New York City
During the summer in Las Vegas, I introduced a series of questions and answers with various poker industry figures under the subheading... Tao of Five. Well, it is back.
I took this shot of Otis at the 2006 WSOP
In this installment of the Tao of Five, I interviewed Otis about his encounters with a player he referred to as "The Devil," someone whom he has written extensively at Up for Poker about his experiences over the last couple of WSOPs. During one late night after a round of lime tossing, we taped a brief interview outside of the Rio. Here's the transcript of our entire interview. Viewer discretion is advised.
Pauly: July 2008. Las Vegas, NV. This is an interview with Otis about the Devil.
Otis: Yep. Last night. I saw him again. 10pm. He walked into the Amazon Room. Almost floating again. I don't get it.
Pauly: I have read all of your scribblings about The Devil. They're haunting. I just thought that you were going crazy in Las Vegas. Then I saw him and you pointed him out and I saw that you were really freaked out. You were trembling. You were really freaked out.
Otis: It started out as a joke in 2007. I ended up on the elevator with the guy and he seemed sort of spooky. Everywhere I went in '07, there he was looking at me with those same hollow eyes with that long black hair falling down over a his black coat. It was weird. He freaked me out. By the end of last year, I was a little bit nuts. And I thought when I went home I thought maybe, 'I'm just a little nuts.' Then I came back this year, and he's here. Now people see what I meant.
Pauly: If you put a beard and a black hat on him, the Devil almost passes as Jesus (Ferguson). There are a lot of ancient Christian texts that suggest the Devil is one of God's fallen angels. The Devil was God's second hand in command and took control of hell. Some other scholars suggest that the Devil is God's other son. Jesus and the Devil were brothers. And now here at the WSOP, Jesus (Ferguson) and the Devil almost look alike.
Otis: The Devil can pass for Jesus (Ferguson) if you put on a beard and sunglasses.
Pauly: And a Full Tilt logo. Have you seen the Devil logoed up?
Otis: Here is the interesting thing about the Devil. This is what I find fascinating and other people find it as well. He has been here both years and stayed the entire world series. And even tonight, he's here days after he busted out (of the main event) and he's here. He didn't qualify on any online poker site. He doesn't have a sponsor. When some people have asked him how he got here, he said that he bought his way in. When people asked him what he does for a living, he will never commit to anything. He said, "I do a variety of things." They ask "What do you like?" And he answers, "Well, I like games." That's were it gets a little bit spooky. He's always here. He pays full time to stay at the Rio. He's got a lot of money but nobody one knows who he is. I figured out his name and his name alone is one of those John Smith style names that doesn't even seem real. What's weird about him is that he never does anything that necessarily you would consider devil. But it's just the way he looks and the way he moves and where he shows up. No matter where I am, the guy shows up. A few days ago, my wife called and I wanted to find somewhere quiet to talk. I found a quiet spot in the Rio in a back corner where no one was. And there was the Devil giving me the same look, that same nod, and that same long long stare that freaks me the fuck out every time I see him. I don't necessarily believe in anything religious. I'm not a God guy. I don't believe in the devil. I don't believe in hell. But if there is a devil, this guy might be it. I'm at my worst when I'm in Las Vegas. My feelings, my soul is at its worst when I get here. And this guy shows up and it's a reminder that, "I'm here, if you need me."
Pauly: Las Vegas is hell on Earth. So we're hanging out in the Devil's backyard. We're chilling out in his domain.
Otis: This is one of the worst places on Earth. This is where vice and sin take place. I have done a lot to improve myself over the last few years and would like to think I'm a pretty good person. Las Vegas is the place were the Devil resides. I don't want to make too much of this guy but the people who have seen, MeanGene in fact, pretty much agrees with me. Just the other day, it was the strangest thing and we're walking out of the Rio and there's a slots tournament getting ready to start. The slot tournament promotional items are all about fire and brimstone. There is a giant poster on the wall of fire and brimstone that's lit up. The son of a bitch is walking six feet in front of me and I'm trying to hang behind and he just stops as if he saw me there and he waits with the fire behind him. I'm starting to sound like a nut job the more and more I talk.
Pauly: I think you should stop talking about the Devil. This is the kind of stuff you start talking about and the cops start looking at you funny and ask, "Son, where's the crystal meth?"
Otis: I'm completely sober and have been for several days. I'm well rested and not all that mentally drained or physically taxed. I have survived the series pretty well.
Pauly: The Devil spooks you. I have know you for four or five years and I have never seen you that rattled by one person. I have seen you go on mega-tilt many times. Isabelle-tilt. Work-tilt. Lime tossing-tilt. Pai Gow-tilt.
Otis: Yeah, Pai Gow-tilt. I've been there.
Pauly: The Devil-tilt. It's not really tilt. You're freezing up and are unable to move.
Otis: It's real tilt. Every other kind of tilt is manufactured. Manufactured by someone else or manufactured by my own indiscretions. This is a tilt that is uncontrollable and real. I'm going to be very happy when I get on a plane in a couple of days and stand a chance of never seeing the son of a bitch again.
Pauly: Have you ever seen the Devil in a location other than Las Vegas?
Pauly: Do you remember the movie The Doors? And that bald guy who is in every scene. And he's always dressed as someone different. He could be anywhere. Everywhere.
Otis: That's the thing, I can only see him here.
Pauly: He could be in G-Vegas or Monte Carlo or somewhere else on the road.
Otis: All I'm saying is that if for some reason I disappear while I'm here...
Pauly: The Devil did it?
Otis: If I disappear while I'm here and I don't make it home and people ask where I went, the first thing you should do is find that son of a bitch and ask him what he did with me. And if he did anything so bad, that I can't come back.
The photos of the Devil were provided by MeanGene.
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