Alas, I bombed out in 96th place, well short of the money, when I went all-in for my last $3,000 in chips with 7-7, only to be called by a player with A-K. Needless to say, a king appeared on the flop – stop me if you've heard that one before – and I was gone, never to catch another glimpse of a Mobster, at least not on that day.

IT'S ALWAYS SAD WHEN YOU HAVE TO SAY "GOOD-BYE"

The first season of "Tilt" is over. What can I say? Endings are hard.

Season 1 ended, as T.S. Eliot said, " ... not with a bang, but a whimper."

Poker-wise, the last episode was a two-outer festival – plus a bad play by Miami ... or, at least, a very bad read. Clark was knocked out on the final-table bubble when David Williams, the guy who actually finished second in the 2004 World Series of Poker, hit one of his two outs on the river. Then Williams was knocked out in third place when The Matador cracked his pocket aces by hitting a set of kings on the river.

Yes, payback is a bitch.

Miami was on a short stack in fifth when she went out. ESPN omitted the early betting on this key hand, which we joined after the flop. The flop was Q-J-10 (rainbow, I believe). The Matador's hole cards were 9-8, Eddie was sitting on A-A, and Miami held 10-10. (Why somebody wasn't all-in at this point was not explained.) Anyway, the turn brought a king, giving Eddie the nuts. When he bet, The Matador folded his lower straight – after all, he was beat if Eddie and Miami had a single ace between them – but Miami somehow thought her set of 10s was good. I don't know ... maybe the first two rounds of betting confused her or something, but it wasn't an impressive display. Who am I, though, to talk – she's sitting on $1 million going into Season 2 (plus whatever cut Eddie gave her from his $5 million), and I'm sitting on my thumb.

The last hand was a little strange, too. The Matador made a $1 million bet, pre-flop, with A-K suited. Eddie called with 6-6. So far, so good. The flop came A-K-6. Both guys checked. Still OK. Then, after the turn brought a blank, The Matador bet $4 million. Eddie did his looking-through-the-back-of-the-other-guy's-cards thing, and decided that The Matador was not slow-playing either A-A or K-K – apparently, he had written that he never slow-played those hands – and therefore must have an A-K. Therefore, Eddie went all-in, The Matador – who, in contrast to Eddie, didn't have to contemplate the situation for a second – called Eddie's bet before it hit the pot.

And my question is this: Was there any way in the world that Eddie wasn't going all-in after The Matador's $4 million bet, a bet he could easily have made with a lot of hands –like A-anything, K-anything or even a stone bluff? Why did Eddie think the only possibilities were A-A, K-K or A-K? Hey, I've seen Gus Hansen and The Magician make equivalent bets with 8-7 offsuit many times.

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And what was with The Matador's daughter and her henchmen betting hundreds of thousands of dollars on Eddie to win? The difference between first and second was only $1.5 million. Why would The Matador bet hundreds of thousands of dollars on Eddie to insure the difference between first and second, especially since he was actually trying to win and since he obviously believed he was by far the better player? Unless, of course, Eddie was a huge long shot, which seems unlikely, since the final two is essentially a crapshoot and Eddie had a bigger stack. (Can you actually bet on a poker tournament in Vegas when there are only two players left – especially hundreds of thousands of dollars? I'm dubious. It would be too easy to fix the results, with the two guys splitting the winnings AND the huge amount of money they made betting on the guy who was the designated winner.)

Dramatically, the series continued to dismantle whatever credibility law enforcement in this country still has left. When the lady FBI agent let the revenge-seeking Lee Nickel have five minutes alone with The Matador in the hotel bathroom, what was she thinking? (And what was that legal stickler Nickel thinking?) What if one of them killed the other one, hardly an impossibility, since The Matador was responsible for the death of Nickel's brother and Nickel was obviously obsessed with exacting vengeance, and not necessarily in a court of law? Or if Nickel just, say, broke The Matador's orbital socket? That would be a bit tricky to explain to the grand jury, wouldn't it?

Continued...


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