Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

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My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

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    Monday, June 28, 2004

    Should Poker Be An Olympic Sport?

    The Athens Games loom, and before every Olympiad there's a push for new events to be added. Many of these sports aren't sports, of course--how often do you see kids synchronized swimming for fun? And then you have these X-Games type sports, like mogul skiing. Who the hell got bribed to put this in? It's hard for me to get too worked up about the sudden increase in medals the US has won in recent Winter Olympics when most of those medals were won in events that appear to have been created during the aftermath of some drunken fraternity ski party.

    Don't get me wrong--I like the X-Games. Some nut soaring 50 feet in the air on a motorcycle and doing a triple somersaut before landing is far more impressive to me than, say, a figure skater doing a sit-spin. But every year more and more weirdo games get introduced that maybe 140 people in the world actually play. And that's just not interesting.

    If I ran the International Olympic Committee...well, I'd probably be living in a chalet somewhere in Switzerland and be called "Excellency" a lot. But if I ran the IOC I would implement a few rules to keep the riff-raff games out of the Games. To wit:

    -- Any event that uses equipment you'd find in a 9-year-old girl's toy chest is eliminated. This means that rhythmic gymnastics goes bye-bye. No way a gold medal should be awarded for twirling a ribbon, no matter how skillfully.

    -- Any event where French people get to judge the winners and loses is gone. This means all figure skating is deep-sixed. I don't like watching skating because I don't enjoy watching 14-year-olds compete knowing that one tiny, tiny mistake could destroy 4 years of hard work and end her career forever. I don't need that kind of pathos on my screen, thank you.

    -- Any event where the best players in the world don't bother showing up shouldn't be an Olympic event. Bye-bye baseball. And tennis, though more and more top players are playing these days. Still, see ya. Soccer? Olympic soccer doesn't even get much play in the countries where soccer is pretty much the only thing that hold the society together. And pretty soon basketball will be superfluous as well, now that the top foreign players play in the NBA and the top US players can't be bothered to show up.

    -- Actually, pretty much any sport where the Olympics isn't a huge deal, where winning a gold medal wouldn't be the high point of your career, should be eliminated. Winning the gold in downhill skiing marks you as a legend. Winning a gold medal in baseball means you either aren't good enough now or aren't good enough anymore to play in the bigs.

    And that's why poker won't, and shouldn't, be an Olympic event. It wouldn't be bigger than the World Series of Poker. Unless...unless every seat in Olympic poker cost, say, $1 million, and each nation could send as many players as they wanted. Top three places pay out. A billion dollar prize pool...hey, Denmark could send Gus Hansen and maybe come away with $500 million for their national treasury. Lots of good players from the Middle East and Asia, and for many of those nations half a billion bucks is actually some serious money.

    But, no, I don't think poker will be in the Beijing Olympics. There are some sports that should be in there, tho:

    -- Dodgeball. I believed this even before the Vince Vaughn-Ben Stiller movie, which I haven't seen. I liked The Ben Stiller Show a lot, but there's something about the guy now that makes me grit my teeth. I think it started with Zoolander, which I also didn't see. The ads for it grated on me. Plus I read something that Stiller is considered one of the rudest celebrities when it comes to autograph seekers.

    Anyway, you don't think dodgeball wouldn't be a HUGE draw on TV? Teams of predatory and rifle-armed dudes whipping balls at each other's heads would be great stuff. And while I'd never buy a deoderant endorsed by Jim Breuer, it would be fun to see Randy Johnson pegging a gaggle of cowering Frenchies or Canadians or Japanese.

    -- Tug-of-War. This could be, and should be, one of the seminal Olympic events. Which nation has the most pull, literally. You'd have a few weight classes, and then the big event itself--no-limit T-O-W. Get 10 of your beefiest and strongest and pit them against the other side and make sure you have a strong rope.

    Those are the big two. I had a few more ideas but I lost them. I just got a phone call and I might have another interview coming up for another job, so that's some good news. Get working again, keep looking for that great job...tho it will cut into my sleeping, blogging, cat, and poker time. Oh well, at least I won't have to worry about my wife suffocating me in my sleep for the insurance money. Or I won't have to worry so much. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

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