This article from CBS Sportsline trashing the World Series of Poker as a "celebration of the sad and stupid" is such a trainwreck you have to read it yourself to believe it. It is unbelievably misguided, wrong-headed, poorly researched and full of vitrol from a writer that no doubt, has some piece of unfortunate personal or family history when it comes to wagering. Or maybe he just got his aces cracked one too many times on Poker Stars.
Of course, at no point does this writer address or delineate the difference between playing poker, a game of skill, and pissing away pensions and social security checks on pure gambles like slot machines. Nor does he dicsuss the concept of personal accountability, preferring instead to blithely insult the 50 million Americans who play poker, most of them responsibly. Instead he elects to compare poker players to heroin or crack addicts.
Of course there are poker players that are problem gamblers, just like there are poker players who are serious drug addicts (coughvinnyvinhcough). And there are doctors that are drug addicts and lawyers that are alcoholics, and young heiresses like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie who are out there driving luxury vehicles under the influence of a cocktail of champagne and pharmaceuticals while America's youth continues to idolize them and voraciously read every detail of their personal lives in publications like Star and US Weekly. And I think there are plenty of us out in the poker media that give ample coverage to poker's dark side-- and do so responsibly.
I'm also almost entirely sure that Gregg Doyel, the author of this uninformed drivel, is blissfully unaware that Jon Moonves, brother of CBS CEO Les Moonves, (a.k.a. his boss) is one of the chip leaders at the "abomination called the World Series of Poker." Over/under on when he gets his pink slip, anyone?
Or maybe, CBS is just bitter that NBC's poker coverage has totally kicked their ass, while they're achieving dismal ratings for the Ultimate Blackjack Tour.
Some choice excerpts:
"High-stakes gambling is for addicts and idiots, which makes the World Series of Poker a celebration of the sad and the stupid. Watch this train wreck for yourself. It's available live on the Internet and will come to free television later this year thanks to ESPN, which can next build on this viewer experience by televising a DUI checkpoint or maybe a crack house."
"But still we tolerate and even celebrate this abomination called the World Series of Poker, this 10-day advertisement for addiction and loss. Now listen. Normally, I'm not one to rail on about the evils of this sport or the dangers of that one. Let boxers box. Let race-car drivers race. Let football players bang helmets. Let UFC fighters fight. This is a free country, and those are legal, noble pursuits even with their inherent risk. Freedom is cool."
Gambling is not. Freedom to gamble is like freedom to inhale crack or inject heroin. You may enjoy it once or twice or a hundred times. You may be that one unlikely person impervious to its evil lure. But in most cases the addiction will eventually win."
"This is the world today. We'd rather not work hard for our fortune. We'd prefer to win it in the lottery or on a game show or at a felt-covered table. This is why U.S. college students are flunking out at an alarming rate as they spend their time hooked to a computer, trying to beat an endless supply of anonymous losers on the Internet."
You got that boys and girls? Freedom is cool, gambling is not. Bare-knuckled fighting is a "legal, noble pursuit" but you're no better than a crackhead if you enjoy playing cards. I'd also like to know his sources on the "alarming rate" at which college kids are flunking out of school due to online poker. Has a study been done? Has he met these kids? Is one of them his? Inquiring minds want to know.
If you'd like to let Mr. Doyel know how you feel about his piece, you can email him. Hurry, before he's unemployed.