Phil Laak is a professional poker player. He is quite a famous TV poker player who has been dating actress Jennifer Tilly for several years now. He is also good buddies with fellow poker pro Antonio Esfandiari. Laak is known for silly antics while playing poker on television and is one of the most unique “ramblers” in the poker world. Very little of vocal meandering seems to make sense, but it is somehow interesting to some poker fans at the same time.
Laak frequently appears on poker cash-game television shows like “High Stakes Poker” (on the GSN Network) and NBC’s “Poker After Dark.” He recently appeared in the $150,000 buy-in cash game on “Poker After Dark” and managed to keep buying drink after drink (even three at one time) until he got quite drunk. Now, Laak is nonsensical to begin with (or a mad genius if you ask some people), so imagine what might happen when he starts drinking.
The first iffy thing Phil Laak did was start touching David “Viffer” Peat’s chips. This is a huge no-no in a poker game and makes it look like Laak really needs to take a break the rest of the night. Viffer looked agitated but also possibly salivating at the thought of taking Laak’s money if he starts playing crazy.
So Laak then nearly gets physical with David “Viffer” Peat. Laak’s beanie had been hidden under the poker table, and as he was trying to reach down to get it, he brushed up right next to Peat. It got a little physical, but no blows were thrown.
Laak then knocks over Viffer Peat’s chip stack as he leaves to sit back down. This is the second huge no-no. Now, in a poker tournament, Laak would have gotten several penalties for these actions. But cash games are a bit different, especially made-for-TV shows that might encourage this kind of behavior for ratings.
People in the poker world were incensed when Scotty Nguyen got drunk and belligerent a few years ago during the TV broadcast of the $50,000 Horse tournament at the WSOP. That same kind of outrage doesn’t seem to be taking place here. Perhaps it is because the other players were just chomping at the bit cause they thought a drunk Laak was going to donk off his chips.
Indeed, Laak did seem to start playing very uncharacteristically, calling bets in hands where he would normally insta fold. At any rate, it made me uncomfortable to watch it.
No, I do not think that anything should necessarily happen to Laak or anyone who gets drunk on “Poker After Dark.” That should be left up to the other players. If they feel like putting up with those antics cause it may give them an edge in the game, then so be it. But people at home shouldn’t think they can get drunk and act like Phil Laak in a real poker game. They might not like what they get in return when they start meddling with someone else’s chips.
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