In recent years a new craze has taken over the American pubic, well not exactly new, the actual game has been around for a long time, poker.
Almost any time of the day you can tune into a sports channel or even such cable staples as Bravo and find some form of poker game being displayed. In the world of high stakes poker the most challenging form of the game is Texas Hold ‘Em. In this variation two cards are dealt face down to every player. A round of betting is undertaken which can include increasing the pot, a raise, or staying, check. Then three communal cards are dealt face up, another round of better ensues. The next face up communal card, the turn is then dealt followed by more better. Finally, the last communal card, the river is dealt and the last round of betting takes place. The winner is the one that can make the best hand out of your two cards and the five cards on the table. This may seem strange to most of us that played the more usual five or seven card stud in college where no one knows any of the cards in play except for their own. With the potential of most of the cards visible the stakes can grow to extreme levels as does the tension around the table.
The World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker, presented by the ultimate tournament of the game, the World Poker Tour, concentrates as much on the personalities of the men involved with World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker as it does on poker itself. Hosted by Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten with the breaks in the action handled by the beautiful former Playboy model Shana Hiatt, poker is treated much like any other sport, play by play commentary, background information about the participants and analysis of each game. Sexton, a former poker champion himself provides the expert analysis of World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker while Van Patton, son of actor Dick Van Patton, gives the more comical relief and keeps the chatting moving. The three manage to make what many would see as a dry time watching others play poker into realistic entertainment.
Needless to say World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker is not the usual penny ante poker games many people enjoy on a Friday night. The stakes here are astronomical. The overall pots in excess of a quarter of a million dollars is not rare, raises can exceed most of our annular incomes. With such incredible amounts of money at stake the excite builds rapidly. The men that do this for a living have to be cool and collected the proverbial ice water in their veins but each man has a unique personality, the focus of World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker.
One of the most notable players in World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker is Phill Laak. He has taken being a professional poker player to super star levels. Not only can he be seen on almost every World Poker Tour presentation he also serves as the dealer for Laura Prepon’s poker show on E!, Hollywood Hold ‘Em. Laak is better known by his dubious nickname, the Unibomber. This comes from his habit of disguising any tell (facial features that may give away a hand) by wearing his trademark grey hooded sweatshirt. When the action picks up he pulls the hood tight around his face leaving only his dark sunglasses visible, its like watching Kenny from South Park play poker. He is a far cry from the way we think of poker players. Instead of just sitting there Laak is prone to jumping out of his seat and moving around during tense moments of the game.
Dave Ulliott, known as Devilfish, given the name because like the fish that is poisonous if now treated correctly, Ulliott lies in wait for the right moment when he can clear the table of chips. Gustav Hansen, one of the up coming young players is a danger to others in the game due to his aggressive and often unpredictable style. Hailing from Denmark he is considered the Great Dane in poker circles. Paul Darden may look like your neighbor but he is deadly at the poker table. His style is to play the opponent’s hand instead of his own, getting into the head of the other players. Thrown into this mix of super star poker players is Mark Richards, a bank teller who won a sweepstakes whose prize was a chance to pit his skills against the best poker players in the world. Like a lamb lead to the wolves Richards must hold his own against these bad boys of poker.
This is a game that can be learned in a short time but requires a life time to master. The minds of professional players are like computers, calculating the odds and looking for any slight advantage they can exploit. Even if the statistical odds are against a player he can always resort to the infamous bluff, raising the stakes beyond any reason to intimidate the others. One features of no limit Texas Hold ‘Em is going all in, pushing all of your chips into the pot, this often as the affect of radically changing the chip count in s single hand. Using this technique a player can either double his chip count or find himself leaving the table.
Even if you are new to the game you will find yourself drawn into the World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker, the manner that the games are presented makes this easy. Each player’s hand and current bets are displayed on the left side of the screen, making it simple to follow the action. You can see at a glance which player has the current best hand and just how much they are risking. On the right side of the screen there are little pop ups that show the definition of a specific poker term that applies to the hand or a pertinent statistic. Combined with the voiceover analysis you are up there with the experts.
Shout Factory has been taking the lead in presenting World Poker Tour events on DVD. Whether it’s the whole tournament or a more specific view like World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker they do an incredible job of bringing the action to DVD. With the World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker disc they also include a commentary track featuring players Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak. Two bonus features are also included, a look at just what makes a bad boy of poker and a compilation of some of the highest tension moments in the World Poker Tour. Even if you are a causal poker player or just an armchair viewer World Poker Tour: Bad Boys of Poker will entertain you!
by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com
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