Las Vegas, NV
The eerie calm before the storm. Saturdays at noon at the Rio are always overwhelmed by the weekend warriors, the pigeons, the dream chasers, and devil-worshiping sadists who willingly fork over $1,500 to play poker in a minefield.
I had been avoiding the chaos on those days and arrive several hours late in true Hellmuthian fashion and skip the bottleneck traffic in the hallways and sidestep the mass confusion and carnival-like atmosphere in the hallways.
Since I carpooled with Change100, I arrived at work early and entered through a side door and experienced the calm before the storm.
For the first time since the WSOP began I did not hear the clattering of chips. Nothing. The room was empty. Even the cash game tables were cleared out around dawn to prep for the killing fields. Of course, those tables would be the first to be broken down and converted into cash game tables. Churn 'em and burn 'em. Get the lemmings in, get their juice, and when they bust out, keep them in by enticing them with satellites, second chance events, and cash games. More juice. More rake. More donkey feces.
The room was unusually chilly for 11am. The emptier the Amazon room, the colder it is. When the doors opened at 11:40am, a flood of players would burst through and the room would heat up. It was already turning out to be one of the hottest day in Las Vegas, so I welcomed the cool air and wrapped myself in a hoodie as I waited for the carnage to begin.
The dealers lined up and reported to the floor manager who dished out their table assignments. Another floor person handed over racks of tournament chips. The dealers then stood in an assembly line and picked their necessary items out of small boxes; pens, a dealer button, wristbands for players, and two decks of cards. With their arms full, the dealers sauntered to their tables and set up their well as a rep from a two-bit energy drink company spammed the tables with free samples of their third-rate sugar water.
Charlie the floor guy jumped on the microphone and called out to the different sections to see if they needed anything. Within ten minutes dealers were seated by themselves at every single table in the Amazon Room as they awaited the running of the donkeys.
Charlie then told everyone that it was time to cue the music. A few dealers shouted out what they wanted to hear.
"Anything but that rap shit," one cranky old dealer screeched.
"Play Frank Sinatra!" shouted another
"Frank Sinatra? Very fitting for Vegas," Charlie said. "But this isn't a request line folks!" said Charlie.
Two seconds later I heard the intro to Journey's Any Way You Want It.
"Another great day at the World Series of Poker!" exclaimed Jack Effel over the PA system.
Journey? Are you fuckin' kidding me. That's when I popped another generic vicodin.
The other day Benjo said that you can spot the dead money at the table because they are the ones who arrive twenty minutes before start time of the tournament. I wondered how many of the early birds would actually make it to the first break?
Ah, the eager beavers. Thousands of bright eyed and bushy tailed poker enthusiasts flew into Vegas every weekend from destinations all over North America for a shot at the big time. They might crush their local homegame in a messy garage at the end of a cul de sac in a generic subdivision, but they are outmatched by the time they get to Vegas.
They arrived at McCarran full of hope and got mugged in the Amazon Room. Rolled by Harrahs suits at the cage and slapped around by inbred dullards at the table. $1,500 down the toilet. I hope they didn't lose their food comp and walk away empty handed.
I sat up in the press box, perched up high above the sheep who were lead to their merciless slaughter. The damage was fierce. The casualties made the walk of shame through the room and out into the hallway where they commiserated with their loved ones and spewed bad beat stories and tales about a WPT winner at their table who played like a total panda-clit.
Within a few hours a thousand of donators had their stacks decimated as the blood of the losers settled in random tranquil pools throughout the Amazon room.
Benjo sits in the first row of the press box and has to deal with random people stopping by to ask stupid questions. He's also in direct contact with French players who are fans of his blog. One merry fan rushed over to shake Benjo's hand. My French is bad, but here's what I think I overheard...
"Mon Dieu! I love your blog, Benjo. Please have boobie sex with my wife."
The kid is a rock star in France.
It's sort of funny that the first row in the press box (closest to the floor) is filled with members of the foreign press. They are constantly bombarded with a slew of ridiculous questions. Sometimes they trickle up to the top row and pester me with questions. If they don't recognize me, I bust out my best Borat imitation and pretend to be a poker journalist from Lesbotitistan.
"Yes, I like to have the sexy time with Phil Ivey and your wife. You let me film, yes?"
After they wipe that horrified look off their faces, they run back down the stairs never to be seen from again.
Anyway, the French press had a lot to be happy about around 1am when David Benyamine won his first WSOP bracelet in the $10,000 buy-in Omaha 8 World Championship. Benyamine is one of the most successful cash game PLO players in the world and now he can add an 08 bracelet to his resume.
Flipchip took a couple of 2008 WSOP winner's photos. Check them out.
With Benyamine's victory, you have to think that 2008 is also the Year of the Euro, right?
The hookers were out in force on Saturday night trying to pick up the sex-crazed punters who pissed away $1,500 in an existentialist meat grinder.
One particular enterprising working girl loitered in front of the Everest Poker suite right near the Rotunda. She wore a black WSOP t-shirt, tight ass jeans, high heels, and carried a leopard skin purse. She'd random stop guys and hug them as they walked past her. During the embrace she's whisper something in their ears. I left while she was in the middle of negotiating a deal with one guy who needed to work off his bad beats by hate fucking a hooker.
The other day, one working girl tried to pick Mean Gene. He blew her off because he was on a short break while covering a final table.
Location is the key to any successful business. That's why the Hooker Bar was such a popular hang out. But a few girls are hustling in the hallways leading up to the Amazon Room. That's what is great about that long corridor. Inside of thirty seconds you can crash a Mexican wedding reception, buy a cold overpriced personal pie from Pizza Hut, pick up a copy of Bluff Magazine, and negotiate a hummer from a hooker.
Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.