As for our fifth show, Dave Foley picked Andy Dick to win (out of loyalty, since they were co-stars on the hit TV show News Radio), and I picked Robin Tunney to win, but the celebrities all thought Macy Gray was the favorite. As the show progressed, I could see that Gray was the best hold 'em player in this heat.
Gray was unlucky early, though, when she picked up one side of what is known in poker as the ''classic match-up'' (A-K vs. Q-Q). Gray had the A-K, against Meloni's Q-Q. This match-up usually leads to both players moving all-in before the flop, whereupon the Q-Q is roughly a 13-to-10 favorite to win the pot. This pot followed form, both players indeed moving all-in before the flop, and Gray lost the ''coin flip'' for a $19,000 pot.
This was a huge pot, since each player had begun the heat with $10,000 in chips. Andy Dick was out in the second hand, and Joy Behar followed when Meloni made a flush against her.
But the big story in this heat was that Tunney kept ''milking'' Meloni out of chips (making modest-sized bets when she did have a strong hand)! For Tunney, the lucky side of it was that she kept beating Meloni, hand after hand. The skill side of it was what kept the milk machine running with brilliantly devised easy-to-call bets.
One hand, when the blinds were $200-$400, Tunney limped in on the button with K-8, Meloni called in the small blind with A-J, and Gray checked in the big blind with Q-4. With a flop of K-J-2, it was another impending disaster for Meloni, who bet out $500 into the $1,200 pot, and Tunney raised it up to $1,500 to go.
Meloni had to call, and he did.
The next card was a nine, Meloni checked, Tunney bet out $1,000, and Meloni pretty much had to call again (I would have as well). The last card was a five, Meloni checked, Tunney bet out another $1,000, and Meloni had to call again (I would have called too).
Tunney had Meloni deeply frustrated by the end of this match, because of her milking tactics, but his frustration was compounded by another factor: when Meloni did have Tunney beat, he bet way too much!
So whenever Meloni had the best hand, he would bet too much and win nothing, and whenever Tunney had the best hand, she would milk him with small bets that forced him to call. Late in the game, Meloni made two nice adjustments: first, since Tunney never called his big bets, he started to make big bets on a bluff; and second, when he did have a strong hand he started his own milk machine.
But alas for Chris, in his first attempt at a big-bet bluff, Tunney actually had a super-strong hand! And in his first attempt to bet small when he had a big hand, Tunney had nothing to call him with.
Finally, with the blinds at $400-$800, Meloni called with Q-6 in the small blind, Tunney raised it up $1,800 more with 9-9, and Meloni called (I hate his call here). The flop, a disastrous one for Meloni, came down 6-3-2, and Tunney won the match when her 9-9 held up.
I was impressed with Tunney's play: she was tough to read, and she bet the right amounts throughout the heat. Finally, I had picked a winner, for the first time in five shows.