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Daniel - Poker Journal

Celebrity Apprentice Finale

11 May 2009

OK, so I've avoided talking about the show all season, but now that it's over, I'll share my thoughts on the finale:

Going into the last task it was pretty clear that Annie was a huge favorite to win. Of the five criteria, she had one of them in the bag- fund raising. Howard Lederer's donation of $100,000 was enough to pretty much match anything Joan could come up with. So for Joan to win she'd have to win 3 of the 4 other areas. That was about as big an underdog to happen as Annie Duke beating Clint Black in a song writing competition.

Herschel Walker just might have been the difference as it turned out. He came up with two key ideas that really helped out Joan's team. I thought Joan did a much better job in choosing her team from the get go. Melissa is obviously an asset in terms of event planning, and they were smart enough to realize that Annie wouldn't pick Melissa. She got outplayed during the picking, and if you have ever done any fantasy sports you'd see why. For example, if you see that your opponents already have the position of catcher filled on their fantasy baseball team, you would pick your catcher last.
Annie goofed by picking Brandi first. She could have picked Brandi last, as Joan did. I was surprised to see this obvious mistake. Seriously, it was a major tactical error. Herschel ended up being a rock star on the challenge by selling the tickets to a friend and giving them away free, and then filling the room with celebrity impersonators. Both ideas were good, and both ideas were much more helpful than ANYTHING Tom Green or Dennis Rodman came up with.
With that mistake, Joan started out with the better team. Clint may have seemed to be tough to deal with, but he was pretty decent in a lot of challenges (not this one at all strangely). You should exclude Annie/Brandi and Joan/Melissa because that was already assuredly a team. Who would you rather of had? Clint Black and Herschel Walker or... um... Dennis Rodman and Tom Green? Joan owned in that round from a strategy perspective by stealing the number 1 pick. This isn't even close to debatable, Annie should have picked Brandi last. I'm a fantasy sports geek, though, and that seemed obvious to me right away.

The show was heated as expected. I was impressed that both teams were able to pull it off after the design team quit. Both rooms looked pretty good. I loved Melissa's idea to incorporate EasyShare with shots of people sharing things. That seemed to make a lot of sense to me and she was lucky to get some great shots.
Dennis did his thing, brought in a few bucks and dressed in drag, but both Tom Green and Clint Black didn't seem too into it. Tom Green didn't seem to really want to work for Annie because he didn't like her abrasive approach, but Clint, he just didn't bring much of anything to the table. The star was Herschel. I honestly believe he won the task for Joan and without him it would have been a landslide victory for Annie.

Both charities were good causes. Everyone will connect with one more than the other, but I thought the little piece they did on Joan's charity showed more raw emotion and connection. Whether you liked Joan or not, you have to feel good about where the money is going and you could see how genuinely connected Joan was with the charity. Her emotional connection was very real and it showed in the piece.

I was surprised that the majority of the celebrities polled overwhelmingly thought Joan deserved it. I thought Annie did a good job in the boardroom sucking up to Dennis, but in the end, he still went with "his girl" Joan. Both of last years finalists also went with Joan which surprised me. I always felt like Pierce was a big Annie fan, but in the end, he went with the numbers, and Joan won 3 out of the 5 criteria. Trace, his vote, and this is all speculation, I think had a little bit to do with the charity chosen as well. That's just a total guess on my part, but I think with him being a full blooded American, he preferred a charity that would benefit people in the U.S. That's just my "read" but I could be way off there. It was like he wanted to say something, but pulled back, and that's what I thought he was going to say but thought it wouldn't be PC to do so.

It was fun watching the show each week. I've watched the show for years now and think it can be pretty interesting. While some people didn't like Pierce from last season, I thought he did a brilliant job. He had to deal with Omarosa, and I can freely say that I can't stand Omarosa. She brought out the nasty in him from time to time, but it often seemed warranted.

I've received several e-mails asking me why I don't try to do the show, so I'll answer all those in one fell swoop: I would consider doing the show. I love competition and it looks like it could be a lot of fun. After watching this season unfold, it actually makes me feel like I should do the show. I wasn't all that thrilled with how the profession of poker was portrayed on the show and I'd like a crack at giving people a different perspective. Too much emphasis was put on words like "deceit" and "manipulation" and while those are tools used at a poker table, I don't believe that if you play poker for a living those tools are something that are necessary in order to succeed in life, or in a game like Celebrity Apprentice.

Congrats to both Joan River and Annie Duke for making the finals and for making some interesting TV! In the end, with all the bickering and fighting, the whole reason to do the show is to raise a lot of money for good causes, and this season of Apprentice was a great success. The poker world played a big role in that this season which should say something about the kind of people poker players are. Many poker players stepped up to the plate to raise a lot of money for charity, and that shouldn't go unnoticed. Good job all.








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