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CES 2011: Shannon Elizabeth ... and Full House Poker

Posted by: Ben Berry at 1/18/2011 7:59 PM
I have long been terrific at scoring the best swag and meeting the big celebs at conferences, but I've always had to rely on John and Chuck to get me into the big parties. After parties are all about connections, and while I have plenty, most are not with the big players in the industry. So with just a week left before CES, I noticed an XBox Live Arcade party on John's calendar that I hadn't heard about, so I asked. He sent me the electronic sign-up, and Rach and I got accepted. I saw that the theme was poker, but I wasn't sure what the deal was until John told me that Shannon Elizabeth would be there. Yes, THE Shannon Elizabeth of American Pie and Dancing with the Stars fame. And for the uninformed, she's also a pretty good poker player having made a good bit of money as a celebrity poker player often outdoing top tier professionals in tournaments large and small.

Full House Poker is a new game coming Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7. Using a 3 table tournament designed for speed called Texas Heat, players compete in short games of Texas Hold 'em moving between tables as their chip tallies rise and fall. Being an experienced player myself, and after speaking to the PR rep for the game I was fortunate enough to be seated next to Ms. Elizabeth. 

As the game started, we both had some lousy hands so we had plenty of time to talk about poker. When I asked her what she does between hands, she said she studies her opponents game because you never know when you'll wind up heads up against someone and you want to be prepared. We also had a chance to talk about the differences between playing poker in person and playing online, and how you have to adjust your strategy because you can't read your opponent.  Finally, we talked about Full House Poker. She'd only played the game for about 30 minutes prior the XBox Live Arcade party, and we talked about how hard it is to play poker when the stakes aren't high enough for people to respect the pot.

I have to say I was thrilled that not only was she every bit as lovely in person (lovelier even), but she was every bit as poker savvy as I hoped she'd be.