PCA 2012: A public health message

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgIt must be said. Why it must be said, I don't know, but apparently, it must be said. Poker tournament players, I implore you...wash your hands when you leave the bathroom

We live in an era in which germs are one of the greatest threats to humanity. For the love of all that's holy and pure, two different scientific laboratories just created a strain of bird flu that is hyper-contagious and would kill more than half of the people it infected. And you're leaving a poker tournament's restroom without washing your hands?

"But, Mr. Smarty Pants Clean Freak Poker Blogger," you say, "I'm not going to the bathroom with birds. I'm going to the bathroom with poker players."

You're an idiot, sir. A dirty, filthy idiot.

The message doesn't apply to 99.5% of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure population, but if it applies to one person, that's enough to ruin a lot of days. Let's just take a quick journey, shall we?

It's a men's room in Atlantis. A poker writer is standing at the sink trying to make the water hot enough to boil off whatever airborne germs have landed on his hands during the two minutes in Casa de Filth. And you...you walk from a urinal--or worse a private stall!--and immediately find the exit.

And then? Then you go back to your table and you do this:

bathoom_hand_washing_poker.jpg

Of course, you know what happens next? You lose that chip, because you're filthy and don't deserve it. That chip then takes a journey of its own, into the stack of well-meaning clean people who have to touch it, and then beyond. And you? You're left with only this point of pride: if you can't make the final table, at least your germs will.

I've seen it happen more than once. I've seen it all over the world. I've seen world champions, multiple bracelet winners, and poker's multimillionaires all achieve escape velocity from men's rooms before even once glancing at the sweet, slick comfort of the soap dispenser.

And, yes, PCA players, I've seen it here, too. I will not yet name names, but I have seen people--people you know!--scurry like rats from the bathroom with so little regard for their fellow players that they might as well do their nasty business right on the felt.

Yes, I know, poker is a solitary pursuit, and frankly, I don't care if you grind online while sitting on the toilet and eating your tuna salad sandwich...when you're at home. You live your life, man. Walk around with filthy hands and pass on your germs to your two cats that probably already hate you. But when you go to a poker tournament, take a moment to wash up, man.

No, it's not my job to be the Bathroom Police, but darn it, if we're going to have a chip count page here on the PokerStars Blog, there isn't any reason we can't create a Filthy Animals page, too. The only thing that would take less time to do is wash your freaking hands.