Flashback: Joan Rivers tells poker world what she thinks of Annie Duke

Joan Rivers Annie Duke

at "Celebrity Apprentice," let's look back to comments Rivers made to Poker News Daily last week before the grand finale.

Needless to say, the poker world today is seething at Rivers' win on Sunday night.

Poker News Daily: Why did you sign up for Celebrity Apprentice? What was appealing about the show?

Rivers: The fact that


and I could have five weeks together was very appealing. The challenges of the show were also appealing. I love a challenge. Celebrity Apprentice has been very good for my charity, God’s Love We Deliver. It’s a local charity for me and I’m very involved with them. We’ve raised over $125,000 for them.

PND: You’ve had an ongoing clash with poker player Annie Duke. In your opinion, when did the feud start and why?

Rivers: It started from the very beginning. Annie is a very good poker player obviously, but plays people like poker. Poker should be kept at the poker table. God knows I love poker. If you look at that painting with the dogs playing poker, I’m the fifth one on the right. Suddenly, it evolved into “Joan doesn’t like poker players.” I started in Las Vegas.

My downstairs neighbor plays slots, so it’d be like me saying, “I hate slots.” It got out of hand and became ridiculous. My father worked his way through medical school playing poker. What I do like about poker players is that they keep the masseuses up all night in Las Vegas. No one uses masseuses at night except for poker players and entertainers.

PND: You mentioned to

Piers Morgan

on last week’s episode that your biggest problem with Duke is that she is manipulative. Can you explain how she’s manipulative?

Rivers: It’s not a “fun” manipulative, if you know what I mean. We all know how to play each other. We’re all good business people. You don’t invite yourself out to dinner with me and then go tell Brande that I asked you, but I didn’t ask her.

PND: What was your own strategy coming into the game?

Rivers: I used the same strategy that I have used throughout my life and it’s been a good one: Put blinders on and just go forward. Don’t look to your left and don’t look to your right; just concentrate on where you’re going and go the extra mile. I am such a hard worker. I am talking to you right now and have three meetings in the next four hours. Then, I get on a plane to London, have two meetings there, and will be back on Friday to appear on Jimmy Fallon’s show. On Saturday afternoon, I’m taking my grandson to the theater and then performing that night in New Jersey. On Sunday, I have the Celebrity Apprentice finale.

PND: Talk about your reaction to Melissa’s firing.

Rivers: If Melissa had been fired for something she did wrong or a lack of work, then that’s fine. However, she was fired for duplicity, sleaziness, and high school pettiness. Annie found the stupid blonde and knew damn well that she had to get rid of her competition. When we were all girlfriends in the beginning of the show, Annie went down the line saying things like, “

Claudia Jordan Brande Roderick

is stupid.” She said that Melissa and I were her biggest competition. Annie is a smart person, but at some point, you have to push yourself away from the poker table.

PND: Heading into the final episode, what will it take for Joan Rivers to win?

Rivers: If winning means money, I don’t win, but that’s what brought this country to its knees. Look at the Bernard Madoffs and the AIGs: If it’s only about money, then I don’t want to win. If it’s about playing a great game, I never stopped and I won a lot. I brought in a lot of money, but that wasn’t all I did.

| Posted by Lisa Gutierrez, The Star