The Swing of Things

Friday, May 29th, 2009, 3:32 am

Last week, lying on the couch and wondering if I should just sleep there or drag myself to bed, I worried that I’d crash and burn on Day 1 of the World Series. Every time I conked out I justified the nap by telling myself I needed to store up every smidgen of rest while I could. The WSOP would bring long, long nights and I wouldn’t have the luxury of sleeping away the afternoon.

Flash forward seven days, because that’s how it felt to me, like time flashed by before I could notice it’s passing. Before I knew what hit me I was boarding my flight to Vegas, a flight where I dozed on and off for four uneasy hours. I felt better, good enough to work, though I’m still battling a sore throat and a little congestion. Compared to last week, no big deal.

I got to my room at the MGM, a room I’ll have to myself for another day or so, and flopped down on the bed. Mistake. The bed was cool and firm and comfortable, and five minutes after my ass hit mattress I was asleep. I jerked awake about fifteen minutes later and ordered myself to stay awake and try to get my internal clock a bit closer to Vegas time. I took a long hot shower, pressed off a pair of shorts, and decided to head downstairs to explore a bit and find something to eat.

You will forgive me when I admit that I never made it out of the room, choosing instead to crawl under the covers and go to sleep. The bed, as I said, was very comfy, the room deliciously cool, and I wasn’t that hungry anyway. And the hell with exploring the MGM–I’m gonna be there for 50 freakin’ days, I’ll know the nooks and crannies soon enough. I let my body rest after a trying day and I think that was a good call.

Woke up this morning feeling pretty good. Throat still a bit sore, still a bit congested, but I could deal. Another hot shower roused me enough to get me out the door looking for breakfast, which I found at Starbucks (still have to get over the sticker-shock of Vegas meals, as my croissant and coffee cost more than two dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, and a loaf of bread). I ate, looked at the clock, and said the hell with it. No use sitting in the room when the Rio beckoned. I told Al I was headed over and he said we should meet. “At the Hooker Bar or the Amazon Room?” he asked. “Amazon…for now,” I said.

Ten minutes and twelve dollars later my cab pulled up to the Rio Convention Center entrance and the deja vu hit me like a wet frying pan. Jesus, wasn’t I just HERE? I walked through the doors and down the long hallway toward the Amazon Room and it was like a waking dream, it felt like I was floating, not walking, and time seemed to distend and slow to half it’s normal speed. Did a year really go by that fast? Did I really ever leave Vegas, have I in fact been working in the Amazon Room for the last year, the last decade, the entirety of my life?

Nah, just an overinflated sense of drama. Pretty much everyone I talked to felt the same generalized weirdness. Met up with Garry and Haley from the PokerNews crew, tracked down Al, hugged the svelte Change100 and grabbed the seat next to Pauly on Media Row. Said hello to Jen Newell and a bunch of PokerNews veterans, bonjour to Benjo, buenas dias to Joe and Jonathan, who I’d worked with in Argentina. And saw dozens of other familiar faces on the floor and in the halls. And then it was time to get to work, same as it ever was.

I’m feelin’ a bit run down, but nothing like the nightmare scenario I feared last week. Pauly and Change and I went to the diner we visted a number of times last year–the service tonight was problematic, it took use 15 minutes to get a glass of water, an hour for our food, but my burger was pretty good and just having an appetite is a plus these days. We have 40 minutes to go before play wraps up tonight, the three UB players in today’s field (Hellmuth, Duke, Binger) have sadly been eliminated, and I think I’ll take some pics and start thinking up my game plan for tomorrow. The plan once play ends tonight is to go back home and reacquaint myself with that cozy bed. Another good night’s sleep will do me good.

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