Poker faces at casino

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
July 20, 2009
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Are “Gossip Girl’’ stars Jessica Szohr and Ed Westwick breaking up? We have no idea. What we do know is that Szohr was supposed to bring Westwick - a.k.a. Chuck Bass - to Foxwoods for the weekend, but the actor was a no-show. Szohr arrived solo to Ed Kane’s MGM nightclub Shrine on Saturday night without raising any red flags. We’d heard that Westwick wouldn’t be joining her for the party because he was stuck in traffic on his way from New York. But on Sunday, there was still no sign of Westwick, not even later in the evening when he was supposed to take Szohr to the MGM Grand’s Sting concert. Insiders told us that Szohr was overheard arguing on the phone with Westwick about the details of the weekend. Uh oh. Szohr gave no indication that there was trouble brewing when we spoke to her on the red carpet before Saturday night’s Shrine festivities. All she’d say about Westwick was she’s learned to keep her love life private. “You give people an inch, they take a mile,’’ she said. Szohr also told us that the “Gossip Girl’’ cast has been plagued by paparazzi during recent filming in New York City. It hasn’t helped that “Twilight’’ hunk Robert Pattinson’s much-stalked film “Remember Me’’ is also shooting in the Big Apple. “It wasn’t like this before. They’re everywhere,’’ Szohr said of the photographers. “It’s just a world you can never really get your head around.’’

Szohr wasn’t all alone during her weekend in Connecticut. She was joined at Shrine by sexy poker champ Beth Shak, who brought her own film crew to the casino (apparently, she’s pitching a reality show about herself). Shak made the most of her trip by treating media and special Foxwoods guests to a quick poker tutorial before the Shrine shindig. She told the group that women are usually better poker players than men, and that guys who wear sunglasses at the table are, well, cowards. “They’re losers,’’ Shak said. “It’s like, look at me.’’ One guest who claimed not to need Shak’s help was Boston Bruin Phil Kessel. The hockey guy, who came to Foxwoods for the party, seemed bummed to have to share the poker table with a pack of beginners and mentioned - a few times - that he’s a pretty experienced player. That said, once the game got going, Kessel didn’t do so well against the poker novices who were coached by Shak. “I’m sure it’s just beginners’ luck,’’ said a member of Shak’s entourage, who noticed Kessel was almost out of chips within an hour.

Other notables at the Shrine party included BU hockey star-turned Washington Capitals defensemen Tom Poti, who celebrated his bachelor party with WAAF’s Greg Hill. Poti, for those of you who don’t remember, was a Beanpot tourney MVP about 10 years ago.

‘The Fighter’ gets around
Don’t let this picture fool you. Local guy Mike Giannattasio did not punch Mark Wahlberg in the face. He was simply an extra in Wahlberg’s Lowell-based film, “The Fighter.’’ Giannattasio reports that Wahlberg was “very nice, classy, and down-to-earth.’’ No surprise there. Wahlberg was also spotted over the weekend dining at Burton’s Grill in North Andover.

Party time for Mezrich
Boston writer Ben Mezrich, who just released “The Accidental Billionaires,’’ an already-film-bound book about the creators of Facebook, treated his wife, Tonya, to a surprise party over the weekend at the Mandarin Oriental. Guests included former “Apprentice’’ contestant Michael Tarshi, French consulate guy Eric Jausseran, and the city’s most famous newlyweds, Red Sox owner John Henry and Linda Pizzuti.

Watching the pols

If you were on Nantucket over the weekend and wondered why Secret Service agents were staking out American Seasons restaurant, here’s why: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had dinner there on Saturday night. . . . Emanuel wasn’t the only politico of note around the Bay State. Former senator and presidential candidate George McGovern was set to spend his 87th birthday at Gloucester City Hall yesterday discussing his book about Abraham Lincoln.

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