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Vin Narayanan

Vin  Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the former managing editor at Casino City and has been involved in the gaming industry for over a decade Vin is currently based in Hong Kong, where he runs his own consultant group and works as head of gaming and public relations for Mega Digital Entertainment Group.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

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I'm rooting against Tiffany Michelle in the Amazing Race

24 Sep 2009

By Vin Narayanan

I have a confession to make. I like some reality shows. I get a kick out of "The Apprentice." I watch "Shark Tank" to see ruthless executives steamroll entrepreneurs. I'll even watch "America's Got Talent" occasionally to see what kind freaks -- err, talented people -- have decided to display their wares. I don't really care for "American Idol" or "Survivor," and I intensely dislike "Big Brother" -- but to each its own I suppose.

My attraction to reality TV is easy to explain -- I like watching competitions. It doesn't matter whether it's Little League baseball, spelling bees, football or Lou Diamond Phillips holding onto a rope in a Costa Rican jungle. I just like watching competitions. Tests of will and skill fascinate me. Also, when reality TV is done well, there are compelling characters playing the game. And when you mix compelling characters with interesting competition, the result is usually an entertaining TV show.

My favorite reality program is "The Amazing Race." It's a global scavenger hunt that allows me to travel the world from the comfort of my oversized leather chair, learn about different cultures and watch close friends and family members learn how to work as a team in a fiercely competitive environment. And the producers that put "The Amazing Race" together usually do a terrific job selecting interesting teams to compete. But for the first time since the show aired, I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to the next edition of "The Amazing Race," which begins (in the U.S.) on Sunday.

When Annie Duke was slated to appear on "Celebrity Apprentice" earlier this year, I was looking forward to it. I wanted to see how one of poker's most visible players fared on a "mainstream" stage, and how her skill as a poker player would translate in the artificial business world created by Donald Trump. Duke ended up finishing second, and her battle against Joan Rivers was highly entertaining.

On the heels of Duke's success in "Celebrity Apprentice," "The Amazing Race" selected poker players Tiffany Michelle and Maria Ho to form a team for this fall's show. And I'm not looking forward to watching them at all. In fact, I'm hoping they lose -- and lose quickly.

In 2008, Michelle had an incredible run at the Main Event and finished 17th to take home $334,534. But her behavior on and off the felt -- some of which was captured and aired by ESPN cameras -- was appalling. From calling the clock on Paul Snead on a critical hand -- she wasn't even in the hand and it was a $12-million pot -- to her obnoxious finger-wave chip count and running around the Amazon Room like a chicken with her head cut off to ungraciously check and see if she was the last woman standing in the tournament, Michelle was a picture of poor behavior throughout the tournament. And now she'll be polluting my show. I really want her to lose.

But realistically, I know she won't. Michelle and Ho are two intelligent, well-traveled women who are a good physical shape. They think strategically and they should have no problem handling the challenges in the Amazing Race. And that mean's they're probably early favorites to win the competition, and will be on my TV screen all-season long.

Sigh. Did I mention I really want them to lose?

I'll be tracking their progress throughout the year for Casino City, and writing regularly about them. Don't worry -- I'll treat them fairly. I owe that to the show. If you think I'm off base about their performance in the show (or if just think I'm off base), feel free to write me. My e-mail address is And if your message is particularly good, I'll publish it.

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