UnNews:COVID-19 poker finals

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19 May 2020

The final result.

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Four men are seated around the table. This is the final round of the COVID-19 poker championship. The dealer, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is the focus of attention as he effortlessly performs his trademark "air shuffle," with the cards never touching the table. The hands that he will shortly deal will decide who emerges as champion of the current pandemic. As the cards fan and flutter, let us look back at the qualifying rounds of the tournament.

There were a lot of entrants at the announcement by the World Pandemic Poker Body of a knockout open championship. Wuhan hold-em was to be the game, a variety in which players hold their cards close to their chests and never reveal them while explaining what great poker players they are. The judges must decide who won the hand.

A notable non-starter was Kim Jong-Un, who graciously declined to enter as he is the greatest poker player in the galaxy and didn't want to embarrass all of the other entrants. As Paektu Fats was an early favorite in the odds, there was a certain amount of disappointment among bookmakers.

Early losers were South Korea and Hong Kong, for effectively containing the outbreak despite a number of penalty re-deals. The United Kingdom was a non-starter when its leader suffered a couple of medical setbacks. Most of the scoring is based on the ability of the players to reveal nothing about their hand in their facial expression. This was the undoing of Giuseppe Conte and Pedro Sanchez, leaving the European round to Angela Merkel. Despite her world famous inscrutable facial expression, Germany faded quickly in the third round to France, but Emmanuel Macron made the mistake of revealing his hand in the spirit of libertie, egalitie, fraternitie and a whole lot of non-poker stuff. The Middle Eastern round was a washout due to the arguments about why COVID-19 was un-Islamic and regional differences concerning headdresses as usual.

So, folks, it's down to the heavyweights. Xi Jinping is rumored to have a whole deck of cards up his sleeve, Narendra Modi is fuming about having a dealer with only two arms. Vladimir Putin is said to be quite concerned about the toll on his inner circle of political associates and is wearing a full hazmat suit. Donald Trump is much happier playing poker than being a president who is not also a dictator. The hands are dealt and we can now turn to the play.

Vladimir Putin: "Russia has again shown that it can stand on the world stage as a superpower. Our brave citizens are not afraid to go down in flames as we have more exploding ventilators than any other country. We have jailed doctors, reporters and political opponents. We have consistently decided on the level of anti-infection measures that will keep the economy going and me in power. What's more we have performed one of the fastest and most complete tergivisations on the question of whether Russia was going to emerge unscathed from COVID-19 or have enough earthmoving equipment to bury the dead."

Xi Jinping: "China has proven its political and economic model by stopping COVID-19 in its tracks. No other country has halted this pandemic by orders from the central planning committee. By only allowing reporting that is approved by the CCP, a clear and coherent narrative can be maintained instead of the chaotic accounts emerging from decadent anti-Chinese countries."

Narendra Modi: "By acting in accordance with the eternal and infallible Hindu caste system, we have ensured that sickness and death will fall upon the lower castes, who are fated to this in any case. Do not be concerned, they will come back as something or other and have another try at life. Due to our adherence to the Ayurvedic medical system, we have little or no idea if someone actually dies from COVID-19 so we can claim as many or as few cases and deaths as we please."

Donald Trump: "As I can't tell the people what to do, I can't just order the population of the USA to take this lousy tasting medicine or disinfect themselves with whatever is lying around the laundry. I keep firing medical wonks with lots of useless degrees as they can't get their heads around the basic principles of salesmanship. If you get a whole lot of people to take hydrochloroquine, some of them are going to live and some are going to die, right? Now the ones who live are going to say you're great and the ones who die aren't going to say anything. You would expect people who have come to prominence to understand this, but no, moaning about the dead is all you hear. Bury 'em, that's what they're for."

We're all holding our breath as the judges confer. Seems to be a lot of discussion going on over there. Ah, yes, they're picking up their cards. What? Each of the four judges is holding up a different winner. This means, yes, that it's a dead heat. No one has won the pandemic! The virtual crowd is going wild, tweets are spraying out like a hippopotamus with diarrhoea. The finalists are walking off the stage in different directions, no handshakes, no close contact. What an incredible end to a hard fought tournament.


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This article features first-hand journalism by an UnNews correspondent.