This week on The Poker Star the mantra of the show was “Composure” as players had to focus on maintaining their composure and avoiding the dreaded “Tilt”. The Poker Star host Joe Hachem talked to the contestants about how he battled with tilt for many years, and that when he learnt to maintain his composure it made him a better poker player and a better person.This week’s challenge saw the contestants divided into two teams, which was a little different considering poker is rarely a team game.The challenge involved the two teams building a “house of cards” our of oversized playing cards. They had one hour to construct the sample structure, with the twist being that each player wore headphones with music blaring to test their nerves and of course their composure. The team of Ben, Katie, Ron and Josh fared well and managed to construct their structure within the time limit. Their only problem was the easily-rattled Ron who regularly showed his frustrations which ultimately hurt the team. On the other hand, the team of Amanda, Shane, Donna and Chris had plenty of trouble constructing their house of cards, and were often forced to rebuild and it had fallen flat. However they remained calm throughout and even though they were unable to finish their structure in the time limit, they were declared the winners due to their better composure. The loser of the challenge was clearly Ron who became the first nomination for the elimination room.The winners enjoyed a nice dinner with Lee Nelson at Crown’s Koko restaurant while the losers lamented over their over-confidence.Onto the weekly tournament and again the only frustration I find with this show from a poker purist’s perspective is that the tournament itself is very hard to follow. I’m hoping that this fast-paced action entertains poker novices, and doesn’t prove too confusing for them to follow either.With Ron freerolling, since he was up for elimination anyway, he came out all guns blazing and gained an early lead, before calling a shove by Donna. Ron did have a comfortable lead and decided to gamble with his – a play heavily scrutinized by Nelson and Hachem. Donna held and won the flip when the board was spread . Ron still had some chips to play with as the focus shifted to two-time winner Ben who complained about being card-dead. However when Ron shoved for 17,200 from the cutoff with into Ben’s 6,000-chip big blind, Ben was criticized for folding his with Hachem commentating, “He just gave Ron those chips for nothing!”However the aggressive Katie was the first be eliminated when she pushed her into the of Donna. This was the second time in four tournaments that Katie was first out.From there it was Chris who started to pick up some cards and the aggression level as he eliminated both Amanda and Shane in the same hand. Chris shoved with and Amanda followed suit for her tournament life with while Shane decided to go with . As the board bricked out it was interesting that the play of Amanda was not scrutinized by Joe and Lee, yet both Sally last week and Ron this week were criticized for similar plays despite neither of them having their tournament life at risk at the time.Chris continued to apply the pressure, with his holding against Ben’s , before he took out Josh in 4th place. It appeared Josh had shoved and Chris called with the . Perhaps Josh was a short stack, but the board produced a nice suck, re-suck, re-re-suck when it ran out to give Chris a straight.Ron was out in 3rd place when he shoved his and was called by the giant-killing Chris with it what was clearly a crapshoot by this stage. Chris spiked an eight on the turn which was enough to take it to heads up.Donna showed what she’d learnt about heads-up strategy from Lee, with some aggressive play early before the two got their chips in preflop with Chris’ holding a narrow lead over Donna’s . The board ran out and Chris was this week’s winner. He collected bragging rights and a tidy $2,500 in prize money.Ron and Katie were joined in the elimination room with Ben who was a surprise choice after winning two of the first three tournaments and proving himself as a strong contender. However Joe was critical of his failing to call Ron’s all-in bet with his short stack. Ben learnt from his lesson and was told to use it as a “strengthening exercise” for future weeks.That left Ron and Katie, and based on records, with Katie having busted first on two occasions and failing to win any challenges, and Ron finishing in the top three once again, you would’ve though Katie was a certain elimination. But Ron was surprisingly sent to the rail, with his poor showing in the challenge, and dubious call during the tournament counting against him. Ron proved he is a tough competitor on the felt, and was a likeable character on the show, so he will be missed. Check out Ron's exit interview below:
Tune into The Poker Star every Wednesday evening at 8:30pm on One HD, or at midnight Thursdsay on Channel Ten, or join Joe Hachem, Lee Nelson and The Poker Star contestants on the felt by simply logging onto PokerStars.
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