Sipping From the Fire Hose

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007, 10:52 am

The first day of the World Series was about as I expected–nuts. People, everywhere. Standing in line, standing in the aisles, standing around. I sat at a table just outside the poker area and furiously wrote hand updates and chip counts as our floor reporters brought them in. At times it was a bit crazy, but everything was totally under control. We put A LOT of info out there yesterday. This is what it looked like from my seat:

Of course you’ve heard about the huge controversy about the new style of cards Harrah’s introduced this year–cards the players hated. HATED. To the point where there was yelling and swearing and demands for refunds. Harrah’s started swapping out decks last night, I don’t know if they replaced them all before things ended last night, but it wasn’t a good start to the Series. The first hand wasn’t completely before Hell broke loose. Not good.

Nor were the long, long, LONG lines outside the Amazon Room. We heard from people who had to wait for 4 hours to register for the casino employee’s tournament. When I left last night around 9PM there was still a line that stretched around the corner and down a long hallway. Wanna play in a WSOP event? Either register early, or load up on patience. Because, brother, you are going to WAIT.

Fortunately I’m working with talented, hard-working people who don’t take themselves or the game too seriously. It’s fun. Yesterday the stress level was bracing–I don’t know how that’ll change today, what with the $5K Mixed Hold-Em event playing down to the final table and the super-mondo $1.5K NL event starting today. If yesterday was a zoo, today will be an asylum, as the fish and donkeys and home game heroes descend on the Rio to find out if it’s their turn to become overnight (well, over three nights) sensations.

It’s a bit odd walking around and hearing spectators and even some players exclaim “That’s Chris Ferguson! That’s Doyle Brunson!” when they see a famous pro. If you get that excited just SEEING someone you recognize from TV, how the heck can you PLAY against them? Truth be told, it would really affect me. I’d either be paying so much attention to the big-name pro that I couldn’t concentrate, or I’d be trying so hard NOT to pay attention to them (because I’m so cool) that I couldn’t concentrate.

For example, as I was walking around taking a few pictures Jennifer Harman was standing in the aisle and she turned and walked toward me. Let’s not forget, this is her workplace. She makes a living doing this. And not only does she have to contend with the people at the table, but she has spectators watching her and media people snapping her picture and asking questions…I’m sure it gets old, fast. So she started walking toward me and I toward her and we exchanged one of those millisecond smiles two people share when they’re stepping on the same elevator. She probably has to do that kinda crap a thousand times a day, wondering if THIS is the person who will ask for a photo or an autograph or just HAS to wish her good luck. I’m sure it’s something you get used to, to a certain extent, but it has to wear over time.

I really never had any desire to become a professional player (nor, to be honest, the talent or dedication or heart…now I’m getting depressed) and yesterday proved to me that not wanting to be a pro is nothing to be ashamed of. They’ve got their gig–I’ve got mine. It’s all about making the choices that are right for you, baby.

Looking forward to today, even if it’ll probably be insane. I think we did a pretty kickass job yesterday…we just need 46 more kickass days in a row!

I need to take some better pictures, but here are two players who caught my eye, for obvious reasons. Don’t know if they’re still in the the tournament, or if they’re from Pittsburgh at all. I should’ve asked but they’d started up again and I didn’t want to bother them during the course of play.

So, yesterday we sipped from the fire hose. With today’s certain-to-be HUGE field, we’ll be taking a good, long drink. Gonna be a long day, and hopefully a good one. Will definitely eat a big breakfast. I think I’ll need it.

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