Comedian Kevin Hart is competing against some of the most elite poker players in the world in the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl but he’s already beating them in one category.
Hart is, without question, the most entertaining player in the room.
The Philly-native hasn’t toned down his larger-than-life personality one bit despite playing for a $6m prize.
Hart, who recently partnered with PokerStars, has no problem piercing the normally muted atmosphere of a high-stakes poker tournament with a shout or two depending on what’s happening at the table.
In a sea of stoic poker faces, Hart is a tour de force of a emotions. He’ll laugh, grimace, feign shock and openly telegraph what he wants his opponents to do. He's the opposite of the traditional "poker face".
Hart: “Everyone Likes to Hear Me Talk!”
At one point Hart jokingly criticized online crusher Ben Tollerene at his table for being too quiet.
Long-time pro Justin Bonomo pointed out that Tollerene was an online player and was probably more interested in crunching the numbers than talking.
“That can’t be true,” said a stunned Hart. “Everyone loves to hear me talk!”
If that’s true than poker fans are getting a great value from the SHRB livestream as Hart has basically been talking non-stop since the event began.
He’s made fun of Phil Hellmuth for his gold shoes, shouted “TIME! TIME!” when action slows and complained about the white-colored dealer button.
“If there’s not a black dealer button here tomorrow I’m going to get Al Sharpton here and we’re going to boycott this thing,” joked Hart.
He’s not holding anything back and even told a story about literally having to shit in the woods while doing a promotional event for Nike.
It's difficult to imagine recent poker ambassadors Christiano Ronaldo or Neymar Jr. sharing similar tales.
Hart Keeping Up with Elite Grinders in SHRB
It’s not exactly clear how much poker experience Hart has but the rumor is that he does play in some big home games. It's also not clear how much of what Hart is doing at the tables is for show.
So far Hart is keeping pace with the big dogs in the event and made his way into the top five chip counts in the first two levels of play.
There have been a number of celebs who have endorsed poker over the years but it’s quickly becoming clear that Hart brings something special to the table.
Hart’s not just playing the game, he’s making it look effortless and driving discussion. It’s similar to how Daniel Negreanu draws a crowd to a table whether he’s got a big stack or not.
It seems contagious as veteran poker player Haralabos Voulgaris was also landing a few zingers of his own in the early stages of the tournament.
“I thought I was the funny one,” said Hart. “This guy’s got timing and everything.”
It’s becoming clear that Hart doesn’t just now how to play. He’s actually comfortable at the table and that makes him more dynamic than the average celeb that plays.
Not a believer? Take a look at this photos, which were taken over the course of a couple hours: