Saturday, January 03, 2009


Now, for the third day of the 2008 Salute of Champions:

#15: Michael Haynes ("The Price is Right")

Haynes didn't get off to a great start on the "TPIR $1,000,000 Spectacular" after he lost early on in the $24,000 version of It's In the Bag (the second product, BTW). But he did spin his way to the Showcase, where he had to bid on a Showcase consisting of wedding gowns, a diamond wedding band, a trip to Paris and a Chrysler 300. Haynes bid $42,500 on all of that, which was pretty much my bid as well. In the end, going with my bid royally paid off, as the ARP was $42,989, meaning even if the DSW primetime range had been lowered to $500 at that point in the run, he still would've become a millionaire. Haynes' total of $1,127,062 in cash and prizes makes him the second-highest winner in "TPIR" and CBS history.


#14: Phil Ivey ("World Poker Tour")

While he was a former "World Series of Poker" main event winner, until the July 14th episode of the "World Poker Tour", he had never won a WPT event, having been to seven WPT final tables previously. Enterting the final table of the L.A. Poker Classic, he had the chip lead. He lost the lead immediately to Woody Moore, but he got the lead back by halftime. After trading the lead between himself, Moore and Scott Montgomery, Ivey pulled away with an open-ended straight worth over $3 Million. He then beat Quinn Do in the finals to win his first WPT title on his eighth attempt and $1,596,100.

Clip: Post-event interview

#13: David Chiu ("World Poker Tour")

Chiu entered the 2008 WPT Championship's final table in third place. But his chances looked bleak when veteran Gus Hansen went on an incredible streak of luck, eliminating four straight players to leave him and Chiu in the final two. When head's up action began, Chiu was trailing $22,905,000 to $4,360,000. But Chiu rallied all the way back to pull off one of the greatest upsets in WPT and win GSN's biggest prize to date, $3,389,140.

Clip: Post-event interview

#12: Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas ("Dancing with the Stars")

Before the sixth season even began, Yamaguchi, a former Olympic gold medalist, was considered one of the favorites to win. Ballas was looking for redemption after another female favorite, Sabrina Bryan, was painfully eliminated before even getting to Season 5's semi-finals thanks to bad luck with the viewer voting. Boy, did they ever create redemption. Out of the five perfect scores from the judges in the sixth season, Kristi & Mark got four of them; they also averaged a perfect 30 in the finals, making them the first team ever to do that. Additionally, they set records for most times leading or co-leading the judges' leaderboards (8) and average score (28.3).

Clip: "Dancing with the Stars" Season 6 winners announcement

#11: Tim Oliphant ("American Gladiators")

Oliphant, a camp media director from Branson, MO, didn't dominate the upfront events unlike another male contestant on the show which I will get to later in this countdown. In fact, on his first appearance July 7th, he was trailing Alejandro Soto 21-16 heading into the Eliminator (and thus had to overcome a 2.5 head start). Despite the fact that the Season 2 Eliminator course was tougher, Oliphant conquered it. The first time he went through the course, he posted the third-best time ever at 1:23.9. Heading into the semi-final Eliminator, he was only leading Alexander Coates 13-7, giving him a three-second advantage. But he definitely didn't need the head start- he broke the all-time Eliminator record at 1:17.5. In the finals against Mike Gamble, he finally dominated both the maingame and the Eliminator (although he didn't beat his record time in the semi-finals) and became the last male champion in the history of the show. It is possible that he and "Pros vs. Joes" champion Gabe Canape may team up on the next season of "The Amazing Race".

We break into the top ten tomorrow.
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