I just had a lovely conversation with Shannon Elizabeth.
--the only text message I sent from the mansion
I thought it would take a little while for me to get over the fact that I was surrounded by celebrities. After all, it doesn't happen very often. In fact the last time I was around an actor who wasn't in Star Trek SNG... well... I frankly can't remember.
But this night, I was committed to not being the CJ that everyone has come to know and love. I was going to try to be the CJ that would actually say a word... or perhaps complete sentences... to some famous people.
My first opportunity was one of the most stunningly beautiful women I'd ever seen in person. It was Shannon Elizabeth. You may have enjoyed her in American Pie. Or perhaps Tomcats. I was about to talk poker with her. I just hoped I wouldn't drool in the middle of the conversation.
When we last left me in the Playboy Mansion, Bobby B and I were on a quest to reclaim our cameras. For some stupid reason, we left them in the car. When we saw camera after camera floating around, we had to find out a way to get back to the car and then back into the mansion.
So we headed back out on the red carpet (I squeezed between Erick Lindgren and the photographers, maybe I'll appear in CardPlayer), and found the shuttles. We hopped on and found ourselves with a great woman named Tamika who just happened to be the wife of Dr. Kevin A. Brown, the one hosting this event for the Urban Health Institute. When the converstation ended, we were assured of a spot back on the shuttle after recovering our cameras. Guess my luckboxing spreads to real life...
Cameras in hand, we were ready for the famous people, and they were ready for us.
First it was Don Cheadle (more on him later), who didn't want to wait for the elevator out of the parking garage, so neither did we and we followed him up the stairs. That's where we ran into Shannon Elizabeth waiting for the shuttle. The same shuttle we were getting on!
While Don took a private car, Shannon and her beautiful friend settled in the seat directly behind us. It was decision time. Sit there with a silly grin on my face thinking bout how cool it was that she was behind me, or actually turn around and talk to her.
Somehow, I gathered enough courage to turn around.
"So Shannon, are you going to win this thing?"
"You're damn right I am!" she told us.
I was talking to Shannon Elizabeth. That alone made the trip worth it. Nothing more needed to happen. At that point, Bobby brought up her tough out in the WSOP Media Event. If you forgot, Pauly put a sick two-outer on her when his Jacks cracked her Rockets. I'll let Bobby relate that conversation, but it ended with me suggesting a restraining order and her asking us to tell Pauly he's not allowed to look her in her eyes!
I also told her a secret about Steve Dannenmann's strategy. Back at the hotel bar, he told us he figured he'd bust out first so he could hang with the Playboy bunnies (more on that later, too!). Shannon thanked me for the tip and hoped she got his table.
It was only about 5 or 10 minutes, but it was great. I'm sure she's long forgotten it by now, but I never will. As we got off, she was gracious enough to let Bobby take her picture. I would have as well, but didn't want to bother her any more than we already did!
After having a little difficulty getting back in, we finally arrived at a mansion now packed with guests. And with camera in hand, I tracked down stars and poker pros alike:
1) Cyndy Violette and the boys, 2) Steve Dannenmann and his friend Mark, 3) A tough table with Cowboy Corkins (black hat) and Johnny "World" Hennigan (white shirt), plus actor Steve Harris in the foreground (Click to enlarge)
There were plenty more celebrities (like a drunk Tara Reid) and plenty more poker pros (like the jackass Sheik) but I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have.
Coming soon... Don Cheadle wins it all... Steve "The Man" Dannenmann... and the lovely ladies of Absolute Poker.