It's hard to root for Annie Duke.
However, I know I should. It's good for poker for her to go as long as possible on the show, and for her to put poker players in a positive light. Them showing up, (Eric Seidel this week), and donating money helps to mainstream the game/sport/hobby--whatever it is--helps.
Joan Collins--I'm sorry--Joan Rivers (the other grandmother whose face at any moment could unpop the stitches behind her ears and send her nose to california ina plastic surgery slingshot) I thought would be the Omarosa type that Annie Duke has become. But Rivers is actually coming off more like an endearing grandmother. She and Annie are probably headed for a bust-up. I have a feeling Joan's daughter and plastic surgery twin Melissa will get caught in the middle.
Expect poker and Annie to become the butt of more jokes by Joan as the season progresses. That may be bad. Here's the good, Annie, is clearly a competitive woman and it's obvious from the start she is there to win. Though she may turn off viewers, nobody will be able to challenge her as conforming to the many negative stereotypes there are about poker players.
One great poker-esque moment, that the cameras barely captured, was when the women were discussing the boardroom beatdown the men were undergoing and they were privvy to watching on their closed circuit TV. The women are dishing about how they'd handle it, and you see just a quick shot of Annie processing all that. You could see her strategizing for a future boardroom sit down with just one look.
It's like sitting down at a new table before a tournament and people talking about the poker books they read, or the home game they only play in, and the two or three ringers at the table are just absorbing it all for later subsequent use. Actually, it was worse. It was more like the look you make when a guy shows a terrible call and exposes just how bad he is, and you are already plotting to exploit it.
One rumor I heard part of the reason Johnny Bax was not re-upped as a UB guy was because Annie Duke called him one weekend for him to come and help her out with a Celebrity Apprentice task. He was at his daughter's soccer game or something and said no. Following week he was sponsorless (source poker-road radio interview).
I wonder which of the guys that showed up were UB executives. Insert superuser joke here. Don't got one? Maybe they are fixing it for Annie by writing checks that will bounce after the boardrooms have been completed.
One last thought, you got to wonder if at some point the filming of this show overflaps the floundering economy and these celebrities won't be able to just call up a deep-pocketed friend to write a bigger check than the other team. Donnie Deutsch: "A $10,000 cup-cake? Even if it comes with a plug on NBC, F-U Tom Green!"