Shuffle up and deal

I can’t believe I completely missed the season premiere last week of Bravo’s “Celebrity Poker Showdown.” It’s been forever since they’ve had new episodes.

The good news: They are running last week’s episode right now, as a lead-in for this week’s episode.

The bad news: It will overlap with “Gameshow Marathon.”

I’ve started watching the poker but have set up the VCR to tape “Gameshow Marathon” (I’m not all that enthused about “Beat The Clock” anyway).

We’re just 15 minutes in, but I already miss Phil Gordon as the expert color commentator. I thought he was good and that he and host Dave “Kids In The Hall” Foley had great chemistry. Phil Hellmuth Jr. doesn’t do anything for me so far.

The show has moved from the Palms casino in Las Vegas, where all of the previous seasons have been taped, to the Harrah’s casino in New Orleans, and all of the celebrities in this tournament will play for Katrina-related charities. If there are future seasons, they will move around to other Harrah’s properties. I was afraid that tournament director Robert Thompson might have been attached to the Palms somehow — I have no idea how that works — but he’s in New Orleans with the rest of the crowd, with his resonant tones of “shuffle up and deal!”

One other change is that they now have a corporate sponsor — a liquor brand — for what used to be called the “loser’s lounge,” in which eliminated players would retreat to be consoled and/or badgered by Dave and Phil (who has now been replaced by Phil). It’s now the “SoCo Lime Lounge,” which loses the whole tongue-in-cheek humor.

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