Here are the four lucky contestants competing in "The Challenge of Champions":
Father Andrew Trapp ($100,000 Winner #1)
Sergeant Denny Luna ($25,000 Winner)
Brian Barboza ($100,000 Winner #2)
Mike Kosowski (one of the losers from the last episode who won a special consolation tournament just to make it here)
In this four-player game, everybody starts out with 20,000 in chips just like normal; Daniel Negreanu will be the dealer! The big winner wins (another) $100,000 and a chance to play Daniel in the Million Dollar Game.
$1,000,000 Qualifying Game:
THE FLOP: (JS)(9D)(9H)
Kosowski leads with two pair. After he bets 2,000, Trapp raises to 5,000…and Kosowki calls.
TURN: 7 OF DIAMONDS- DUD
RIVER: 8 OF DIAMONDS- ANOTHER DUD
Kosowski then makes Trapp fold after a 5,000 bet, for a total pot of 17,600!
THE FLOP: (KC)(7C)(7H)
Trapp makes trip sevens, while Luna has top pair. Both bet 800 apiece.
TURN: 9 OF HEARTS- DUD
Despite what both players have, they again throw in a couple of 800 bets.
RIVER: JACK OF SPADES- ANOTHER DUD
Both wager 1,200 a pop this time, meaning Trapp wins this pot for 6,400. After the first commercial break, here’s the chip count:
On the third hand that we see, Luna’s ALL IN. Here’s the setup:
Mike: RED FIVES
THE FLOP: (3D)(9C)(JC)- DUD
TURN: 5 OF SPADES- DENNY ELIMINATED (Kosowski automatically wins with triple fives)
The river card for that hand will remain hidden from view; Sergeant Luna leaves with $30,000 in cash and Bahamas trip. Onto the fourth hand:
Barboza might very well be regretting going ALL IN on this hand, as Kosowski already has half of the four eights.
THE FLOP: (5C)(AD)(3D)
Barboza seriously needed that second Ace! The only way that he can bust out now is if the final eight shows up on one of the last two cards…
TURN: 5 OF DIAMONDS
RIVER: 8 OF DIAMONDS
…BUT IT DOES AT THE LAST SECOND!!! OUCH. Well, at least he still has a very nice $105,000 in cash and trip to take home.
HEAD’S UP CHIP COUNT:
THE FLOP: (9S)(8H)(4H)
Kosowski makes top pair, but Father Trapp has an open-ended straight draw. Kosowski tries to push him ALL IN…and he does!
TURN: 7 OF DIAMONDS
At this point, if the river card is a five, a seven or a 10, Father Trapp will double up to 33,200. If not, Kosowski has gone from nothing to $100,000…
RIVER: ACE OF HEARTS
…MIKE KOSOWSKI HAS REDEEMED HIMSELF TO THE TUNE OF 100 GRAND!!! Father Andrew Trapp still gets to keep his $105K in cash and trip.
MILLION DOLLAR GAME: If Daniel should successfully deny Mr. Kosowski the million, he’ll win 100 large for the Lili Claire Foundation. Additionally, both will start with 40,000 in chips instead of the usual 20K. The opening blind values will be 1,000/2,000.
Daniel: RED QUEENS
After a 7,500 raise by Negreanu, Kosowski folds, giving Negreanu a 10K blitz win.
THE FLOP: (QD)(7D)(8D)
Negreanu has the early lead with middle pair, while Kosowski has middle pair. Both bet two grand apiece.
TURN: 7 OF CLUBS
Kosowski now has the lead. Both bet five large this time.
RIVER: JACK OF SPADES
The two again wager five grand apiece at the end, meaning Kosowski wins a 28,000 pot! He’s leading this big game with 51,500.
THE FLOP: (6C)(8H)(8S)
Kosowski has an instant two pair. He and Negreanu each throw a couple grand into the pot.
TURN: 6 OF DIAMONDS- FULL HOUSE!
More good news for Kosowski! He then goes ALL IN…but Negreanu chickens out, so Kosowski’s leading total is now 58 grand! The blinds are now doubled.
THE FLOP: (2D)(3H)(10C)
Kosowski hits top pair once more, whereas Negreanu makes the worst possible pair. Both make the minimum 4,000 bet.
TURN: 8 OF CLUBS- DUD
After yet another 4,000 bet by Kosowski, Negreanu folds once again! We again raise the blinds, this time to 3,000/6,000.
Negreanu is ALL IN this time, folks!
THE FLOP: (6H)(9H)(KC)
Although Negreanu has just paired up his King, Kosowski has a gutshot straight draw to work with. If either the turn or the river card is an eight, he will have made a MILLION DOLLAR NINE-HIGH STRAIGHT…
TURN: 6 OF DIAMONDS
RIVER: 8 OF HEARTS
…HE JUST WON $1,000,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SPRAY THE CONFETTI- THAT GIVES MIKE KOSOWSKI A GRAND TOTAL OF $1,100,000, SOME OF WHICH HE’LL DONATE TO HIS CITY’S 9/11 FOUNDATION!!!!!!!!
Thanks in part to NFL football preceding it on most FOX stations, I can tell you right now that this show is the HIGHEST-RATED POKER SHOW EVER!!!! Let’s hope there will be a second season.