As the World Series of Poker returns to the ESPN airwaves, a pair of pro poker players best known for being the last ladies standing in past WSOP events are becoming the talk of the poker media world with their latest adventure: starring on the reality TV show “The Amazing Race”.

Now, we all know that there’s no lower form of entertainment than reality TV, but in this case, count us among those interested. The poker players in question, Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle, are pretty well-known in the poker community, if not exactly the biggest names in the game — but they certainly don’t lack personality.

Could this new gig make them more of household names? Could it hurt or help poker’s reputation in the process?

According to PokerNewsDaily, some poker industry observers aren’t enjoying the ladies’ on-screen behavior. Jon Wein claims he had to stop watching “after [Tiffany Michelle] and Maria Ho implied they were rich for the like eighteenth time.” Furthermore, he doesn’t think they’re famous enough to be on the show. “Ultimate Bet has all of these talented pros like Matt ‘mattg1983’ Graham and Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy and then they have her … It’s a complete slap in the face to them.”

“Considering poker players do not get too many opportunities at mainstream media exposure, an appearance on a reality show can have a major influence on how the game is perceived by those who are not fans of it,” writes Jessica Welman in the PokerNewsDaily article.

Or maybe not. “If [Michelle and Ho] perform well or win, it won’t be because they are poker players,” stated reporter B.J. Nemeth in the article. “If they embarrass themselves and lose, it won’t be because they are poker players. And I don’t think mainstream fans will judge the poker industry by how they finish… The impact on poker is very different from Annie Duke’s presence on ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ where she was only on the show because she was a famous poker player, and it was brought up repeatedly from a strategy standpoint and in the boardroom with Donald Trump.”

What do you think? Can the behavior of these two little-known poker players on one of American television’s most popular reality shows have any effect on the industry itself? Does it even matter?

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