When did the seasons change? I know they did because hailstones are hitting my window instead of snow...but so far I'm missing it as usual. It seems like the last few summers I've missed simply because summer is our busy season. And of course this year, I decided to take a week off right in the middle of it and play the World Series of Poker. It's on my bucket list and I've thought about doing it the last couple of years, but the timing just didn't work out - and there was that whole thing about maybe not being able to compete at a World Class level.
Well this was the year and I went for a week the first part of June. I have to say it was very surreal and a little intimidating at first. Now that ESPN plays the world series events constantly, everyone has a good idea what the event looks like and I have to say its just like stepping into your television set and suddenly being there. Same room, same players, same everything - And thousands of people all with poker on the brain and nothing else.
The first event I played was the NL $2000 (Event #11). There were 1646 players and when you sit down at your table and see Chris Ferguson, Phil Helmuth and TJ Cloutier walk by to sit down at their tables in the same event, it gives you the jitters. Over the course of the event almost every major pro that I've seen on TV busted out of this event and that's even more weird. To see major players - bracelet winners - get up and leave while you still have chips in front of you makes you want to stand up and do the Snoopy Dog Happy Dance!!
I played extremely well that first tourney, and can't think of one hand I would have played differently. In the end I finished in the money - 160th - so I made the top 10% and took some $$ home. I wanted to prove to myself I could play at this level and I did. I told my sister that I cashed in my first World Series Event and she asked how big a deal that was. Big. Like HUGE. They track every world series cash you ever have in your career and then you are forever known by that track record. There was one guy I was talking to while playing a cash game who said he'd played fifteen world series events and only cashed once - which made me feel good! I also got to play some of the cash games which was great because I've really been wanting to play some live Omaha as its hard to find a game at home or even in most of the casinos in Vegas. But they had several of them going on at the World Series due to the large contingent of European players and that's the predominant poker game over there. I met a guy from Germany and one from Phoenix who were really great Omaha players. They taught me more in a few hours than I've learned in the last couple of years about Omaha so it was very valuable.
Some of the cool things I saw in passing were: Doyle Brunson on his motor scooter (he's hell on wheels!) - Phil Ivey receiving his 6th bracelet - Mike Caro trying to get away from some dumb blondes there for a tanning convention - A whole slew of young twenty something players who have never had a job and who also think that 100 grand really isn't worth their time to play for - Several domestics in the hallway always seeming to involve guys who want to keep playing and wives who just want to eat dinner already - Chris Ferguson standing in line to pee - watching the feature table from the ESPN bleachers - Talking to Sam Grizzle at the Omaha cash table - having Sam Farha and Eric Lindergin watch the play at my table for over an hour(they weren't watching me, but who cares?) - seeing Humburto Brennis' latest fashion statement - watching Annie Duke in the Omaha 8 or better event - and many others too numerous to mention.
On my return home I had my first real struggle with jet lag. I'd always kind of scoffed at the idea that jet lag could kick your butt for several days - but it did. Even though there's only 2 hours in time difference between Texas and Vegas, most of the events and games didn't start until 2 pm or later and we played 12-14 hours at a stretch so I quickly adjusted to sleeping all day and playing all night. Once back in Texas I just couldn't seem to snap out of it and found myself napping on and off all day. It was weird and has taken me a full week to get back to normal.
And yes, we have books galore in process as usual. A great variety this time around with clients all over the world - from former Olympic stars, to radio personalities, to race car drivers it promises to be a fun summer writing even if I don't step outside to personally experience the soaring temperatures. This is always why I'm so ready to go on our yearly birthday Cruise in Sept as the busy season winds down. This year, we'll be floating down the Panama Canal and hopefully visiting a great casino in Cost Rica!