Match brings together 6 pros not shy about telling you what they’re thinking

New Poker After Dark: “Speak Your Mind”

In the world of professional poker, there are some players who are rather quiet at the tables, not saying much, and there are those who are anything but, and who sometimes offer their views on anything and everything whether asked for them or not. This week on Poker After Dark brings together six of the latter in a match which is dubbed “Speak Your Mind.” Those participating and putting up $20,000 each in an attempt to claim the $120,000 winner-take-all prize are Todd Brunson, David Grey, Phil Gordon, Gabe Kaplan, Cory Zeidman, and perhaps the most prolific of them all, Phil Hellmuth.

Both Brunson and Zeidman are making their first appearance on the show. Todd, a feared player who writes a column for Card Player magazine, has been known to express his opinions there on occasion, as well as in person. Cory has also gained notoriety for not only expressing his opinions in the print media but also for being a player with a propensity to agitate others to get them off of their game.

There is also some history between Zeidman and Kaplan in this match, as Gabe was humorously critical of Cory’s play during the second season of High Stakes Poker, and Zeidman retaliated against Kaplan in a magazine column and by calling Kaplan names on a poker radio show. Whether the fireworks will continue should make for a compelling reason to tune in as Kaplan goes for his third PAD title in five attempts.

Phil Gordon and David Grey are both seeking their first Poker After Dark victory. Gordon, who as a commentator is paid to offer his opinions, is winless in three previous PAD attempts, and Grey, who even if he were paid not to say anything probably couldn’t contain himself, is looking to improve on his one previous PAD second place finish.

But none of the players this week can hold a candle to Hellmuth, about whom a whole book could be written about the different situations where he has spoken his mind, especially when being openly critical of others and berating them for their play. It’s probably even money that Hellmuth will get a few shots in and have some taken at him before the match concludes, regardless of where he finishes. Phil is seeking his third PAD victory in a 6-handed format.
Brief profiles of all six players follow. The match will begin airing on NBC late night Monday at 2:05 a.m., January 5, and will continue for five consecutive nights in the same time slot. A special program called the “Director’s Cut” will air late night Saturday, January 10, at 1:00 a.m., right after Saturday Night Live. This show will feature Leeann Tweeden with a behind-the-scenes look at the week with highlights and insightful player interviews. Viewers can also watch the match at www.nbcsports/
As one would expect, there is a lot of banter in this match, highlighted by more than one insult and some stories which may never have been heard before. This is a very entertaining week, and one that should not be missed.

Brunson, Todd: (Seat 1)
• Nicknamed “Darkhorse” and a highly feared high-stakes cash game player
• Owns one WSOP bracelet, that in a $2500 Omaha Hi/Lo event in 2005, and had 6 cashes in the 2007 WSOP
• Career tournament winnings in excess of $3.23 million
• Wrote the 7-card stud hi/lo section in his father’s book Super System II
• His famous ponytail has been growing for about 16 years, though he says he might cut it off if someone offered him $10,000

Hellmuth, Phil: (Seat 2)
• Known as the “Poker Brat,” a name he now embraces, and was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in July 2007
• 1989 World Champion, and won his 11th World Series bracelet in 2007, making him the first and only person in history to do so
• Career tournament winnings in excess of $10.74 million, and ranks 3rd on the all-time money list, despite never having a cash for more than $755,000
• Now has more World Series cashes (69) and has made more WSOP final tables (41) than any other player in history
• His fame has given him the opportunity to be involved in many businesses on the side, and he is highly acknowledged as the game’s best self-promoter

Gordon, Phil: (Seat 3)
• Was the lead software engineer and first employee of Netsys Technologies, Inc., a company bought out by Cisco Systems three years later for $95 million
• Owner of one WPT title
• Career tournament winnings in excess of $1.80 million
• Has raised more than $3 million for the Cancer Research Foundation of America, and his leadership in this regard was recognized by Congress in the fall of 2007
• Has provided expert commentary for several televised poker events, and is the author of several books and instructional CDs on poker

Kaplan, Gabe: (Seat 4)
• Long time actor and comedian best remembered for his role in the 1970’s hit television sitcom Welcome Back Kotter
• Proficient in many games, and has played poker for more than 30 years
• Career tournament winnings in excess of $1.34 million
• In 1980, challenged 1978 World Champion Bobby Baldwin and 1979 World Champion Hal Fowler to $200,000 heads-up freezeouts, and defeated them both
• Oft-seen analyst on several poker television programs and highly regarded for his knowledge of the game and the humor he infuses into his commentary
Zeidman, Cory: (Seat 5)
• Considers himself primarily a high-stakes cash game player, mainly in 7-card stud, and plays as high as $500/$1000, usually on weekend jaunts to Atlantic City
• Was the host on GSN’s 2007 program Ace in the House, featuring Mike Matusow, and appeared on the 2nd season of High Stakes Poker
• Was involved in one of the most memorable hands of the 2005 WSOP Main Event, making a straight flush on the river to beat Jennifer Harman’s full house
• Has contributed to poker publications, where he is known not to mince words concerning how he feels about certain players, commentators, and corporations
• Has been a professional poker player for 12 years, and resides in Coral Springs, FL with his wife and two children

Grey, David: (Seat 6)
• Known primarily as a solid high-stakes cash game player
• Holder of two WSOP bracelets, one in $2500 7-card stud in 1999 and the other in $5000 no-limit 2-7 draw lowball in 2005
• Lifetime tournament winnings in excess of $1.45 million
• Professional gambler for many years, and possesses a unique sense of humor
• Long-time player in the “Big Game” at the Bellagio

Dennis Oehring serves as the Public Relations Coordinator for the firm POKER PROductions.

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About Dennis Oehring 9 Articles
Dennis Oehring serves as the Public Relations Coordinator for the firm POKER PROductions. Statistical information courtesy of The Hendon Mob database. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Moore.

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