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Celebrity Apprentice Annie Dukes it Out

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Reality TV is a staple of American viewing habits, from American Idol and the Biggest Loser to Extreme Make Over, people are tuning in by the millions. Another form of reality TV or maybe sports is poker shows. On any given day somewhere in the hundreds of channels most of us receive on cable or satellite, there is a poker game on. These range from High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark to the World Series of Poker and WPT events. This season, poker and reality TV have melded, in the Celebrity Apprentice television program.

The original Apprentice program showcased fiercely competitive young executive types clawing each other’s eyes out to win a job working for Donald Trump. Viewers soon learned that nothing was too underhanded or over the line to the contestants, winning was everything. After ratings waned, the Apprentice was transformed into “Celebrity Apprentice.” It appears viewers would rather see a famous jaw drop when they hear those words “You’re Fired” than watch the reaction of Ms. Average Jane. This season was of particular interest to poker players as we got to watch Annie Duke show her mettle and duke it out with Joan Rivers. While Annie may not have been a famous face outside the poker community, her appeal and recognition has jumped ten-fold because of her prime time exposure this season. It seems she has also amassed a lot of new fans due in no small part to her looks. Let’s face it, put Annie up against the 75 year old Rivers and on sheer looks alone Annie will win hands down. And it is not just an age thing either; Rivers has had so many face lifts she looks like a molded plastic caricature.

Throughout the show, Annie not only showed her class and intelligence but her great restraint as well. As the show wound down into the final few episodes, it was obvious that when they got to the final table it would be Rivers vs. Duke. After Rivers daughter Melissa got fired, she threw a vulgarity laced fit and Mother followed suit. Rivers said to her team, “You have a Nazi and a follower. I don’t work with scum.”

When Melissa should have left the building after she heard those famous words “You’re Fired!” she instead ran to Mamma, while yelling at the Celebrity Apprentice staff in the process. Two producers were the target of her venom when, she stated, “F**k you. F**k you. I’m not doing an interview.”

While passing Duke and team mate Brande Roderick in the hallway, the young Rivers showed more class by saying, “F**k you both. Goodbye.”

Mother Joan, while packing her bags to leave with her daughter told Duke and Roderick, respectively, “You are a piece of shit. You are a stupid blonde.”

Then Rivers slammed poker players everywhere, stating, “Your people give money with blood on it. I met your people in Las Vegas. None of them have last names. You’re a poker player. A poker player! That’s beyond white trash. Poker players are trash, darling, trash.”

The Rivers duo then were heard shouting, “Lying f**king whores” as they entered the elevator, marking the official start of the mudslinging round.

Of course Rivers didn’t stay gone, she returned to fight on. It was hard to understand if Rivers was putting on a show or really despised Annie while comparing Duke to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini; or when accusing Annie’s friends who contributed to her charity of being "members of the Mafia.” Other accusations included Annie being a backstabber and dishonest.  In the final boardroom scene Trump sat silent as Rivers continually insulted Annie, interrupting her incessantly when Annie was trying to explain herself.

Last week Rivers commented to Poker News Daily about the feud with Annie: “It started from the very beginning. Annie is a very good poker player obviously, but plays people like poker. Poker should be kept at the poker table. God knows I love poker. If you look at that painting with the dogs playing poker, I’m the fifth one on the right. Suddenly, it evolved into “Joan doesn’t like poker players.” I started in Las Vegas.

My downstairs neighbor plays slots, so it’d be like me saying, “I hate slots.” It got out of hand and became ridiculous. My father worked his way through medical school playing poker. What I do like about poker players is that they keep the masseuses up all night in Las Vegas. No one uses masseuses at night except for poker players and entertainers.”


Annie commented on how she feels she conducted herself by saying, “I was proud of myself. All I did was defend poker players. They came out and helped raise money, asking nothing in return. Poker players believe in charity. Where were Joan’s friends? She was disparaging my friends and my community, but where was her community in all of it? She had raised somewhere between $25,000 and $40,000. Poker players came out and raised $200,000 for charity. I’m not sure that I was angry at anything she said before that moment. I signed up for the show, signed a release, and knew that I might have to defend myself against attacks like that. The community, however, doesn’t deserve scandalous attacks like the one Joan made.”

Many viewers were shocked when Annie Duke heard those fateful words by Donald Trump which declared the aging comedienne Rivers the winner. These viewers have been very vocal posting on blogs and message boards across the internet.

On Entertainment Weekly John posted a comment shared by many:

Ok....Joan Rivers had the nerve to trash Annie and poker players in general.  
Let’s see. Gabe Kaplan....former TV star, stand up comic, and now poker player...yeah White Trash there.
Matt Damon.....major movie star. Has been known to play poker from time to time. Yeah...most definitely White Trash there.
Don Cheadle. Movie Star and poker player. No White trash issue there...lol
Jennifer Tilly. Actress and Poker player. Oh yeah White Trash there.
Ben Affleck has been known to play some poker from time to time too. Oh yeah White trash there too....off the scale.
Let’s see, Chris "Jesus" Fergusson has a masters in math. A few others too. Yeah white trash too.
The Rivers Women showed a lot of class with their exit a couple of Sundays ago. Can you tell I'm not a big Joan Rivers fan. Any respect or positive feelings towards her went out the door with that rant and rave.


Most agree the Rivers camp showed no class and Joan was chosen purely as a ratings ploy and because she is buddies with Trump. There is also no way to know how much of the melee was scripted and staged or right off the cuff. The sad part is Rivers was voicing what many narrow minded people do think of poker players. The good part is Annie did her best to prove that negative generalization for what it is – wrong, ignorant and narrow minded.

*Editor's Note - you can find Annie at Ultimate Bet Poker*

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