Hearts begin to pound, sweat begins to bead on several foreheads as the TV lights glare into the faces of the poker worlds newest and most cunning final table competitors. The non-stop, ever changing, pressure packed action continues to unfold slicker than an episode of CSI. The tells are cleverly disguised from our weekly living room investigative team, and then it happens: Vince Van Patton shamelessly announces – Daniel Negreanu has picked up a monster hand (pocket fours). What the hell could he be thinking/smoking/or drinking? Monster Hand? Get a grip Vince; have you been playing in to many Hollywood home games or what?
Just when the flow of the World Poker Tour (WPT) production is so compelling that it has us riveted to our TV sets, the cool, calm and collected Mike Hodgeton is derailed by a "Vince-ism" that brings a frown to even the least knowledgeable viewing audience person and undoubtedly, brings an excedrin sized head-ache to the Discovery Channel’s expert play-by-play commentator. Sure, after seeing countless times that Phil Hellmuth and Gus Hansen actually could steal pots playing hands like 96os, a pocket pair must seem huge to our young color announcer, but Vince, it’s just two fours!
And Vince, along those lines, you really have some of us convinced you just might be the next Yogi Berra and in your defense, that "ain’t all bad." Remember it was Yogi who once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Well, maybe young Van Patten is doing just that, carving a nitch for himself that makes his ever growing viewing audience cringe and gasp as his color-commentator gaffs (real or put-on), occur more frequently each episode.
The current buzz about Vince throughout internet chat rooms, poker forums and at the tables range from "this guy is an idiot" to "this guy’s flippant statements are more controversial than known flame-throwers like the late Howard Cosell or even Howard Stern." You talk about a loose cannon, he’s a howitzer, and some might think he may even be certifiable. He fires from the "lip" and his commentary is what you get to hear after the show’s producers have edited out who knows what. Speculation on what he might say next has us wondering if he will continue to have reverence for the legends of eclar, or could he reverse directions and send out a blast and all of a sudden declare the game has passed on by the likes of Doyle Brunson or Amarillo Slim?" (Commentary-Hope not Vince, remember your roots).
I must now admit I’ve been a tad bit harsh on Vince so far in this piece (some of it tongue in cheek), although I have not yet had the opportunity to speak to him directly (I’ve left about twenty messages for him at the Beverly Hills Hotel-wink), I have reached the following conclusion. Honestly speaking, you got to acknowledge this guy’s presence (and give him full props on how he has us all talking about poker (and him). Love him or despise him, he gets you involved, whether yelling at your tv screen, or wanting to just choke him like Latrell Sprewell embraced former Golden State coach PJ Carlisimo, one thing is for certain, Vince is not bashful about broadcasting a compliment or criticism about anyone at the table. Just last week we all had the pleasure of hearing a Vince-ism as he mentioned a nice comeback from a player by saying: "this guy keeps coming back like a broke cousin."
On that note, the only logical notion to conclude from this article is that it’s a damn good thing the competitors can’t hear Vince’s comments as they play, or someone just might get hurt, and I don’t mean anyone sitting at the final table!
Al Spath is the former Dean of the PokerSchoolOnline, poker author (www.alspath.com for a personalized copy of his "Poker Journal") and expert poker instructor (www.pokerinstructors.com). If you need the leaks or holes in your game eliminated, contact him for shadowing, coaching and other related poker assistance. CONTACT AL Directly at: email@example.com
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