Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.
Alright, so I am almost completely unable to win money for myself in a poker game. It’s sad, actually. But when it comes to charity, I am batting 1.000 right now!
I was beyond thrilled to be asked back to WSOP.com’s “Battle Of The News” to defend my title and try to score money for my charity: the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. This year things were a bit different, however.
Instead of using laptops, we were using real cards. Instead of playing on a stage in an auxiliary room, we were playing on “The Main Table™”. Talk about pressure. And while my good friend Jon Castagnino from Fox 5 was still in the game, we had two new competitors. Newly crowned lead anchor for Fox 5 Christine Maddela, and News 3’s Vicki Gonzalez. And they meant business.
Last year was a quick game, to be honest. Not to mention it was winner take all. This year, 3 of the 4 of us would leave with cash, with number 4 looking on in agony.
Definitely got fortunate with a few good, solid pocket pairs. Unfortunately all of them were against my buddy Jon… and after a few near misses, I ended up knocking him out first – the second time in a row that’s happened to Jon.
Things are different this year though. Jon has been battling Carcinoid cancer over the poker off-season. Luckily it was caught quick and Jon is in good health and good spirits. I had already told organizers that should I win, I would give $1,000 of my $3,000 win to his charity, the Healing Net Foundation. Conscience clear. Hahaha…
Vicki was the next to go, and then it was down to myself and Christine Maddela. She is tough. Played solidly, to her credit, and I knew – somehow – that it would be me and her at the end.
Hand after hand, we both had bubkis. Eventually, in a great stack position, I won with the wimpiest of cards: 5-3 off-suit.
At the end every charity won, and that is all that matters. Love being invited every year, and love winning just a little bit more! The prize check is now with it’s sister from last year, hanging on my garage wall. I will be back in 2016. #3peat.