You Sanctimonious Little

June 3, 2011

Of all the surprising things that have happened in the poker world over the last six weeks, nothing has been more shocking than the use of the word sanctimonious in print.  I mean let’s face it, sanctimonious is not a word you see used every day.  With the possible exceptions of bibles, sermons, and beat poets hopped up on cheap red wine, the word sanctimonious is fairly rarely ever seen.  In fact, in the whole history of the world the word sanctimonious has never been used before in a press release, much less a one paragraph statement that is meant to break a six week silence and reassure the concerned.  I’ve never met anyone who has ever been reassured by the word sanctimonious.

Try and imagine how the word sanctimonious ever appeared in a press release in the first place.  Seven men from a public relations firm did not sit around a conference table and agree on the usage of the word sanctimonious.  A high priced lawyer with twenty interns on staff did not find the word sanctimonious laid on his desk for red pen approval.  In fact, usage of the word sanctimonious is so rare that it is nearly the DNA equivalent of leaving a stained handkerchief at the scene of a crime.  There is only one place, one possible explanation, about where the word sanctimonious can ever originate from.  Obviously, it was written from the bunker. 

I can see it my mind’s eye, clear as day. It’s like a scene out of Scarface.  Everyone else has left the mansion on the hill.  A bearded man is sitting at a mahogany desk, surrounded by a bottle of twenty year old Scotch and a pile of raw ribeye steaks made from Wagyu beef.  He’s got blood stained teeth, a maniacal grin, and he’s pecking away at a laptop with one finger while swigging scotch and cackling at the screen.  “You sanctimonious little…”  Am I the only one?

Speaking of public relations disasters, I’ve seen some fiascos but rarely one as bad as the last six weeks.  Are you aware of how many companies in the history of the world have had to face a couple of indictments, the freezing of a few hundred million dollars, and possible insolvency without completely cracking up?  This is like business 101 for the past five thousand years.  Compared to these guys, Qadaffi is quite possibly a public relations genius.  Compared to this outfit, Saddam Hussein is a professor of crisis management.  If Donald Trump owned this company, in a million years do you think he would wait six weeks to release a statement and then use the word sanctimonious? 

Just take the case of British Petroleum, as an example.  BP faded a six billion dollar lawsuit, the wrath of Greenpeace and the US government, the extinction of half of the planet’s ocean wildlife and one of the largest disasters in the history of the universe.  They didn’t wait six weeks to release a statement.  They didn’t tell the public that they had no idea how they were going to stop the oil.  What they did do, and wait for this one, they did the only sensible thing in the circumstances…  They BLUFFED!!  How is it possible that a poker company, supposedly endorsed and run by the finest poker minds that have ever been produced, couldn’t run a simple bluff for six weeks while they figured out what the hell they were going to do.  It’s not rocket science.  Smile a few times in public, pay out a couple of the five dollar accounts, let everybody else know the checks are in the mail, grab a photo op next to the Statue of Liberty, send your sponsored pros out on the talk show circuit, villianize the US attorney and run a freaking two barrel bluff like any poker player who’s only just learned the game and is playing 1-2 Hold’em at the Excalibur. How is it possible that these great minds couldn’t just keep a poker face for six damn weeks?  How is it possible that at the first sign of opposition they folded, ran, and tried to see if any casino was still cashing Bellagio chips?  It’s only a few indictments and a couple of hundred million dollars in frozen assets.  If businesses couldn’t bluff their way out of these spots, there’d be no America in the first place.

Bernie Madoff juggled twenty billion dollars for twenty-six years while keeping hedge funds, the SEC and the Russian mafia at bay, and the best poker players in the world can’t spend six weeks holding off a few thousand nineteen year old virgins?  All they had to do was say player points were convertible to online porn and you don’t think that would have bought them enough goodwill to last through the end of the series?  Are you serious?

Since when did this become a game of who farted in a public room?  I never heard the Israelis deny that they owned the car they’ve been driving back and forth from Virginia to Tennessee, even after the drugs were found in the trunk.  They may have fled the state to avoid getting hung by their belt in a lonely jail by a crooked sheriff who’s got the movie Deliverance on DVD, but once safely out of Dodge the Israelis are quite happy to say the that car is theirs and if you can still get your hands on the drugs then they’ll take them back because to be fair someone else owns those drugs and they can definitely find a doctor to write the prescription.  They don’t want to walk around for the next twenty years like Ya-Yo!

This thing has quickly gone from wink, wink, and you know it’s me, all the way to has anyone seen Lord Lucan?  I thought we were playing spin the bottle and not the hide and seek championship of the world.  And the king himself may never be found, for he had the greatest escape route of them all.  The beard has been shaved, the hair has been cropped, and the hat thrown out in the morning trash.  The greatest surgical hands from the back alleys of Brazil have changed the king into a commoner for the rest of time.  But read your bible again, and for those of you this year at the WSOP, beware.  It says that when the Lord returns to the earth he may walk among us.  And for those of you who face a nine minute tank after you’ve only raised the blinds, look closely.  For that short fat man in seat number one who never tips the waitress, doesn’t talk, and won’t ever play a time pot, that, my friend, may very well be Jesus.


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