Thursday, December 30, 2004

Putting My Foot In It....

I managed to go nearly the whole of 2004 without offending, annoying or upsetting anyone (apart from those I intended to offend, annoy or upset of course!)

Then last night "Gazza" posted this on the Mob forum:

Tsunami Relief Tourney on Stars
Posted by Gazza on 29/12/2004, 10:02 pm

A private tournament has been arranged on PokerStars with half of the prize pool to be donated to the International Red Cross to aid those effected by the Tsunami.

The tournament is to be held at 11PM GMT this Sunday (2nd Jan). The password is zoohelp

For more details please see here.


I was immdiately repulsed.

I felt it was totally inappropriate to run a poker tournament to raise money for this disaster.

Poker can easily be seen as a metaphor with what's wrong with the Western world. Greed, decadence and laziness. Tens of thousands of people are dying and we run a poker tournament. It just didn't feel right.

I had to stick my oar in:

Ugh
Posted by The Camel on 29/12/2004, 10:08 pm

Tens of thousands of people die and some bright spark decides to organise a poker tournament to raise money for victims.

Is it just me who thinks this is tasteless in the extreme?

Just make a donation if that's what you want to do. But don't play a poker tournament in memorial of those who died. It is unbelieveably tacky IMO.

I also notice pokerstars are taking $1 per player. Classy.



The way I saw it, if you want to give money to the disaster that's all very laudable, but do you really need to be prompted to give something by playing a poker tournament?

Gazza and I went backwards and forwards a couple of times and then I went to bed.

When I turned the computer on this morning I had softened my stance appreciably and realised it is better to give something, however small, by playing this tournament than nothing.

I wasn't prepared for the litany of abuse I had suffered on the forum:

Vlad reckoned "I suck"
Byron Kincaid called me "a prat"
Anthony claimed I was "point scoring"

Overnight Pokerstars had agreed to not rake the event (good news), Lee Jones donated $500 of his own money to the fund (Not a surprise, he is without doubt, a classy guy) but they had also added extra prizes of hats and jackets to final tablists.

Aggressive Flair summed it all up rather cynically, but correctly:

Re: Extra prizes and Donations added by PokerStars and Lee Jones
Posted by Aggressive Flair on 30/12/2004, 2:51 pm

Will the luxury leather wool jacket be embossed with a tastefull logo depicting a large wave?
What about a nice trophy aswell.I love collecting trophies.You can keep the hats.



It is perhaps the fact the winner will make maybe $500 from winning the event which I find most distasteful and to top it off it will have a nice, cosy jacket to remember his achievement by. If there was no tsunami, he would never have made the money. Surely it would be more tasteful for all the players to just give the $11 to oxfam or the Red Cross or whoever?

Do I wish I had never made my original post on hm? Definitely.
Do I think the event is tasteless in the extreme? Yes.
Is playing this tournament better than giving nothing? Of course.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith,

I gave up posting on the Hendon Mob about six weeks ago and have no regrets about it. The forum is going down the toilet in my opinion. All that garbage about online action flops and the hero-worship makes me sick. I got fed up with putting in so much effort and getting only abuse in return. After three weeks of non-posting, I mentioned this to the people at Gutshot and got a writing deal, so at least if I get insulted now, I have the consolation of knowing that I'm being paid for it. Anyone who has anything interesting to say should ask themselves why they are giving content away for free. Since you have a deal with the Mob, I guess you're stuck with it!

With respect to the recent disaster-relief idea, I do think that it's tacky. If you want to give money, give money. I'm going to give a pony to the 1st decent charity I see shaking a tin. Does anyone recommend a particular one as being more cost effective than others?

DY

11:09 AM  
Blogger Ignatious said...

i concur.

tasteless doesn't begin to describe it.

1:57 PM  
Blogger The Camel said...

Ignatious,

What is your email address?

I will fill you in on the other stuff if you're still interested.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Felicia :) said...

I'm kind of on the fence about this one. A part of me says that there were no mal intentions from the word go. But if there were no mal intentions, why did Stars want to charge a "fee" per player before they were shamed into giving it up?

I did respond to your October post about me, btw. Sorry that I stumbled into your blog so late.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Luckyblind said...

I have to agree that it is not in the best taste and it smacks of publicity stunt. However anything that raises money for such a tragedy has to be good in the greater scheme of things. I would imagine a lot of the prizewinners would donate their winnings anyway or I am I painting too good a picture of poker players ?

Keep up the good blogging for the new year.

3:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think the tourney was set up privately so perhaps PS didnt have their attention drawn to it until sign up was under way? i also note it is suggested you can contribute all of your winnings to the fund also should you cash.

i initially thought this a good idea until i gave it some thought and the point about the rake and being able to donate the full amount directly came to mind - tasteless or not however taste is always a matter of errr "taste" - what you (or i )find offensive is a damn good idea to someone else and perhaps coaxes them into giving (or giving more) by offering them the chance to donate through another medium, anything that puts more money in the coffers is a goos thing

rgds
Stephen

ps i wont be playing

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of companies donate to charity - the charity gets the funding they need and the companies benefit in terms of publicity/image.

We live in a capitalist society and that is the way things work.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

Sorry have to strongly DIASGREE with your altered opinion on this one Keith.

Your first instincts were completely right and this was a VERY tacky move on Poker Stars part imo.

If you want to do something for charity and raise a few extra quid then that's fine but when people do something for charity and give the impression that it's really about improving your own individual profile then it is tacky.

It's a bit like Phil Collins flying fom one Live Aid concert in London to one in New York to play at both...rather than being a charity driven thing it smacks more of "Look at Me and Give me All this Attention because of what I am doing" as a publicity gimmick rather than drawing attention to a worthwhile cause.

The again maybe I'm getting cynical in my old age or maybe it's because I've been around long enough to have developed a sixth sense about how scummy a lot of people and organizations are.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

This whole thing is beginning to make me puke.

First the British government offers a paltry amount in aid which later gets boosted up to £50 million through sheer embarassment as a direct consequence of the wonderful generosity of the British public (Note they did this after their contribution is shown to be pathetically inadequate by comparison).

And now in a similar vein we get Poker Stars trying to make themselves look good by saying they will match all the money raised on their site.

Blatant self promoting PR exercises imho.

Everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon but only as long as they get some credit for it.

If they want to give then they should just GIVE and not shout it from the roof tops to make themselves look better.

Now this is getting VERY VERY TACKEY.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could have a whip round in the chippy o wise owl

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not see how the British government donating £50 million in aid can be construed in any way, shape or form as being tacky.

As the sheer scale and magnitude of the disaster became apparent they realised that the initial amount donated was inadequate and upped it to a much more appropriate amount. Other governments have done more or less the same.

As for Poker Stars, even if they were doing it partly for PR purposes, I would not perceive their doubling of any money raised as being tacky and nor would the victims benefiting from the proceeds raised. Would you rather they contributed nothing?

Is the Premiership donating £1 million to the disaster fund a tacky PR exercise as well? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. But who cares? It's an insignificant consideration. This is an unprecedented natural disaster in modern times and I don't think the victims will be too concerned about the "tackiness" of any of the $1 billion plus donated worldwide thus far.

Bungle

6:34 PM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

How incredibly naive it is to believe that the government would have upped it's contribution if it hadn't been for the general publics contribution making the original government token gesture seem so pathetic.

Now if that isn't tacky I don't know what is?

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything that the British Government gives is OUR MONEY. The idea that the public somehow 'shamed' the government into giving more is redundant. IT'S THE SAME MONEY!

DY

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We obviously have totally different understandings of the word tacky because I fail to see how donating £50 million to a worthy cause can be considered to be displaying poor taste.

Bungle

7:16 AM  
Blogger The Truth said...

Hi Keith, Dy & Koumari Boy

Wanted to wish all three of you a happy new year.

I cannot really coment on this debate much as I would love to. I would just like to 'jump to the defence' of Keith, DY & Koumari Boy (not that they really need it) especially in light of the very personal criticisms that have been laid at them on other forums recently. In my dealings with all three they have shown to me that they are each intelligent, caring and honest gentlemen. Sure each are outspoken, but in everything they post they remain honest to themselves and to the beliefs they hold.

I hope that during 2005 they still feel comfortable enough to post their views on the wide range of subjects that interest them (even though I may not personally agree with many of them) especially poker related topics.

Best Wishes

Davey

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point from DY.
I think the government underestimated the extent of the disaster initially,and have upscalled the figure.Including the EEC contributions,personal donations and corporate pledges Britain will provide a huge amount,possible more than most.
I don't think the USA has been especially generous though.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly, PokerStars had nothing to do with the initial setting up of the tournament. GrannyMae created a Private tournament which automatically had a default juice attached, as soon as PS found out about the tournament they removed the fee, added extras and began their own campaign.

The tournament and donations from 2+2 has now generated over $10,000 to the victims of this disaster. Tacky or not this is money going to a good cause that probably wouldn't have been generated (at least not as much) without the tournament.

Gazza

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Koumari Boy,

Would you rather PokerStars not match the tens of thousands of dollars that the Stars players have raised to keep them from looking "tacky"?

Gazza

5:57 AM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

I do NOT and have NEVER said that raising the money was not worthwhile and of course those receiving couldn't really care how the money came in as long as it comes in (that is and remains the most important factor in all this).

BUT I STRONGLY object to the way everyone who gives (government and company wise) seems to want to get some glory or credit for doing something that the overwhelming majority of individuals are doing without any thought for recognition or personal reward.

Furthermore I still maintain that the UK government along with others only upped their contibutions through embarrassment brought about by Joe public.

For everyone's information: In a recent survey (source Melbourne Herald Sun)

Top Non Government Donators per Capita:
1. Sweden 7.00 per head
2. Australia 3.95
3. Britain 2.46

Australian Dollars but these are the ratios as of 2 days ago.

...and on a final point....

The Rev Tim Costello Chief Executive Officer of World Vision (a charitable organisation) has changed the official policy of the organisation to one that WILL now allow donations from gambling groups.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

KB, you: "STRONGLY object to the way everyone who gives (government and company wise) seems to want to get some glory or credit for doing something that the overwhelming majority of individuals are doing without any thought for recognition or personal reward."

Have they asked for credit? Do you think the government should donate anonymously? And if they did, don't you think they'd come under fire for not donating, which in turn would force them to reveal that they had in fact donated.

Also, isn't entirely plausible that the government upped their contribution when the scale of the devastation became apparent?

Similarly with pokerstars; have they been trumpeting the fact that they are matching donations or are they merely using this inducement to encourage people to make their own donations? Is it 'worthier' to donate £100 anonymously, or to do it via pokerstars, who in turn will double your £100?

This is hardly comparable to something like Band Aid in which the money the performers can expect to earn by association with the record, will exceed the amount that they raise.

Best

Jamie

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Titmus here,

Maybe the 'donations' of the UK government could be funded by abolishing the Overseas Development Departemnt?

8:36 AM  
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