With the famous phrase “You’re fired” Donald Trump ended popular poker pro Annie Duke’s momentous run on the Celebrity Apprentice.
Duke was forced to settle for second place in the finale, falling to fierce rival, comedian Joan Rivers, despite raising more money for her chosen charity in the final task.
Despite initially competing on the same team, Rivers and Duke continually clashed vehemently throughout the series and producers were set up with a made-for-TV special when both women made it through to the final two.
Rivers earned the ire of poker players everywhere continually attacking Duke with anti-gambling tirades. At one stage during the series Rivers stated her belief that “poker players are trash.”
Duke’s fund-raising efforts were well supported by the poker community and Rivers took aim stating that the donations were “money with blood on it”, “mafia money” and reiterating her wish to “win with honour.”
While Rivers may not have appreciated Duke’s efforts, plenty of people, especially the poker community, rallied behind her challenge for the title.
World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said Duke’s appearance on the show “was representing poker players beautifully.” The significance of a poker player being cast in a major mainstream television series was not lost on Pollack who labelled it “a quantum leap forward for the mainstreaming of poker into our pop culture.”
For those unfamiliar with the popular reality television show, its format requires contestants to collaborate on various tasks that test their communication, cooperation and management ability, while attempting to make money and achieve other business objectives.
Many famous identities from the poker world helped Duke with donations and support throughout the series including Howard Lederer, Phil Hellmuth, Andy Bloch, and Perry Friedman.
Despite Rivers emerging victorious in the show she was beaten in the fund-raising stakes by Duke. The comedian raised over a half a million dollars for her chosen charity a US-based organisation whose mission is to deliver meals to patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Duke on the other hand was able to raise over $730,000 for her cause, Refugees International, a group that works to improve living conditions for displaced peoples around the world.
The final show concluded with a showdown between the two combatants in which Rivers again raised questions about Duke’s funding sources. Donald Trump probed Duke on whether or not “degenerate gamblers” had contributed to her cause, to which Duke responded that poker was a “skill game” and should not be regarded as gambling.
“But it is gambling,” responded Trump.
“Less than the stock market is,” was Duke’s reply, a point which Trump agreed with.
Despite this point, Duke was fired and Rivers declared the winner of the series, You can catch Annie Duke in the full 11 week run of the series which has recently begun airing on pay-tv here in Australia.
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