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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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Michelle, Ho knocked out of Amazing Race

2 Nov 2009

By Vin Narayanan
I have to admit, I was looking forward to seeing poker players Tiffany Michelle and Maria Ho fall on their face in the Amazing Race. The two pros entered the competition on CBS full of arrogance, thinking the skills they had developed as poker players would help them easily win the race, and they weren't afraid to say so.

But the show humbled them quickly as they finished last twice, and somehow avoided elimination. The first time the pair finished last, it was a "non-elimination" leg, so they were allowed to continue. The next time they finished last, the continued because one team had a lost a passport.

As the race wore on, we learned that Michelle was the "man" in the team, doing all the physical tasks (and at times, all the thinking). We also learned that Ho has no apparent skill outside of the poker table. But they persevered. And they weren't nearly as annoying as team Brian and Ericka.

Ericka, a former beauty pageant queen, did even less than Ho (if that's possible), and spent most of the race yelling "Brian" and asking him to do everything. Yet, somehow, Michelle and Ho lost to Ericka and Brian, after Ericka displayed an embarrassing inability to count, and an astonishing ability to break down into tears.

In the first challenge of this weekend's show, a member from each team had to count the number of bells in a tower in Amsterdam. This is actually a pretty easy task for the Amazing Race, and every team except for Brian and Ericka finished it quickly. The tower had 62 bells, but Ericka count anywhere close to that amount the first two times through. Then she muttered "Brian should have done this." After one more attempt, followed by a crying jag, Ericka finally pulled it together enough to count the bells and move on.

At this point, all of the teams -- including Michelle and Ho -- were well ahead of the Brian and Ericka and the race looked like a foregone conclusion. Then came the Amazing Meltdown.

Teams had to pick one of two tasks to complete, farm dancing or farm games. Ho and Michelle started of with the dancing competition. Before teams could begin the dancing competition, they had to play the old carnival of game of ringing a bell at the top of a pole by swinging a hammer down onto a lever that sent a weight flying up the pole. As most carnies will tell you, it's simple physics in terms of swinging the hammer correctly, and it doesn't require extra strength to complete, but Ho and Michelle were unable to do it.

Ho and Michelle gave up on the dancing competition and tried the farm games -- which was an old Dutch version of golf. With the wind blowing hard, that game looked really hard. But it couldn't have been impossible. A few teams (including one with a woman on it) finished the golf event after getting the hang of the game, something Ho and Michelle weren't able to do. So the two went back to try the dance competition.

After failing to ring the bell again, they tried the golf again. And then they gave up. Yep. The heroes of poker gave up. And they allowed whiny Ericka to stay in the race.

But just when I was thinking Michelle and Ho were starting to become sympathetic figures, they reverted to form. Instead of joining the rest of the teams who had been in eliminated at a special location in Vietnam, Michelle and Ho decided to ditch their fellow competitors and head to Atlantic City.

And the teams that were already in "Elimination Station" were quite happy that the Michelle and Ho weren't joining them. Apparently, Michelle and Ho "bluffing" about their occupation early in the show didn't go down well with Amazing Race competitors. And that's the most important lesson poker players should take away from the show. What poker players call "bluffing" and "gamesmanship" is considered lying by the general public.

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