With a cold coming on, I juiced up on cold medicine and headed down to Commerce Casino last night for the pre-tournament WPT Invitational cocktail party. In more of a stuffy-headed fog now, I give you a few observations from the festivities:
William Hung was the first “celebrity” I noticed, as he arrived as soon as the red carpet was ready for action. And the poor guy was the only one from the red carpet featured by Perez Hilton today, and not featured in a particularly good way.
Food was excellent as usual, with a random assortment of Asian and Greek set-ups, along with the yum-yum appetizers floating around the room on waitersâ€™ trays.
No DJ in the outdoor area like last yearâ€™s event, but it actually made for a more conversation-friendly atmosphere on the patio.
Wicked Chops scored seats in the tournament. I spent way too much time trying to figure out how that happened.
Reports of the demise of the Phil Laak/Jennifer Tilly relationship were evidently untrue, as the two looked typically couple-y as usual – Jennifer in a beautiful outfit, Phil in saggy jeans and a hoodie.
Some celebrities on the â€œconfirmedâ€ list were no-shows, such as Camryn Manheim, Montel Williams, and Nelly. (Yes, I was more than disappointed about one of those absences!)
CORRECTION: Manheim was there, and Jen was still disappointed. -DM
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough are still a couple and just as adorable as ever, with Shannon checking on Derek and his amateur poker experiences throughout the evening.
Contrary to all reports from the tournament, Antonio Esfandiari was not the first person eliminated from the tournament, as Mike â€œSirWattsâ€ Watson (former WPT champion) was out of the tournament and standing with us at the bar when that announcement was made. Ouch.
New to my social radar were Mike Watson and Shane Schleger, both of whom were introduced to me by Gavin Griffin and Kristin Roberts and very nice to chat with.
Also met Jamie Gold for the first time, who was extremely friendly and psyched about his Aced Poker affiliation, though my question about his possible ownership in the company was met with the standard â€œdetails of the contract cannot be disclosedâ€ line. Good brief chat anyway. (His calling card gives him the title â€œPoker Philanthropist.â€)
Mekhi Phifer took the reigns during the rebuy period, grabbing the mic and encouraging players to rebuy (or even just donate) to his charity, The Vine Group, to help educational efforts in Africa. He was a great spokesperson for the organization and raised $78,270 for it, while managing to maintain his usual humble but outrageously sexy demeanor.