A new season of Poker After Dark began last night as six world-class players sat down to battle out in a winner-take-all $20,000 Sit-N-Go style tournament. The show typically has a weekly theme, and for the first week of Season 5 producers decided to go for a “close but no cigar” field. The six participants have all made extremely deep runs in the World Series of Poker Main Event but have fallen just short, hence “close but no cigar.”
The biggest name at the table was Mike “the mouth” Matusow, a player who needs little introduction. Matusow has made many deep runs in the WSOP, including his 9th place finish in the 2005 WSOP. For those who don’t remember, Matusow had a ridiculously swingy final table appearance, first getting his money all-in PF with KK, only to run into AA. The flop would then come King-high but Matusow would still lose the pot! Matusow is fresh off of his victory in the $5,000 2-7 NL Single Draw Event at the 2008 WSOP, claiming his 3rd bracelet overall. Matusow can be seen playing the highest limit live and online at Full Tilt Poker.
Another big name making an appearance was Allen Cunningham. The Full Tilt sponsored professional has five WSOP bracelets and finished fourth in the 2006 Main Event. Cunningham and eventual champion Jamie Gold had some epic battles at the final table, but it was one big lay-down that Cunningham made against Paul Wasicka that cost him his momentum and possibly his grasp on the title. Allen can be found playing high-stakes Pot-Limit Omaha and NL Hold’em on Full Tilt.
The youngest player at the table, David Williams, finished runner-up to Greg Raymer in the 2004 Main Event. Williams has made many appearances on high-stakes poker, and always brings a lot of action to the table. In 2004 he collected over $3,500,000 when he was unable to out duel Raymer, who made a bigger full house than Williams on the final hand to take home the title. Williams is a member of Bodog Poker and enjoys playing all formats of poker. Williams has one WSOP bracelet to his name in a 2006 7-card Stud Event.
One of the more interesting characters at a Main Event table was Andrew Black, a professional who had quit the game to become a Buddhist in the 90’s. Black was a calming and refreshing presence at the final table, who would take a few beats and eventually surrender the final table chip lead, going out in 5th place for $1,750,000. The Irishman still resides in Dublin and his lifetime earnings are nearing $4,000,000.
Dewey Tomko takes the fifth seat at the table. Tomko is a well-known live cash-game pro who has finished 2nd twice in the WSOP Main Event. His first runner-up finish occurred in 1982 against Jack Strauss and he would be delivered the same fate at the hands of Carlos Mortensen in 2001. Tomko was inducted into the World Poker Hall of Fame this past year and has over 40 cashes in World Series of Poker Events.
Rounding out the final table was Lee Watkinson. This long-time professional would bow out in 8th place at the 2007 WSOP Final table won by Jerry Yang. Watkinson too is approaching $4,000,000 in career earnings. This is Lee’s first appearance on Poker After Dark, so he’ll be looking for some “beginner’s luck” to be on his side.
Poker After Dark airs late night on NBC, typically after “Last Call with Carson Daly.” Next week’s episode will not be a quiet one, deemed “Speak your Mind.” NBC will host many of the loud-mouths of poker including: Todd Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Gordon, Gabe Kaplan, Cory Zeidman, David Grey.