The news is that Victoria Beckham wants to be a United Nations Ambassador. It is in many ways the natural step for a global celebrity, one who no longer has anything left to say about all that music and fashion stuff. You or I might eventually move into middle management, celebrities become UN Ambassadors.
I’ve noticed though that there is an equally worrying trend in the poker community, an unnatural leap into a world they don’t customarily belong. They’re the players who find they have nothing left to say about their chosen profession–all those flops and pot odds–so instead take a leap and start telling us how to eat healthily and get some exercise.
This is all presented in a way that on the face of it sounds quite ground breaking, as though they’re some modern day Francis Drake–in sweat pants–returning to Europe with a sack of potatoes. Or maybe not potatoes because the high levels of glucose can leave you feeling lethargic after the dinner break.
In the past few years there has been something of a revolution amid this generation of players, a group that has only recently discovered these green things that grow in the ground known as “vegetables”. Not only that, it turns out that eating them has a variety of benefits, like better health and more energy. Mother, it seems, was right.
Naturally these discoveries are then lobbed back into the poker community. If you eat properly, they say, you’ll be a better poker player, with more vitality, better able to concentrate. Well yeah, I suppose so. But then it’ll help you be a better plumber, accountant, vacuum cleaner salesman or layabout as well.
I suppose there’s nothing really sinister about this health kick, although it can be unsettling when you’re hearing it in the deli line. I once listened to a table full of thin, bearded high rollers discuss a variety of diets with more vigour than 50-somethings at a “first week free” Weight Watchers meeting. It seemed wrong somehow. Is this really what we want from our poker players?
So do we really want the skeletal and unsmiling Mrs Beckham trying to cheer up the downtrodden of the world? Do we really need poker players to tell us that club sandwiches and hotel burgers, which along with 20 Marlboros has been the cornerstone of poker for generations, will make you feel bad? Must prudishness become part of a game that celebrates the individual and cold hard capitalism, like no other?
Of course it will. These people are unstoppable. But then I’m going to secretly hold on to my steadfast belief—that the good players don’t perform well because they’re healthy, wealthy and wise, but because they can play through heartburn and too large a dose of Ducolax better than anyone else.
Now, pass the Oreos.