I Like Phil Laak

Last night I caught about thirty minutes of E!’s Hollywood Hold ‘Em, featuring Laura Prepon (from “The 70s Show”) hosting a game of no limit hold ’em at her “house”. The dealer was professional poker player, Phil Laak, also known as The Unabomber within the poker circuit. Now, I generally like Unabomber – he’s fun to watch because he’s so obviously just having fun. Others don’t like him because he is so over the top in his reactions to the game.

Last night, as the dealer, I was impressed with his demeanor and opinions. At one point one of the guys was cursing a lot, and Phil asked him to stop. Then the other players started cursing just to get at Phil, and Phil finally said, “Look, I’m gonna start dealing bad cards to anyone else that curses – I was raised in church.”

Now, that impressed me. It’s such a little thing – most people don’t even think about cursing – they just do it. But the fact that Phil called them on it and asked them to stop – and they did – was awesome to see. It was obvious that the players respected him and honored his request.

Also, the dealer is supposed to be relatively objective, but he couldn’t help but show his amazement at some hands (for instance, when Ike flopped a Royal Straight Flush), gleefully exclaiming, “I’ve only seen that 4 or 5 times in my life!”

He made the show fun to watch – he’s slowly becoming my favorite poker player (although I’ll always have love for Phil Ivey, even though he hasn’t been on tv much lately).

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