Wednesday, July 11, 2007

CBS= Bitter, Much?

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.


Unknown said...

Unreal. Did you see all the mistakes?

"10-day advertisement for addiction and loss" (actually it's at least a month long and features more events than just the main event)

"By 2003, it was still a humble event counting 839 contestants. After Moneymaker, it began to grow exponentially. Last year, there were more than 8,000 entrants. This year, almost 12,000 were expected." (Actually the number dipped this year; you were only off by about 6,000, but don't bother to check that)

"There were countless qualifying tournaments, which means hundreds of thousands and perhaps even millions of people tried to get into this event and failed. They'll be back next year, but with more competition than ever." (Not true, the event will most likely continue to decline before it evens out).

"We'd prefer to win it in the lottery or on a game show or at a felt-covered table." (Yeah, because poker is EXACTLY like the lottery).

He also says those who won in the past, 4-5, don't play for a living. I believe Raymer is a pro now, along with Hachem, Gold, etc.

This was obviously a hack job by someone who has little understanding of the event. And therefore I'm going to stop thinking about it as soon as I leave this period.

Joe Speaker said...

Wow. My favorite part is this:

"Some studies say as many as three percent of all Americans have a gambling problem..."

then this

"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." sum up...3% are problem gamblers but EVERYBODY (except for that "one unlikely person") will be addicts.


Bill said...

"Chris Moneymaker, whose victory in the 2003 World Series of Poker helped pull that event out from under its rock. Beginning with Moneymaker, an accountant, four of the past five WSOP winners have been relative novices, people who don't gamble for a living."

1. 2003 - Moneymaker
2. 2004 - Raymer
3. 2005 - Hachem
4. 2006 - Gold

So if we begin with Moneymaker how do you get 4/5? I guess a name is going to win this year?

If an article of this quality was published about a topic the general public cared about: children, race relations, etc this guy would get the ax. CBS should be ashamed.

DuggleBogey said...

This is absolutely absurd coming from a sports organization, when problem gambling surrounding SPORTS GAMBLING (bookmaking) is a far larger occurrence than problem poker playing. (Of course there is a correlation between the two.)

If he thinks poker should be stopped to stop 3% of problem gamblers, should all sports events be stopped too, to halt the far greater problem of problem sports gamblers?

Bill said...

I should add that if this guy is calling Varkonyi the pro, then he really has shit for brains.

Tully Moxness said...

In a case of perfect irony, when I clicked on Doyel's e-mail link, a Vegas ad flashed on my browser. I'm telling you, the current generation of sports columnists are the worst perpetrators of bitter and unfounded sanctimony. Like many of his ilk, Doyel couldn't be bothered to do any actual research; he's too busy being outraged over the most minor issues. This thing reads like an opinion piece from a high school newspaper, which means he'll probably win a Pulitzer.

I love the Moonves connection. Classic!

Pokerwolf said...

This guy has a screw loose. Good grief.

FYI, the UFC isn't "bare-knuckled fighting". Mixed Martial Arts fighters aren't guys who come off the street, get in a cage, and go at it. It is "legal" (it's backed by various state sports commissions), but the "noble pursuit" is obviously a personal opinion. =)

AlCantHang said...

This guy is known throughout the sports blogging world as an attention whoring prick. He writes these articles just to get a rise out of a certain segment of people and than prints his hatemail for even more attention.

He's been doing it forever and not worth the time.

StB said...

If Al is correct, do you owe me a dollar for a bad beat reporter story?

pokertart said...

So clearly an unresearched, unprofessional piece of tripe designed to stir controversy instead of deliver insight.

What's sad is that poker does have a dark side and he could have written something intelligent and beautiful about that. But that would require talent...

Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Doyel: "the World Series of Poker [is] a celebration of the sad and stupid."

How sad. And stupid.

Anonymous said...

Where to start? The article has the depth of an average forum rant by a 16yo basement dweller (who, more often than not, turn out to be adults anyway - forget about the youth of today, the real idiots are at least twice their age). Which is all fine and dandy on a forum but this guy is getting paid from advertisers´ money and thus that of paying customers which are, well, you and me. That might be stretching it a bit, but not too much.
I can write better drivel than that, for less.

Max said...

Al's right, any columnist that has to have an area of their site dedicated to hate mail isn't worth paying attention to.

That being said, he did add an e-mail from Change100 up there.

change100 said...

Indeed, I have made it into Doyel's "hate mail" section. Here's the excerpt of my email to him and his reply:

From: Change100

So I'm guessing, Mr. Doyel, that you're completely unaware that Jon Moonves, brother of CBS' CEO Les Moonves, is the chip leader at this celebration of the sad and stupid at the World Series of Poker?

You're right -- I had no idea. I've been updating my résumé for about a week now.

I do believe he plagiarized his quippy response from another line I wrote in said email, warning him that he should do that very thing.

As we'd say in Hollywood, "whatta hack."

Buffalo66 said...

Fantasy sports games are as much a gamble as poker - with much less EV.

CBS sportsline promotes its fantasy games from the very page that drivel is located.

Pot meet kettle. GG, Doyel, YGHN.

RaisingCayne said...


Long time reader, first time commenter. Enjoyed the post. I have to say, it was completely shocking! I couldn't believe CBS would publish such drivel. RIDICULOUS!!! I left Mr. Doyel quite the message, thank you for providing the link to the option. He was derogatory, offensive... stereotyping ALL people that enjoy poker as degenerate addicts! I just couldn't freakin' believe it. Thanks for sharing...