9 November 2011

WSOP Mein Event

Nice enough chap

Squarehead Pius Heinz has won the WSOP main event and with it the $8.5m first prize (which is approximately
€13 by the time the exchange rate and Pius' bank has gotten hold of it thanks to Greece) and there are a few things we need to discuss about this victory so let's get to it shall we. Let's not spare the horses.

Now, he seems a pleasant enough chap. But I have to say I am always unnerved, as I think we all are, when individual Germans are successful in sport as it gives the Teutonic collective sinister ideas.

Especially when the final push, as it were, involves defeating an eastern European nation as was the case here when Pius eventually rolled over Martin Staszko from the Czech Republic echoing Hitler's Panzar tank division's inexorable occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938.

OK technically poker isn't a sport and has a tiny audience in Germany compared to football, Ze X-Factor and Strictly Come Schuhplatter, but it's popular enough to ignite that fire of desire to world domination that is inherent in all of the Bosch.

I can only hope that the fact that we're all doomed and on the brink of financial collapse will mean news of Pius' wictory vill go unnoticed as the Germen press, unlike our own, have not been refrained from reporting the coming of a depression that made the one in the 1930's look like a party made up of a physical manifestation of people's spam email - which is essentially what Las Vegas is really.

As for the poker itself, it might be that I'm just a cranky old man, but given how much money these people are playing for and given how taxing on the mind the game can be at that level, I wonder if ESPN, the WSOP people and Harrahs have really thought the way they stage the final table through properly.

For the purposes of TV they have turned it into a massive game show. People in the crowd shouting and cheering, pouring beer over each other they're not supposed to have and composing appalling chants which are neither clever or funny - no surprise these were coming from the Germans and 'mercans.

I'm wondering in fact if the players don't deserve a bit more respect from the organisers than that? I know TV has its demands and really the first thing that is sacrificed when they get involved in sports is the purity of the sport, but I think their modus operandi, their mantra, that loud is good, big is better, is wrong.

You don't need people screaming utterly banal bullshit to create an atmosphere. Tension creates an atmosphere. Total silence can be deafening. Poker creates these things all by itself. Have these people not seen any horror movies?

What I'm saying is, I reckon their approach to broadcasting this specific poker final table with it's near $10m first prize should have been more classy tuxedo wearing deathly silent chess and less something that involves Graham Norton on a Saturday night.

Poker needs thought, it needs concentration, it needs conversation between the players, it needs evil stare downs. This event needs more respect. The game itself can create it's own atmosphere. You don't need to try and artificially create one with twats in silly t-shirts who are only there anyway because they hope their guy will buy them something afterwards.

This is what happens when you give something valuable to children, they ruin it. It's a rule everyone knows just like the one about not running with scissors, although to be fair I'm fine with children running with scissors. I'm fine with them drinking bleach too, but anyway I digress.

Poker has been hijacked by children and they have ruined it. They have turned a beautifully atmospheric, nuanced, complex, analytical game and turned it into a weird subculture, with it's own language, uniform and identifiers.

Unless you're a pasty, sunken-eyed, hooded, computron boffin who hasn't been outside for more than twenty minutes this year, can't drive a car or work an oven but can grind twenty tables at once online for eighteen hours a day, the game is dead to you.

I blame the sandal wearing hummus eaters who insist children should be respected and treated as equals. Bearded sexually dysfunctional liberals who think discipline is oppression and would rather let a delinquent stab them to death and steal their wallet than call the police.

I hark back to the days of David Copperfield, the Empire and fighting wars against tribal armies armed only with bits of wood. An age where children were shoved up chimneys and made to feel lucky about it.

If an urchin had found the temerity to four bet shove his elder light in those days he should be lucky if he escaped with his life. Now he gets $8.5m for it. It's enough to make you weep.

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