Talk About This! - Montel Williams at the Main Event

Montel Williams
Montel Williams, Event 55, World Championship No-Limit Texas Hold'em - Day 1B, 2007 World Series of Poker.

There were many familiar faces on Day 1B of the Main Event. Scotty Nguyen, Dan Harrington and Evelyn Ng all did a great job of grabbing headlines throughout the day. The biggest surprise, however, was the play of talk show host Montel Williams.

Williams was the overall chip leader for at least two hours and the rest of the day he was near the top. He lost a bit of his stack near the end of the day but still managed to make it to Day 2. There's not too many celebrities that can say the same. Williams was gracious enough to talk to after his phenomenal first day at the WSOP.

So what was your experience like today?

It's been over the top. I mean if you take a look back over the day, I held the chip lead for two straight hours. It was great to get a taste of what it feels like to be the chip leader, and I'm definitely going to get another bite.

Montel Williams
Montel Williams

Have you played in other WSOP events?

I have not played in other WSOP events, although I have been playing lots of other tournaments lately. I'm really happy with today's outcome. The first time I've ever entered a WSOP event, and I actually held the chip lead for a good portion of the day. I'm feeling a little disappointed about how the day ended. I talked to a few people, and I think I've only played a couple hands wrong.

I also got beat on the river twice. The first time somebody made a straight and the second time a player made a flush. I also had pocket aces against pocket eights and ended up the loser. In those situations what else can you do?

I've learned a lot from today.

Montel in Action
The Montel Williams' Show.

How long have you been playing poker?

It's kinda funny actually. Although I haven't spent a lot of time playing organized tournaments like this, I was in the Navy, and we obviously spent a great deal of time out on the sea. That's one thing you do out there - you play a lot of cards. There were times where your entire paycheck was on the line. Once you do that a couple times, it sobers you and makes you play the game correctly.

I'm going to stay on top of my game, and I'll battle back. I'm not even worried about it.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

I think if I really had to approach a style I'd say I'm a tight player that can occasionally be aggressive. I'm not afraid to mix it up.

What was it like to be a part of Annie Duke and Don Cheadle's Ante Up for Africa Charity Event?

It was unbelievable. Let me tell you, I've been here for a couple days, and I got to play in that event and finished around 40th, and that was against some of the greatest players in the world. Today I was rocking, and I have to say I'm feeling pretty good about my game. I think there were a lot of people who didn't know who I was before I got here today, but they know now.

Good Luck on Day 2, Montel.


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Who would have thought that a friendly talk show host would have a killer poker face and a game to match. Williams outlasted countless pros today and proved he's no pushover when it comes to playing cards. Perhaps most impressive is the fact this is the very first WSOP event he has ever entered. Something tells me Williams will probably be showing up for a few more events at the 2008 WSOP.

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