Las Vegas, NV
The poker world is a warm and wonderful and happy place with love overflowing everywhere because everyone in poker gets along with each other and nobody says anything bad behind their backs. There is zero cheating in poker. Online poker is 1000000% safe. And every decision made by the corporations and powers to be is done so for the integrity of the game. It's a magical land of butterflies and bumblebees and unicorns and rainbows and everything else that makes life worth living. And everyone that makes tons of money in poker? They rush to the closest gentleman's club and attempt to rescue as many exotic dancers as possible. And the remainder of altruistic poker millionaires and billionaires hand out $100 Bellagio chips to starving children all over the world.
There is no dark side to poker. Everything is fluffy and fun. To quote Jack Effel, "Guys, isn't this wonderful? This is the World Series of Poker, the greatest tournament in the history of the world!!"
Yeah, Jack. Totally fuckin' awesome.
Man, I was so wrong all these years. The poker world in Las Vegas is nothing like the seedy underbelly that I painted it out to be. That was just me making stuff up in order to mask my own morbid depression. I apologize to "poker" in general for my slanderous remarks over the years. Seriously, quit your jobs right now and move your entire family to North Las Vegas. Immediately. Leave your doors unlocked and flash around wads of cash. Nothing bad will ever happen to you in the land of poker because you'll find the most sincere, coolest, and trustworthy people in the history of the world!
OK, you can stop laughing now and I'll wait a second while you wipe the drool from your mouth.
If you were in denial about the shady side of poker, well, all you have to do is to look at the Tiffany Michelle saga to understand that there's more to poker than peeking at your cards and flinging chips around.
Poker is a billion dollar industry and war that is being waged across the planet for the hearts and minds of poker players everywhere. The used car salesmen in Washington have been shaking down the online poker rooms since the inception of the UIEGA. The entertainment industry is trying to squeeze everyone fuckin' nickel out of poker before it moves onto another fad. The entrepreneurs swoop in, rape, pillage, and then get the hell out of dodge with a ton of booty. And the lost souls are standing around with empty pockets and confused looks on their faces.
What the fuck just happened?
Everything that is inherently wrong about poker occurred during the 2008 World Series of Poker. I won't cite examples. I mean there are simply too many for me to rant about. Do your own research.
Poker is a huge net that caught everyone else who fell through the cracks in society. Most people get into poker because they are running away from something else or have no other place to go. Seriously, I'm the biggest example of that. Before poker, I was a failed writer. Totally broke loser and I had to sponge off of my family or girlfriends just to get through each day. And look what happened to me five years later. Poker made me a semi-famous and wealthy man. In normal society I was one step away from being homeless drug addict. But in poker? I'm a success story.
As that saying goes... in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is the king.
Poker is a bunch of misfits, criminals, junkies, and egocentric dweebs. And those are my close friends. You should hear the shit I spew about the inbred dipshits that I begrudgingly have to share a media room or press box with, let alone the professional players that are pedophiles, convicted criminals, and known cheaters that we fluff up on a daily basis only because that's what we are paid to do. Poker media is just like the rest of the media, which is one of the most corrupt institutions on the planet.
I have paid my debts (including a school loan) and vacationed all over the world courtesy of blood money. And it's not donkey blood money, it's the blood money that I have been bribed to whitewash the grimy surface of poker. I have written nice fluffy things about poker for a paycheck, but I have been taking notes on the side as I complied enough material for a couple of books. Believe me, the reason I haven't finished my first poker book is that when I do, I'll seriously fear for my life. I'll become the Salman Rushdie of poker. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.
Because of that, everyone is nice to me because they are afraid that I'll write bad things about them. Nothing is worse in life than fake sincerity. And it reeks like a whore who hasn't showered in four days.
I cannot tell you how many lies and half-truths people told me when I dug deeper into the Tiffany Michelle saga. The only way to survive the poker industry is to trust no one and assume that everyone is lying to your face. Perhaps I should post a list of lies and half-truths that people told me over the last week or so? Or maybe I'll just save it for a book.
Here's where I'm gonna piss people off...
I'm still very confused how anyone could turn down a three-year sponsorship deal with PokerStars worth potentially millions of dollars in cash and buy-ins and stick with a sinking ship like UB.
Everyone involved in the Tiffany Michelle saga acted unprofessionally. Everyone. Not one single person is innocent. I'm calling everyone out. Everyone was looking out for themselves at the expensive of Tiffany.
As one person involved in the drama said to me in confidence, "I'm both sad and embarrassed."
What could have been a defining moment in poker was ruined in a maelstrom of ugliness that happened due to a lack of communication and the greed that accompanied bags full of cash.
As a few of us joked the other night, "None of this ever would have happened if Oliver Tse was Tiffany's agent." Oliver could have saved poker.
Oliver hard at work...
(pic courtesy of Benjo)
Nothing good came out of this incident. When I left the Hooker Bar at sunrise after my traditional last drink of the WSOP, my mood was sad, disgusted, and embarrassed over everything I had seen over the last seven weeks.
I'm bitter. I really wanted to go out with a bang. And instead, I left the Rio under a cloud of misery and gloom. The last thing I wrote in my notebook before I left was...
Monkeys throwing shit at each other.
It's gonna take a long time before I get that image of the 2008 WSOP out of my head.
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