Normally when poker finds its way into the mainstream UK press, it's either in the form of an anti-gambling editorial or a business section reporting on the decline or explosion of the industry. However, this week poker has featured in several mainstream newspapers, all of which for frankly bizarre reasons.
The week started with the rather startling story of the alleged 'strip poker' games taking place amongst the British Forces. While we really don't to touch that issue with a barge pole, it did get me to thinking about the lost game of strip poker. With the ever expanding schedule on the WSOP calendar, maybe there should be room for a $10,000 championship event? It really would be one of those rare events where you didn't want to see Phil Hellmuth and Doyle (in fact 99% of the poker community) at the final table.
Another big one which you'll find on the back pages of all the papers this morning is the story of Shane Warne stepping down from first-class cricket, even though he had a contract for one more year with Hampshire. Depending on which paper you read he has done this for different reasons, some say he is going to spend more time with his family, some say he is spending more time in the Indian Premier League and others speculate it is to further his poker career.
We already knew about the latter, having reported to you rumours about him signing with 888.com at the start of the year. The poker angle has largely been reported very tongue in cheek, with a certain sneer in the tone of several tabloids. Of course Shane Warne wasn't the only celebrity poker player in the press this week, Anthrax Guitarist Scott Ian was unveiled as an Ultimatebet pro this week and Shannon Elizabeth was booted out of the US version of Dancing with the Stars. Not a great week for the 'celebrity poker player'.
Thankfully it wasn't all doom and gloom for poker players in the newspapers this week as we end with a fun story. The Daily Mail revealed a study which suggests that we get our love of poker from our Chimpanzee ancestors. Apparently Chimpanzees will always opt for the 'high-risk' option when faced with a decision. This derives from common chimps, who normally would have been herbivores, electing to hunt for food as the rewards are greater. In controlled experiments, Chimps would be presented with a choice of two bowls, one would always have four grapes underneath, the other would have between 1 and 7 grapes. The chimps were much more likely to gamble than other primates, most often opting for the high risk bowl.
So next time you are down your local casino and that great big hairy idiot in front of you can't lay down a flush draw, you know where he gets it from.