When your career is playing poker, but you're so bored by the game that you make all-in calls with 8-6 offsuit whenever you play on TV, you have to figure out new ways to entertain yourself. And last night Daniel Negreanu did, by paying some guy $1,000 to get a tattoo. And not just any tattoo... He bribed the guy to permanently mark himself with the message "Loves C---" for about the price of a night of bottle service at Tao.
Really? Daniel Negreanu did that? Let's go to the November 12, 2010 @RealKidPoker Twitter feed (here, here, and here):
I'm paying a guy to get his 1st tattoo. $1000 to put "Loves C---" on his arm. He's down! This is so funny wow! So fun.
The tattoo artist is like the funniest guy ever he's laughing and cracking jokes the whole time. Here it is: http://plixi.com/p/56427035
Ladies and gentleman. Say hello to @dommatteucci what a trooper. Courtesy of Simply Ink "exotic tattoos" haha! http://plixi.com/p/56427631
Here's what Dom Matteucci, the man with the ink, had to say on Twitter (here and here):
Just got "loves cock" tattooed on my arm for $1000. Thanks @RealKidPoker
Waking up. Tattoo still on arm. Shit.
Of course, there was a thread about the prank in the 2+2 forums, including this account of events by Negreanu himself:
Ok some of you guys are just ridiculous. This guy is an actor creating a pilot for a show where he does ridiculous things. I was with a group of like 10 people and we went to a tattoo place cause the girls were thinking of getting something. Dom was there too and the girls started messing with him like "how much to get a tattoo of ---- on your stomach?" etc.
Then he said he'd get that tattoo for $1000 so I called his bluff! Much like me on TV when I pay off the nuts, this guy was a man of his word and went through with it. It was all in good fun, there was no "exploitation" at all, this Guy is a comedian and he loves to shock people.
He came out with us again last night and said he loves the tattoo and he's keeping it! It sure is a solid conversation starter, that's for sure.
None of it was my idea, the girls wanted to see it happen and for $1000 I figured it was worth the entertainment dollar and we got it all on video for his pilot.
Now go back to your regularly scheduled hatin'
Oh yeah, I get it. It's funny 'cause he's straight, and he got a permanent tattoo saying he's, you know, gay. 'Cause if you're a straight guy, it's really embarrassing for people to think you're gay. Freakin' hilarious. But, as long as Negreanu and the guy with the tattoo thought it was funny, well, laugh with them or you're "hatin'."
Would Negreanu have found the stunt nearly as funny and as worthy of sharing with his nearly 70,000 Twitter followers if the tattoo's punchline contained racial or anti-Semitic overtones? Or what if the tattoo had been a joke at the expense of women? Well, let's go to the archives. Remember that little brouhaha this past summer over Shaun Deeb dressing in drag and playing the WSOP Ladies' Event ? Here's what Negreanu had to say about that "joke":
As for Shaun Deeb handling himself in a classy manner playing the event, at least he wasn't the guy using a tampon as a card protector, but he did dress in drag and his goal was to make a mockery of the event, which in turn simply mocks the women who choose to enter it.
I'm sure Shaun Deeb made some people laugh in his dress, and I don't doubt that tampon-card-protector guy got a few chuckles for his stunt, even if only from his buddies. I'm also certain that the tattoo prop bet was absolutely hilarious fun for Negreanu and his entourage, and probably funny for many of his followers. But here's the thing—funny and offensive are not mutually exclusive.
Even though I'm gay and have a good life, things are still tough for many gay folks, particularly gay youths. Making being gay the butt of a silly prop bet isn't the worst insult gay folks will face. But, it certainly isn't the kind of conduct one should expect from an ambassador for Team PokerStars and one of the leading media figures for poker in general.
Turning back to the WSOP Ladies' Event debate, Negreanu stated:
I'm not a woman, so I couldn't fully understand the level of intimidation a woman would face when she sits down at a poker table full of men. For some, it's no big deal, but for a large majority, I imagine they are a bit worried about "looking stupid" or being judged. It's human nature.
Negreanu is apparently equally clueless about gay poker players. I hear plenty of anti-gay jokes and comments every time I play poker in a casino. Now, I just let 99.9% of it slide off my back because I enjoy the game. Also, taking chips from yahoos is the best revenge. But those kinds of anti-gay attitudes probably do keep many gay poker players away from the game.
It's kind of sad that Negreanu is so eager to champion the cause of women who want to play poker, but thinks of gays as nothing more than a putdown punchline.