Annie Duke The Whore Viper ….And Nazi

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Apr/27/2009
Annie Duke

I am not exactly sure what a whore pit viper is but I hope it becomes the catch phrase of 2009.

This week we were tasked with creating a 4 page advertorial for Right Guard. The teams were 4 on 2 so one of Athena's members needed to be moved over to KOTU. That morning I was sure it would be me. I figured the producers would want to see Joan and me on the same team. Man, was I wrong. Those producers are much, much smarter than I am for sure because the dynamic between me, Brande and Melissa was much more interesting to watch as was the dynamic between Clint and Jesse. Go producers for moving Jesse on over to KOTU. A much better move than I would have made.

So, I will go over KOTU first, then address Athena.

On KOTU, Jesse really knew magazine advertising.  He is an amazing photgrapher and he owns a magazine (called Garage Magazine) and understands the cutting edge of this kind of layout. Jesse and Joan both gave Clint ideas.  Joan came up with a bunch of big black guys hovering around David Lee (a white guy) to show David under pressure.  What the hell? I don't get that and it seems kind of racist. So that idea was promptly rejected. Jesse came up with this idea of David being the new kid on the block with the pressures of New York City to deal with. He drew out an amazing two page spread with David in front of a beautiful cityscape. That is the idea KOTU went with. Good call.

Jesse went out to photograph the cityscape while Clint stayed back to lay out the project. I found the interactions on the team interesting. As far as I could tell, Joan just stayed out of the way once her ideas were rejected and left Clint and Jesse to do all the work. Clint incorporated a lot of Jesse's ideas as well as some of his own. Jesse got pissed that Clint wasn't executing all of Jesse's ideas. Now I am a huge fan of Jesse James. I think he is incredibly talented. I think he is incredibly intelligent. I think he deserves to be in the final two. But in this case, I feel the need to defend Clint Black. Obviously, I wasn't in the room so I am only looking at the edit. But it seemed that Clint was trying really hard to be accommodating of Jesse's ideas and really incorporate them. In fact, the final layout seemed to reflect most of what Jesse wanted. Jesse, though, decided to absent himself from the process at some point. Even when Clint was begging for input, Jesse refused to give him any. In this case I think Jesse let his personal feelings about Clint (he clearly doesn't like him) to get in the way of being a team player. Had the team lost, I would have actually thought Jesse should be fired for shutting Clint out like that when Clint was begging for help. I never thought I would say that because in terms of overall game play I don't think there is a comparison between the two. Jesse is the much, much stronger player.

Over on Athena, Brande stepped up as Project Manager and doled out the tasks. She tasked me with doing the brand messaging and the presentation and the slogan and and and. I was actually very resistant to being tasked with so much. I tried to insist that Brande do the presentation as I felt that was a lot to put on my shoulders. In the end Brande really wanted me to do all that so I did what my Project Manager asked of me, reluctantly. Melissa was tasked with doing all the photo editing and layout work. Brande oversaw everything.

I came up with the concept of David Lee naked with the saying "Right Guard: The only thing I ever need to wear" That is the concept Brande chose to go with, which upset Melissa. In fact, everything upset Melissa. When I called Brande to let her know the photographer had said it was an advantage to shoot David first, Melissa got upset that we were keeping secrets. I am not sure why since we were on speaker phone. The fact is Melissa felt like she was being set up for failure by me and Brande. But that is actually not true. I am not saying that I would not have done that if I had to in order to succeed in the game. Of course I would have. But I didn't need to. Melissa was setting herself up for failure with no help from me by being an ineffective fundraiser and abrasive in the boardroom to Trump, to Piers, to George, etc. At the end of the game, those things really matter and I already knew that Melissa was going to have trouble getting to the end. The dynamic with her mother was already bringing her down, the dynamic with the people in the boardroom as well. And the fundraising capabilities. Brande was, plain and simple, the stronger player.

But, amazingly, in the end I think we all worked very well together. I took Melissa aside to try to make her feel more included. Brande did the same. Because in the end we are a team and we wanted to win and not have to face the boardroom and go into the next task a team of 2 against a team of 3. I actually to this day think we made a very good layout. And I stand behind the presentation I did and was extremely surprised my Melissa's comments about my presentation. She watched me practice that at least 5 times and never once said she didn't like it. She never once said it wasn't conversational enough. Even she thought it was bad, why didn't she ever say that to my face? Why did she only critique me behind my back? My only explanation is that she was trying to set me up for failure, the very thing she accused me of doing to her. I would have liked the constructive criticism to tell you the truth since I was reluctant to do the presentation in the first place. I really felt Brande should be doing it.

So we go in the boardroom and this interesting dynamic between Clint and Jesse comes out. I knew Jesse did not like Clint. But that was hard for me to watch because, again, from what I saw Clint was actually trying to cooperate for once in the game and I could see he felt very shut out and thrown under the bus in all that. From what I could see the layout did mostly come from Jesse's ideas...just not 100% of the layout. And when I saw their work I knew we were going to lose. They did a really good job. So I am surprised Jesse was so upset about the whole thing in the first place except that he just plain old doesn't like Clint. That is my only explanation.

On our side, the executives liked the concept of David Lee half naked and they liked the branding but they thought the execution was boring. That was their words and that was our downfall. Athena lost the task. I was very nervous that I might be the one to go simply because I had been tasked with so much. The thing I had going for was exactly the compliment Cramer had paid to me earlier...that I had done most of the work so if we won I would get  a lot of credit it but I had also set myself up not be be fired because I had been so vocal in making sure that everyone knew I did not ask to have so much put on my shoulders. But that might not matter, even if I had played the hand right. Even if I had made sure I left all the decision making power with my PM I still might get axed for the failed layout since I had done so much of it.

As soon as we got in the boardroom, though, it became clear right away that I was not in danger. Trump, Cramer and Ivanka all quizzed both Brande and Melissa about whether or not I had taken over the task and everyone vehemently agreed that I had not. That really put me out of hot water and, interestingly enough, it was Melissa who really argued the most strongly in my favor when she was trying to argue I should be fired.

http://www.nbc.com/the-celebrity-apprentice/video/clips/week-9-who-would-melissa-fire/1091268/

The other point was that, actually, in the end the execs thought the photos were boring and that happened to be the one thing that was not my job. That was a lucky break for me since I had so much on my shoulders in this task. So it came down to Brande and Melissa and who would be fired. When I was asked about this I had an interesting dilemma. At this point in the game, Brande and I had become very good friends so my loyalties certainly were with her. However, I also knew that going into the next task I would a) have to be project manager if Brande went along with me since she had already stepped up twice and b) that if we were to lose I would have a much weaker argument against Brande than I would against Melissa. Being PM for sure on the next task would be a tough spot since the PM is usually the most under fire. And Brande was the stronger player to boot. She had raised much more money than Melissa, second only to me in fact in the game. She was an incredibly hard worker. And, this is really important, she was really well liked. Much more well liked than me, obviously. Melissa, on the other hand, was a weak fundraiser, was not well liked at all and would have to be project manager on the next task since she had lost on her first try so would need to try for a win in order to win the whole game. So taking Melissa long with me would be a better play.

But I really went against game play here and decided to argue for Melissa getting fired. Why? Because I really just felt Brande deserved to be in the game more and I just plain really like and respect her as a person. So when push came to shove, I recommended Melissa get fired even though it felt like it was against my short term best interests. I figured the life equity issue was much more important to me at that point...walking away from the game knowing that I had been loyal to my friend, to Brande.

So, in the end Trump fired Melissa and, well, you saw the meltdown from the Rivers for yourself. Folks! It's a game where you get fake fired from a fake job all in the hopes of raising a ton of money for charity! Really, calling anyone a whore pit viper under those circumstances is an extreme reaction and, frankly, not losing with grace. And Joan Rivers. Well. What can I say there? As far as Brande goes...as much as Joan likes to claim I called Brande an idiot she is the only one who has disparaged Brande's intellect falling on the age old your a dumb blond insult. Brande defended herself pretty well against that one pointing out if she is so stupid then why is she still there and not Melissa. Good point Brande. For everyone thinking I somehow manipulated Brande in order to get ahead in the game I would venture to say it is quite the opposite. Brande outplayed Melissa pretty nicely.

Now, as for Joan's comments about poker players...well...what I said on the show is true. Poker players are the most wonderful people you will ever meet. Poker players are thoughtful and generous and are good for their word. I think it is so interesting that the group that has come out the most strongly in support of the show and in support of these charities, poker players, are so vilely disparaged by Joan on the show. But it was clear Joan doesn't care much about that when she said, "Oh stop with all this charity nonsense." Joan can attack me all she wants. She can attack my morals. She can call me a Nazi and compare me to Hitler. I signed up for that when I agreed to do the show. I was there to defend myself. But to use such a broad brush to insult a whole group of people who did not sign up for that kind of abuse, implying they are criminals, saying outright that they give blood money and are worse than white trash. Well now I am angry. To insult me is one thing. I can take it. To insult my friends who have been nothing but generous and selfless in their support of charity. That is a whole other thing and that is where you can get a rise out of me.

Joan saying that all poker players have no last names and are worse than white trash is like me saying that all comedians are miserable, depressed people who take their angst, anger and unhappiness out on everyone around them. Clearly, that would be unfair. 

Annie Duke is a spokesperson for the online poker website www.ultimatebet.com

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