I stood inside an elevator at the Gold Coast with Timtern and six other people; two well-roomed middle-aged tourists from the Midwest, a tweaker who hadn't showered in days, a 300-lb whiskey tango chick in a yellow muumuu, and two raver kids dressed up for Electric Daisy Carnival.
I was schwasted and tried not to laugh when Timtern rolled his eyes and jerked his head in the direction on the other side of the elevator. The raver kid wearing sunglasses and a rainbow headband was rubbing his hand back and forth against the wall of the elevator. His friend, wearing a striped tank-top eight sizes too small, happily explained to a middle-aged couple what Electric Daisy Carniival was all about.
"Biggest rave on the planet. Over 200,000 people."
I told Timtern if we were alone in the elevator with the raver kids, we would have rolled them. Timtern is from New York and could give off that "undercover cop" if he hammed up the Strong Island accent. All that was missing was a NYPD shield dangling around his neck to indicate an undercover officer. Me? I can bluff a good game, especially against schwilly raver kids rolling their tits off on a mixture of molly and Ecstasy. I would've posed as a officer with the Mattress Police and shaken them down for their entire stash. Of course, I would've shared any seized goodies with all of my friends for huge blow out when the WSOP is over. Even for the straight-laced ones, I would've sold off whatever product I seized and bought them $9 personal pan pizzas from Pizza Slut in the Poker Kitchen.
Alas, the elevator was too full and had cameras, so Timtern and I didn't have a chance to mug a the clueless raver kids. The last day of any music festival is always the craziest because by then everyone has scored whatever party favors they need, and at the same time, it's a "smoke 'em if you got 'em" philosophy. Those two kids were probably holding enough product to light up all of Oregon and we missed an easy target.
I actually considered robbing a bunch of drug freaks, probably because I saw a tremendous mathematical edge. Only a total fuck up would run to the cops to complain about getting their stash pilfered in an elevator robbery.
What has become of me? I'm calculating odds of getting caught shaking down raver kids. I've officially succumbed to the dark side.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who preyed up spun out kids who partied for three straight days. A couple of friends attended Electric Daisy Carnival and I was a little jealous -- that's my type of scene, but I wanted to get the hell out of the Rio and hanging out with a quarter of a mil drug fiends sounded like an fun alternative to standing around and watching people play cards.
One of our European colleagues left work early to attend the last day of EDC. Veteran party animal AlCantHang told one of our European colleagues, "Just don't die."
More sound advice from Al, a sagely first-ballot Hall of Famer for original Party Animals.
I took a rare evening off to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday. I always feel bad that Change100 has to spend her birthday working in Las Vegas every summer with me in a foul, grumpy, tempestuous mood because of the hellacious WSOP grind. Well, her birthday is the one day every summer when I suck it up and pretend to be good mood for her sake. It's like the opening scene in The Godfather, because her special day is the only day you can ask me for a favor and I won't tell you to fuck off. Lucky for her, she didn't have to work on her birthday and vowed she wouldn't set foot inside the Rio on June 26th for the first time since 2004. She also said she doesn't like to play poker on her birthday, because she doesn't want a potential bad session to ruin a good time. Totally understood.
The last few days have been birthday crazy among my peers. I dunno what it is with late October or early November that so many of my friends' parents were screwing at that time of the year to produce late-June babies. In a four-day period, birthdays included WhoJedi, Landon, F-Train, and Change100 (who also shares a birthday with my buddy BG). Yeah, we were drinking with a reason to celebrate the past week instead of drinking to escape the grind of the WSOP as it reached the conclusion of its fourth week.
I was happy and thrilled a couple of Change100's friends from California were in town to help her celebrate in style with a savory dinner at one of Emeril's restaurants on the Strip. Our wine tab was more than the food part of our bill... and I only had a glass because I don't like to mix booze and pills. The ladies got shitfaced and I was the luckiest guy in Vegas hanging out with three blondes and a fistfull of pharmies. I promised Shirley and Halli that I wouldn't make fun of them being lesbian lovers anymore, especially on Tao of Poker, because I had really been beating the "faux-lesbian friends" schtick to death and it's getting old. Besides, I really have to be careful poking fun at lesbians, especially with the Ladies Event on the horizon. The last thing I need at this point is to get chased down the hallway of the convention center by a group of pugnacious men-hating bull-dykes who want to tear out my fingernails for years of misogynist rantings.
Anyway, after dinner we retreated to the Gold Coast, which is where I like to unwind with friends and be left alone after long days at the Rio. When I'm at the Gold Coast, I'm off the clock and just want to disappear into a sea of local degens. It was a fun night. At least no one spilled any drinks on the Pai Gow table, and no one got 86'd or cut off. Compared to the events of the past week, it was a rather mellow night.
My philosophy this year has been to write about my experiences at the WSOP, so you get the perspective of this spectacle through my half-baked, and mostly drunk eyes. If you don't like it, tough shit. That's what the live updates are for so head over to WSOP.com. Life is short and the WSOP is simply too big to cover for a single person. Even the official coverage team has problems with an army of reporters and chip counters, but the folks at Bluff Magazine are doing one heck of a job covering the entire WSOP with 10% of the staff. Even if I am jacked up on Addys, there's only so much poker a sponge like me can soak up without becoming over-saturated, so the last thing I want to do is handcuff myself to a final table like I did in 2005 when there was only one final table per day, because on most days the Mothership and the secondary tables are playing host to a final table. Even then, with the hard stop rule, final tables usually don't end in a single day.
Despite my perpetually disheveled and hungover look at the WSOP, I'm doing my own thing and having much more fun this summer, dare I say the most fun I had since 2008 (when I sipped three weeks to go on Phish tour after the reunited after breaking up for four long years and gather up material for my next book) when I skipped 1/3 of the entire series. Seven weeks is a grind. It used to take me an entire month to recover from covering the WSOP and I'm not normal again until Labor Day. That's how crazy Vegas is every summer, so I understand why friends succumb to The Sickness. That's why it's important to take breaks at the WSOP, even if it's a half-day off to watch a movie or go on a hike in Red Rock Canyon. I know a couple of players who bailed for the next week or so in order to re-charge their batteries before the Main Event. Part of the reason I skipped Electric Daisy is that I'm about to take off for a few days next weekend after 24 or so days in a row sitting in the pressbox and wandering back and forth between the Pavilion, Mothership, and the sportsbook. The break could not have come at a better time.
Here's some actual poker content about the events at the WSOP...
Pechie ships first bracelet
Day 27 featured a couple of bracelets up for grabs. Justin Pechie won the Limit Shootout. I remember seeing that kid win a WSOP Circuit event at Caesar's Palace in the spring of 2007. Pechie has been on the tour for four years before he finally shipped his first bracelet and picked up another one for the Yanks. And by Yanks I mean the derogatory slang for Americans that the Brits popularized, because Pechie is a die-hard RedSox fan and I've never seen him without a Boston cap.
November Niner Matt Jarvis beat Justin "FluffDog" Filtz in five hands to win the 5K NL 6-handed. Again, what a crock of shit the 10-level hard stop rule when it's heads-up! Five hands? You delayed the final table over five fucking hands? That's at least two events this week (other one was Fabrice Soulier's victory) that concluded rather fast and the extra day was utterly necessary. Why not just play it out?
Anyway, Jarvis' victory notched a fifth bracelet for the Canucks. I know that the Mounties are monitoring the WSOP very closely because every time a Canadian player loses a heads-up match for a bracelet, hundreds of thousands of pissed off poker fans go berserk and riot in the streets of Canada...all of Canada.
Jarvis wins another piece of bling for Canadia
Speaking of riots... I'm still waiting for a full blown melee to happen inside the Amazon Ballroom, just like Change100 feared might happen in her guest post from week 1... Apocalypse Now. At this juncture no fisticuffs were reported, at least inside the Rio, but it's still a stressful environment.
I heard a couple of online kids got rolled by a hooker over the weekend, but that's par for the course in Vegas. I can't stress this pro tip enough: lock up your bankroll in the safe before you get naked to do the freaky-freaky with a working girl and she slips a roofie into your drink.
For a quickie recap of Day 27 at the WSOP, check out my WSOP Day 27 recap on RISE Poker.
Required WSOP Reading
Here's a few items of note for Monday....
Check out the 2011 WSOP Player of the Year Standings. Phil Hellmuth is on top with 420 points. (WSOP.com)
Here's WhoJedi's amazing WSOP Photo Blog. (WSOP.com)
I always pop over to Jeff's tumbr page, PKRGSSP, once a day to get a run down of the day in poker. I'm eagerly waiting for him to get back from his short-break. Keep up the solid work, bro! (PKRGSSP)
Agent Marco ambushed Howard Lederer in the parking lot of a sushi joint. I dig Marco and the QJ crew, but I really hoped he'd say, "Where my fucking money!" (QuadJacks)
One of my favorite parts of the day is waiting for the WSOP By the Numbers comes out. (Bluff Magazine)
In more Full Tilt drama... Jack Binion is somewhat interested in investing in Full Tilt Poker. I think it's a bad investment for Jack, but at this point, I want anyone to buy FT so me and my peers can get our money back. (Subject Poker)
Jesse May write about Durrrr. It's a two part series and a must read. Check out Part 1 and Part 2. (Poker Farm)
That's it for now.
Checkout the Tao of Pokerati archives, aka best place to listen to the quickest poker podcast at the 2011 WSOP. I've had plenty of amazing guests this year including KevMath, Snoopy, Change100, Remko, Timtern, Johnny Hughes, and Benjo.
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.