Would you believe that the latest tempest-in-a-teapot controversy involves Annie Duke, Shannon Elizabeth, Steve Dannenmann, Terrence Chan, and a poker-event fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion? I know, it's a toughie --- but one just cannot make this stuff up.
Chan's most recent posts on his own popular poker blog detail a recent controversy at a Playboy fundraiser held at Bunny Central, a.k.a. Hef's Place, where the above players where participating in an event with a $1,500 buy-in. The prizes ran three deep, with the top spot being two (2) WSOP Main Event seats, and second and third some modestly nice swag, but certainly an order lower.
Four players were left, including Chan, Elizabeth, and what Chan reports to be a seriously bombed Dannenmann --- not the first time Steve's had a good time at the Playboy Mansion, if memory serves --- when the Mansion event's tournament director put an almost-immediate halt to the proceedings. Over the space of about 20 minutes, it went from n0rmal play to a situation where the event was going to be called after the next couple of hands, with these big prizes distributed according to chip count.
And here's where it gets not nice.
As Chan recounts the tale (and that's him on the right, not Shannon Elizabeth, who I'm sure you were all expecting to see), Elizabeth made a double-through to move into the lead and eliminate the fourth player, then told the smashed Dannenmann to fold his cards with the promise of chopping the two seats up for grab for first. Dannenmann held a narrow chip lead over Chan at that point for second place, and by auto-folding, he could lock out Chan and keep the second seat for himself, once the offer was made. Worse, Annie Duke was sitting just behind Dannenmann and encouraging him to do the same thing, which Dannenmann did.
It's all recounted in much more detail over at Chan's blog, including a follow-up where he's now in discussions with a Playboy official seeking a way to rectify the situation. I'm not saying the story is true, but if it is, it's lousy poker ethics on the part of Elizabeth, Duke and Dannenmann... even if that last is alcohol-induced. Subsequent commentary on both Chan's post and a longish NVG thread over at 2+2 indicates that Elizabeth may have wanted the prestige of being able to say she won the charity event... and the way it unfolded, that's pretty sad, too.
I haven't even harped the extra frosting on this seedy poker cake, the fact that this all occurred in a fundraiser. Such happenings tend to put a damper on like events taking place at a later date.