Las Vegas, NV
Some days, you need to ease off the pedal.
The braintrust WSOP were well aware of the craziness of the seven-week fiesta of poker when they concocted the schedule. This weekend marked the mid-way point of the preliminaries. In sports terminology, I likened it to the middle section of a regular season (with the Main Event being the "playoffs").
Last week was overwhelming even for a veteran reporter. With the hard-stop times, we had seven events running at once. Even all the Adderall in Las Vegas couldn't jack me up enough to cover everything. That's why I often spend a couple of days without even peeking into the Pavilion, where all of the Day 1s take place. Heck, sometimes I don't have enough time to check out all of the Day 2s inside the Amazon Ballroom. Alas, such is the 2011 WSOP. It's bigger than ever, but it's impossible to cover everything.
I tried not to freak out due to the hectic schedule. It's a daunting task and instead of pulling out what little hair I had on my head, I too a Zen-like approach and covered stuff as it happened. My goal this summer was to write a few good pieces a week, have fun, and make some money gambling -- whether it's sportsbetting or actually playing cards. As much as I spend several weeks in Vegas every summer, I play a lot less poker than you think. Sure, we might fart around the Pai Gow tables, but that's more blowing off steam and getting free drinks for $1 tip. I simply don't have the time to grind it out at the poker tables when my time could be better allocated for sleep or writing. This year, I made the conscious decision to add more gambling to my daily regimen.
I finished off the NBA playoffs with a profitable run hammering away at the Dallas Mavs. I pissed away $500 on the damn Vancouver Canucks, and I was stewing with ire, so much so, I could have torched a car and tussled with riot police. But right now, I'm in the middle of a heater betting on baseball courtesy of my new baseball tout -- AlCantHang. The guy knows Marlboros, SoCo, meat products, and baseball. We're not betting everything -- only when something pops up on Al's radar. He's a man with many vices, but sportsbetting is not one of them, so when points out a match up with value -- I jump all over it. So far, so good.
Our next step into building a baseball betting syndicate is trying to program KevMath to predict over/under totals for the second half of the season, and as soon as his internal AI interface figures out trends, we're gonna rake in some serious cheddar betting on baseball. Yes, yes, yes... onlytotal d egens bet on baseball, but we're not degening it up. Rather, we're investing.
That sounded very convincing, even I bought it. By the way, I know a Ponzi scheme I can get you into. Just drop off a $10,000 check to the press box and we'll happily invest it for you in derivatives and other mortgage-backed securities.
Sorry for the tangent...
So the last two days have been very calm at the WSOP, all things considered, because only four events were running. Refreshing for sure, to be able to catch a breath. One floor guy mentioned it was rather boring because he was used to running around like a chicken on crack with its head cut off. It's at this point of the WSOP when people hit the wall (a second or third time), and people lose their shit, whether it's staff, players, or even media. The WSOP is like climbing a mountain. Most people don't make it to the top, but the most tragic stories are the ones who reach the summit, but die on their way down.
Me? I embraced the slow Tuesday and slowly shrugged off my hangover. In the late afternoon, I hung out with AlCantHang in the sportsbook sweating our bet on the Colorado Rockies. Once that game was over, I sweated the 5K PLO 6-handed event which still had several of the top PLO players in the game. One table was a true table of death -- Chris Moorman, durrrr, Peter Jetten, Devilfish, and Jason Mercier. I kinda wished I could see the hole cards in that game.
I wandered around the start of the $10,000 HORSE Championship. My friend Shirley was playing and she had a rough table. My other bud, Jesse Martin, was in the event. He shared this tweet about HORSE history: "Mori Eskandani explains that HORSE was invented when Archie Karas said 'Add Razz and I'll play,' to the regular SHOE game."
Speaking of Mori, he was playing along with Archie Karas.
Chau Giang was wandering around laughing his ass off at random stuff, mostly the fact that Phil Laak was seated to his right and reading poker books. He thumbed through one book about Omaha 8, while that game was being played.
"I don't know how to play this Omaha stuff," he said. "I need all the help I can get."
Chau was in rare form. According to Jimmy Fricke, Chau walked around in a hoodie -- which made him look like E.T. Yes, it's true. Chau Giang phone home.
I'm convinced that many of the most successful people on Earth are aliens or alien hybrids. I already have proof that KevMath is a cyborg. The Micros swear that Erik Seidel is one as well. I've had run-ins with dozens of Pai Gow dealers that are bots. But aliens? They all flock to Sin City and many of them are scattered over the WSOP. Among my suspected list of aliens is Chau Giang, Phil Laak, Mickey Appleman, Robert Williamson, and Tom Dwan.
When I was done alien hunting in the 10K, I headed to the Palms poker room to play in Dan Michalski's special Pokerati mixed game (half-PLO and half-NL). I've turned a small profit in the game over the last few weeks and it's really more about having fun, drinking, and socializing then trying to make some big bucks. Fun times for sure.
Sometimes you lose focus in life and worry too much about work and other petty bullshit. I definitely tweaked my mission statement this summer to incorporate more time away from the Rio hanging out in different parts of Las Vegas. The WSOP experience is not limited to just the Rio. Last Monday, for example, I headed downtown to Binion's for an old school night of steaks and poker with some friends. And you've already read about my hijinks from Monday night at the Gold Coast. Some of these moments would never have been possible if I just stayed at the Rio for 18 hours a day watching every tournament at the WSOP. I'm sure a few grumpy readers are pissed I'm not live blogging stuff anymore. As one colleague pointed out, "You're clearly accumulating new material for the sequel to Lost Vegas."
Hmmm... I never thought of that before. Could be a good idea.
That's it. For a quickie wrap, head over to RISE Poker and check out my WSOP Day 22 Recap.
Follow @taopauly for Twitter updates throughout the day.
Also, help support indie writers and buy my books: Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers and the World Series of Poker, and my recently released novel, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. Both are also available for Kindles and iPads.