Friday, May 04, 2007

It's been three years.

From the great Jesse May:


It's started. The erosion of poker truth has begun. In today's world it is he who slings the mud farthest that clamors to the top. Hold your tongue Johnny come lately, watch out Daniel in the lion's den, because poker players know that if a man has fleas he's been lying with the dogs. And the men of respect they know who the dogs are, with quiet mouths and jerky glances they've been fading dogs for years, because it's not so long ago. Maybe the microscope got turned upside down into a megaphone, maybe every televised hand has been parsed twice and passed through Sklansky, but that doesn't mean that past is ashes.

And in the poker world, character has never been fleeting. The players have minds like elephants caught in the steel traps, the world was never so big that you could sit down at the table and nod just once for times gone by. The water's under the bridge with the writing always clear on the wall. Poker's big now, but the story is the same as ever. Someone will be getting fucked, and if you're desperate enough to want to survive, sell your soul and join the team. Don't worry. He'll throw you bones, he'll toss mongrel scraps and promises from above, after all Don King made Holyfield rich and famous. Rich and famous and collared to a post.

The men of respect have mostly been rangers. They grew up with talent, they were burdened with honor, and they banded alone and faded getting fucked. There have been freight trains of others, cattle cars in and rib roast going out, and the few mangy cows that avoided the slaughter bled from the jugular and squealed like pigs before the devil came down and offered the deal. And the men of respect? They padded softly, out of the limelight, from game to game and in the wee hours of the night. Stu Ungar showed up in a coffeshop in Tahoe on the morning of a final table to find the other nine having breakfast as one. He howled. They shouldn't have made him mad. He didn't
collapse with the Ace-king when the pressure came on. And the dogs hated him for it. And they always will. The oppressed people, they never want to be free. All they want is to rule.

Is it true Mr. Molson? Is it true that there are players who will benefit from the fact that no sponsorships are allowed? Is it true that one management firm has sprung up, a company whose office is in some building in Minnesota, the same building as the W pis-pee? Is it true that Bile has handpicked some players to promote, to promote in the advertising and the commercials, leading lights to front the team, while the rest of the players have to listen to prize pool bullshit, to an incessant drone that is aeons old, band alone and fade getting fucked? There was only one player at the Sands who didn't take the money, who said sponsorships are for children while $40,000 was being offered for two hours wearing of a hat. There was one who claimed to be above the fray, but players want to know why. Players want to know why. You think the Furrier's a savior, you think he took something where nothing's been before? Well then Bill Gates is a genius, too, with clean hands to boot. But there's a lot more at stake then one man replacing his Toyota with a Lexus.

There's poker players out there, stars of the game, men of respect who hold their tongue and go about their business, because they've doing it since boo. Since the Furrier was a snake. Since he was a hooded serpent who bought people and smashed them. What you think? You think they don't deserve what's fair? You think you can tell a man who's survived the war that the gun is not loaded?

Make no mistake Johnny. Money is not added. Money is not filtering down. Promises are not being kept. The players are the stars, they always have been, and the overlords will be thieves long before we call them Daddy. Basketball and baseball, there is a reason for players' unions, there is a reason that there is a sharing of television revenue, that players wear logos, that there is a player pension fund. And there's a reason why old boxers drive delivery trucks. One man stands up, a quiet man, a man of respect, and in his own small way he says, look. Do you see this?

Where's the 40 million for the TV contract? Where's all the money that sponsors pay to have their brands associated with the most exciting guy to ever fling two cards and his stack in the pot? You think people want to watch some schmuck who will crumble at the sight of a raise? Everybody wants to watch the golden hearted lions, watch them flock in the jungle. But the man wants them to be stupid. He needs the smart ones to band alone, to fade getting fucked, and the stupid ones can join the team and clamor loudly. Because dissent is the terror of the Furrier.


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