a coffee. Josh chose to ask Joe a question about heads-up play and if it is ever correct to limp instead of being aggressive and either raising or folding pre flop. Now I don’t know if it was just me but I found Joe’s answer to be quite amusing. In summary, his comments that you should always be aggressive and put pressure on your opponent preflop when you are heads up , but then discussed how in the 2005 WSOP Main Event he limped in with 7-3. I must admit I couldn’t really follow the logic, but I have never been World Champion so I am happy to put this down to my inexperience and move on.
Then came the tournament. Joe announced that this time there would be two people eliminated from the show instead of one which I personally thought was in poor taste. Surely something as important of this should be mentioned before the challenge as opposed to after it. Perhaps Donna would have tried harder to stay awake if she had known that her chances of elimination were doubled.
Shane was unquestionably the worst poker player out of the six remaining and he made sure this was not in doubt in one particular hand against Ben. From under the gun, Ben had raised and it folded around to Shane in the big blind who decided to call with the always strong 8-5. Now I have been involved in a few conversations about this hand over the past couple of days and I have found as a general rule, that the people who tell you that it is ok to call OOP with a hand as bad as 8-5 against a UTG raiser in a fairly short-stacked tournament are people that can often be seen throwing massive stacks of imaginary money away on the play money tables at PokerStars. This is not ok, it is terrible, in fact I don’t think that you can ever be deep enough in a six-handed tournament to justify calling with this hand from the blinds against a player who has shown such obvious strength. But this was just one of many moronic plays that Shane made on his time at The Poker Star so I suppose it is not a surprise. He was an obvious choice to be eliminated and sadly he was joined by Donna on the way out. The show has lost its most annoying player and its hottest player and we are down to four; Ben, Josh, Chris and Amanda.
I think it is fair to say that the four remaining players left are competent poker players although I will stand by my original prediction that Chris will go onto be the winner. A normal looking guy who can play poker and will look good as the poster boy for Season 2 (if they make one), he seems to be the obvious choice. I personally feel that Ben is far too smug and he just comes across as a very arrogant guy. I don’t think that The Poker Star will want him representing them, so he is my choice for next elimination. Josh can certainly play poker. He would probably be the strongest player left. I would not be surprised if he wins the whole thing, but his lawyer mannerisms and his greasy long hair make him more of an image that poker is trying to move away from as they try to reach new untapped markets. He may win but I still think Chris offers the show and their sponsors more value. Amanda, the final candidate, is another excellent candidate. She is a woman and a woman who actually seems fairly down to Earth and quite pleasant. She can actually play poker as well! All of these points offer a stark contrast from the other sponsored female poker players who have been selected more for how good they look in a bikini. I am not suggesting that this is true of all female sponsored poker players in the world today...just 99% of them.
Amanda’s only problem will come from the fact that she is a single mother. Now don’t take this the wrong way, I am not about to start hating on single mothers (I have already been banned from one radio station for this very thing...but that is another story for another time). It is just that the winner will be expected to travel around the world for a year playing in poker tournaments which will mean a lot of time away from her kids. I just wonder if there is any fear there due to the fact that she might miss her kids too much and decide to pull out halfway through the season. We all want to be professional poker players but when we actually get down and take a look at the nitty gritty of it. It isn’t for everyone.
Now as I said earlier I wanted to touch on the fact that all players were given a free watch by Joe Hachem. He went on about saying how watches are universally recognised by poker players as being the number one defining measure of success. Now is it just me or is this complete BS? I have never in my life heard this being mentioned by anyone. I am quite sure most poker players don’t even wear a watch. I mean I didn’t know people anywhere in the word still wore watches. I thought everyone got over this when mobile phones started telling us the time. It was all very convenient that the maker of this (previously unheard of) major poker status symbol was actually one of the shows major sponsors and I am quite sure the segment was more dedicated to giving them some much needed air time than it was to helping the contestants join the ‘it’ club.
The show only has a few more episodes left this season and whatever the result it promises to be a very exciting finale. I can’t wait till next week!

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