If you watched the Celebrity Apprentice, you saw one of the dumbest decisions a multimillionaire has ever made. Instead of choosing the right winner, Donald Trump decided to throw a bone to his old friend Joan Rivers, and declare her the winner, even though she didn't even deserve to be in the finals in the first place. Last year's decision on a winner was great, even though controversial. This year he made a decision based on friendship, and ignored the high standard he set last year. Or, in other words, he ensured I wouldn't watch it next season.
Unless, of course, the rumor is true, and Daniel Negreanu is a contestant.
So what does this really have to do with poker, besides the other contestant being poker superstar Annie Duke? The answer was in the show itself.
Joan Rivers declared, on national television: "Your people give money with blood on it. I met your people in Las Vegas. None of them have last names. You're a poker player. A poker player! That's beyond w_hite t_rash. Poker players are trash, darling. Trash!"
Author's note: The site won't allow the use of the term w_hite t_rash. Sorry. They're kind of prudes.
Where to begin? Well, let us start with the most obvious. Joan's real name is Joan Molinsky. So if poker players are bad because they don't have last names...what about people that lie about their last name. Heck, her daughter, Melissa, is Melissa Rosenberg...and she calls herself Melissa Rivers! What a slap in the face to her father. But I digress.
In reality, I know the last name of every poker player I've ever become aware of. Sure, everyone has heard of players like Amarillo Slim, but his real name is Tom Preston. Besides that, we all know the names of Matusow, Ivey, Brunson, Helmuth and Juanda. So they do have last names. I'm thinking Joan never heard their last names because they didn't want her calling them after she left Vegas.
So let us look at "w_hite t_rash". Well, obviously Joan never heard of Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Scotty Nguyen, Minh Nguyen, or any other the other many champion poker players who are not white. And lets not even get started on the trash part. These "trashy" people gave over a half a million dollars to charity just during the Celebrity Apprentice show. Joan's friends didn't give 10% of that. (In their defense, most of her friends are dead. She is 76, after all)
And now, of course, Joan Rivers is backtracking on everything by claiming that she said what she said about one person, and not poker players in general. Reread the quote above. That's all that needs to be said about that.
But then yesterday, a Fannation user named BVTC33 fanmailed me to criticize me blogging on the "worst of all the sports". And he's 14. How can a 14 year old possibly be qualified to determine that poker is the worst of all sports? Obviously, he's been swayed by the opinion of Joan Rivers.
So Joan Rivers, in her tirade, has now started influencing young people's minds against poker players.
In all honesty, I've played poker across the country. Heck, I've played poker in casinos around the world. And at no time have I ever experienced anything that would lead me to believe poker players are "t_rash". In fact, each experience was fantastic.
I consider myself a poker player. And I consider poker a legitimate sport. I have many friends that I have met through my poker experiences, and they are true friends that I can count on in any situation.
Regardless of what one has-been comedian thinks, poker players are great people, in general. Take the time to learn the game, and get to know the players. You'll be happy you did both.