Las Vegas, NV
The pilgrims hath returned.
After months of hanging out at regional tournaments, holed up in a dark rooms grinding online, or globetrotting on the international circuit... the time has finally come when the denizens of degeneracy make their yearly pilgrimages to gambling's Mecca.
Unless you've been in a coma for the last six years (or pulled a Billy Hayes and got shipped to a Turkish prison for smuggling seventeen bricks of Moroccan hash)... you know for seven weeks every summer that the Convention Center at the Rio has become the nucleus of the gambling universe. Pros, amateurs, and dabblers from around the globe have already embarked on their own personal Hajj to celebrate the holiest of high holy days -- the World Series of Poker.
Some come for a single event, some for a week, while a select few camp out for the entire summer. The rest of the external world is an afterthought during the next seven weeks. Overlook the obvious motivation of greed and fame, and you'll discover thousands of wayward pilgrims are actually at the Rio on a quest for spirituality, for religion, for moral guidance, and for something to believe in.
After seven weeks of sheer brutality on poker's largest battlefield, it's impossible not to reach a spiritual awakening. At the end of the summer, if you've had your doubts about yourself... about God.... about humanity... about the gaming industry... most of those questions/doubts will be answered by the end of the summer. At that point, if you survive the madness, you will reach the fork in the road and have to make a decision that questions your belief systems -- do you continue on with the circus? Or do you opt out and view the WSOP as a once in a lifetime experience?
Me? I came to the crossroads five times. I'm back in Vegas covering my sixth WSOP, so you can guess which path I took.
You? Most lost souls take religious retreats to discover faith and belief in a higher power. Some of the most successful people in the world have one thing in common -- a deep conviction and faith in themselves. Conversely, some of the biggest fuck ups I know overestimate themselves. Draw your own conclusions and comparisons with poker.
You didn't think that people were just playing cards in Las Vegas? So much more is at stake on a spiritual and philosophical level.
The 2010 WSOP returns to the Rio officially on Friday with the start of Event #1 Casino Employees at noon. The big dogs take center stage at 5pm with Event #2 $50,000 Players Championship which has been switched from HORSE to 8-Game. The champion wins the prestigious Chip Reese trophy, in honor of the legendary pro who won the inaugural event in 2006. Since then Freddy Deeb, Scotty Nguyen, and David "Gunslinger" Bach have taken down the largest buy-in event at the WSOP. And of course, tomorrow will be the first donkament of the season.
You can view a complete 2010 WSOP schedule here.
Due to media restrictions, Tao of Poker is unable to provide live updates like the halcyon year of 2005. Most of you knew those restrictions that Harrah's set forth, but there's always a few knuckleheads who bitch and moan -- which is why I toss out this annual disclaimer.
I honestly don't mind the "one post an hour" rule/restriction because I'd rather not be handcuffed to my laptop and endure the mental torture and pressure of "NOW NOW NOW" WSOP updates. The daily minutiae of the WSOP is important and will be well documented by Poker News' official coverage team and on WSOP.com.
Rest assured that Tao of Poker will still be the place to go for behind the scenes coverage of the WSOP. It's been that way since 2005 and it's not going to change in 2010. Since I'm my own boss, the Tao provides an outlet to write about stories and themes that the mainstream poker media avoids. I find more enjoyment exercising my freedom and floating around while collecting notes for an end of day piece. I need to let the events of the day marinate into my brain before I can write about them.
Tao of Poker's 2010 WSOP coverage will include (and not limited to)...
- The "end of day" recapIf you want instant updates or if you're a Twitter newbie, then you should follow me on Twitter -- @taopauly. I will providing additional WSOP coverage on Twitter, like I've been doing since 2008. Expect lots of Twit pics this summer.
- Daily link dumps
- Tao of Pokerati podcast episodes
- Tao All Stars with guests posts from your favorite scribes
- Photo dumps
- Videos courtesy of RawVegas
- Breaking news and gossip (more gossip than news)
So it begins...