Debut of ‘Hank’s Home Game’ on PokerStars earns grins, helps charities

February 01, 2021inPoker

Hank's Home Game debuts on PokerStars' YouTube channel

Did you miss the first episode of Hank’s Home Game yesterday? Good news… you can watch it any time you like over at the PokerStars YouTube channel.

If you haven’t watched yet, you’re in for a treat. And I’m not just talking about the Dutch Apple Crumble pie.

Michael Ian Black's wife Martha brought dessert

Michael Ian Black’s wife Martha brought dessert

To review, Hank’s Home Game is a new series from PokerStars which finds Hank Azaria taking his usual home poker game online. Hank is inviting celebrity friends to play, and he is also inviting the rest of us to see their hole cards and watch and hear them as they do.

The poker was fun. But the table talk was even more so, and at times hilarious. There were plenty of interesting hands, but even more laughs.

Sunday’s debut episode featured the following line-up of players, each of whom played for their chosen charities (listed and linked to below):

Viewers not only get to see the players’ hole cards, but get to watch and listen to them as well as they chat, needle, and toss lots of Throwables at one another. (Tissue boxes and horseshoes were especially popular choices.)

Hank's Home Game debuts on PokerStars

Virtual cards, real (funny) chatter

Hank’s Home Game is essentially a two-hour cash game, with players each starting with identical 10,000-chip stacks (100 big blinds). Those who bust can rebuy, but in the end players’ net profit (or loss) determines where they finish in the final standings.

There was a $50,000 prize pool up for grabs, with the winnings going to those charities listed above. The money was divided as follows:

  • 1st: $20,000
  • 2nd: $12,000
  • 3rd: $8,000
  • 4th: $5,000
  • 5th: $3,000
  • 6th: $2,000

I won’t give away any spoilers here regarding how things went, poker-wise. As far as the table talk was concerned, topics ranged from Marlon Brando to 67-pound puppies to yogurt to robocalls to Schoolhouse Rock.

There was a lot of movie talk, too, both about real movies like Waiting for GuffmanThe Birdcage, and What Katy Did and made-up ones like the Kurt RussellSly Stallone vehicle Patience and Tenacity.

Azaria started a few debates, including reprising one he started on Twitter a few months back that generated a ton of discussion:

They talked of past home games, including one in which a few had played where check-raises weren’t allowed and Rod Steiger, Dom Deluise, Harvey Korman, and Jerry Vale were among the participants.

The group also discussed their early careers, favorite comedies, first celebrity crushes, and whether or not Michael Ian Black would make a good Defensive Coordinator for the New York Jets.

Meanwhile Jon Hamm wasn’t going to allow being on camera to cause him to give away any tells.

Jon Hamm brought his poker face

Jon Hamm brought his poker face

“Jon’s never looked more vibrant than now,” said Don Cheadle.

Players did have to rebuy. Or, as Hamm put it, they had “to lease with an option to rebuy.” And the endgame proved unexpectedly exciting as players battled for final spots in the counts.

Speaking of those counts, our friends James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton helped the players keep track of the chips along the way.

Pull up a chair and give the first episode of Hank’s Home Games a look below, and stay tuned for more shows coming soon.


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