Note: This is an encore presentation of Match 42
This week on NBC’s Poker After Dark Arnold Thimons of Greensburg, PA attempts to parlay the seat that he won in this match via an online freeroll into a tidy $120,000 payday. Thimons, who overcame astronomical odds in securing his seat, earned the right to select the players he wanted to play against and chose a tough table composed of returning pros Johnny Chan, Mike Matusow, Phil Laak, and Daniel Negreanu, along with actress/poker player Jennifer Tilly. Obviously confident in his playing abilities to want to confront this lineup, Thimons is the third amateur to win a seat on Poker After Dark, and will see if he can do what previous qualifiers Ken Light and Paul Featherstone failed to do in their previous appearances.
While Thimons is obviously motivated monetarily to win this match, all of the players would seem to have their own reasons for wanting to take the match down. For Tilly, this is her third appearance on Poker After Dark, and unlike her counterparts, she is seeking her first PAD title. Expect her to be her usual glamorous and charming self, and to make a few comments during the match that are sure to keep both the table and the viewers amused.
Matusow finally broke his winless streak on PAD with a victory in Match 38, and it will be interesting to see if he can ride his recent success and make it two in a row. His record on PAD, however, is now just 1-10, but another victory would get him back to PAD’s Mendoza line. Laak and Negreanu both won a match during the first season, but each has gone winless since. Laak’s overall record on the show is now 1-4 and Negreanu’s is 1-6, so you know they will be anxious to get back into the win column.
All of these players, however, will have to contend with one of only two three-time winners on PAD in a six-handed format in Johnny Chan. The “Orient Express” seems to excel on Poker After Dark, having won three titles in only five attempts, and another victory would make him the first person in PAD history to win four matches.
Brief profiles of all six players follow. The match will begin airing on NBC late night Monday at 2:05 a.m., October 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, October 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/msnbc.com/poker.
Dream Table III features a lot of laughs with the players all having a good time, and as such is highly entertaining. It’s also a great match for those who enjoy rooting for the underdog, and Thimons is sure to have many fans tuning in to see if he can pull off the huge upset.
Chan, Johnny: (Seat 1)
· Known as the “Orient Express,” a nickname the recently deceased Bob Stupak gave him after Chan knocked out all 9 opponents at the final table of the 1981 Bob Stupak American Cup Poker Tournament in less than an hour
· Back-to-back World Series of Poker Champion in 1987 and 1988
· Lifetime tournament winnings in excess of $8.23 million, and ranks 15th on the all-time money list
· Owns ten WSOP bracelets, tied for 2nd with Doyle Brunson
· Portrayed himself in the 1998 popular poker movie Rounders
Tilly, Jennifer: (Seat 2)
· Her exotic looks are attributable to her being half-Chinese and half-Caucasian
· Winner of one WSOP bracelet and one WPT invitational title
· Career tournament winnings in excess of $489,000
· Has appeared on many television shows and in numerous movies in a variety of roles
· Both loveable and a little wacky, she and romantic interest professional poker player Phil Laak seem to make an ideal couple
Thimons, Arnold: (Seat 3)
· Won his seat on Poker After Dark via on online freeroll, defeating 360 players in Round 1, finishing in the final 9 out of 3011 players in Round 2, and defeating 864 players in the Finals, beating professional Jordan Morgan heads-up for the victory
· Began playing poker at the age of 7, and usually goes to Atlantic City once a month and to Las Vegas 3-4 times a year to play $2/$5 no-limit hold’em
· Prefers playing live to online, but when he plays online he enjoys $100 buy-in 6-handed NLHE turbo SNGs
· Previously worked in the building materials industry for 20 years, but now works as assistant director of admissions for South University, part of a network of more than 100 colleges under Education Management Corp.
· Resides in Greensburg, PA, about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburg with his wife and son, and enjoys golf and dirt back riding in his free time
Matusow, Mike: (Seat 4)
· Known as “The Mouth” for trash talking at the tables, and one of poker’s most recognizable players
· Winner of three WSOP bracelets, his latest in the prestigious 2008 $5000 no-limit 2-7 draw event w/rebuys
· Lifetime tournament winnings in excess of $7.29 million, and ranks 22nd on the all-time money list
· Won a $100,000 prop bet with Ted Forrest at the beginning of the 2008 WSOP by losing more than 50 pounds since the 2007 WSOP, weighing in at a svelte 179
· Released his autobiography entitled Check-Raising the Devil in May 2009, a candid and revealing look at his life and the battles he’s faced with demons over the years
Laak, Phil: (Seat 5)
· Nicknamed “The Unabomber” for the trademark hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses he usually wears
· Holder of one WPT invitational title
· Career tournament winnings in excess of $1.43 million
· May be the man mostly responsible for "hoodies" becoming popular apparel among poker players
· Known for his unusual and often humorous antics and mannerisms at the table
Negreanu, Daniel: (Seat 6)
· Dubbed “Kid Poker” and one of poker’s most likeable and recognizable personalities
· Owns four WSOP bracelets, the latest in a 2008 WSOP $2000 limit hold’em event, and two WPT titles
· With his 2nd place showing in the 2009 WSOPE Main Event in October 2009, now has lifetime live tournament winnings in excess of $12.42 million, and ranks #1 on the all-time money list
· Had 9 cashes, including 3 final tables, in the 2009 WSOP, more than any other player
· 2004 Card Player magazine Player of the Year
Dennis Oehring serves as the Public Relations Coordinator for the firm POKER PROductions.