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Poker News | World Poker News

Poker2nite - Season 2, Episode 2

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This week’s episode of Poker2nite featured a very timely interview with Ultimate Bet spokesperson and newly minted NBC Heads-Up Champion Annie Duke.  Host Joe Sebok and Scott Huff caught up with Ms. Duke as she was making the turnaround between the Heads-Up tourney and the Bay101 Shooting Stars tournament.

Unlike last week’s mostly fluff interviews with Trishelle Canatella and Lauren Kling, the chat with Duke was highly enlightening and informative.  She began by talking about the fact that she had taken off the months between October and February in order to be home with her kids.  Poker, she said, had begun to be an object of resentment for her, because she wanted to be spending that time with her children.  As a result, her motivation was mixed and she found that the small edges that she feels she normally has in her game were missing, as she was making questionable plays, knowing that she would either get a lot of chips or be able to go home.  The months off allowed her to re-dedicate herself both to poker and to having a balanced professional and personal life, and that has paid off not only in the Heads-Up championship, but also in a deep run in the LA Poker Classic.

Sebok and Huff then went on to question her about each of the matches in her run to the Heads-Up title.  Although the televised interview only touched on her first match, against Andy Bloch, and the championship showdown with Erik Seidel, has the complete interview, in which she also discusses her tussles with Paul Wasicka, Darvin Moon, Jerry Yang and Dennis Phillips.  Duke admitted that she was fortunate to hold most of the cards against Bloch, but that beating a player whom she holds in such high regard was a huge relief, and really fueled the rest of the run.

When they got around to talking about the final match with Seidel, it was clear just how high a regard all three hold for the Hall-of-Fame nominee, both as a player and as a man.  Huff and Sebok compared him to the character you would run into on the last level of a video game, the “ultimate boss.”  Duke admitted that playing Seidel was actually a relief, because she felt that she would be just as happy if she lost, since Seidel is the one player aside from her brother that she roots the hardest for.  

While the interview with Duke was certainly the highlight of the show, the entire affair moved along much more smoothly and was both more informative and entertaining this week.  In reviewing the Heads-Up championship, Sebok and Huff admitted that four of the final eight players were ones they felt shouldn’t have even been invited.  They also made note of the fact that all of the final four were over 40, which many of the younger players say is “over the hill” in poker.  In a final note about the event, Sebok suggested that they should greatly reduce the number of qualifiers (there were SEVEN this year) and really focus on the biggest names, who are the players everyone wants to see in the event.

Sebok also had a good comment about the report that Tiger Woods had turned down 75 million dollars in sponsorship money from Paddy Poker, saying that if it were anyone else, he would have told them to take the money, but that Tiger is better off focusing on his marriage, his children, his problems and his game.

Through the wonder of the Internet, Sebok and Huff also conducted an interview via Skype with Olympic snowboarding silver medalist (and former gold medalist) Hannah Teeter.  What was especially refreshing was that, after a brief nod to poker (Teeter and her fellow athletes play Texas Hold’em for candy), the rest of the interview was devoted to the charity that Teeter set up after the Torino Olympics in 2006, Hannah’s Gold, which is dedicated to bringing clean water to a large village in Kenya, and to which Teeter donates all of her contest winnings.  She spoke candidly about having to put the charity out of her mind before competing, lest she put too much pressure on herself by feeling that so many people were counting on her winning.  Although the piece had little to do with poker, it was great to bring attention to charitable works, which have become a much bigger part of the poker world in recent years.

Dana Workman finished up the half-hour with her online round-up.  Some of the week’s highlights:  At the draw party for the Heads-Up tournament, someone was overheard to say “I just realized that if a bomb went off at this party, Larry Flynt would be the best poker player in the world.”  After Phil Gordon defeated Tom “durrrr” Dwan in their heads-up match, Gordon stated, “I must have set the Internet on fire yesterday.  Their number one whipping boy beat their number one golden boy.”  And for those who like paying attention to such things, apparently the new poker power couple is Erica Schoenberg and Erick Lindgren.

For those who doubt just who the demographic is that this show is trying to reach, this season’s guests have been Cannatella, Kling, Duke and Teeter (who was in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue).  And who will be the featured interview next week?  Why, none other than Joanna Krupa!  See you then!

*Read Clearspine's Blog*

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