In the Groove

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009, 12:06 am

I’ve been in Vegas now for x days. At this point it really doesn’t matter what number x signifies, because it’s insignificant. Who cares? I’ve been here awhile, long enough to feel that I’m in the swing of things. And I still have long enough to go that I’m not even looking at the finish line. When we get to July, then I’ll start thinking about how I only have x days until I can go home.

Walking down the hallway to the Amazon Room no longer feels surreal–it feels like I’m walking to work. My room at the MGM feels like home…well, it at least feels familiar. I’ve settled into a nice little routine–up at 8am, futz around for an hour or so, press off a shirt, and then get ready in time to catch the shuttle at eleven. Work until midnight or so and then catch a cab back to MGM. In between I might have dinner with friends, sneak out to see the Pens’ games, or maybe have a beer. Don’t let this photo fool you–the idea of the permanently-soused poker scribe is highly overrated.

I haven’t stayed out late (well, past 2am) since I’ve been in Vegas. I get home, I get under the covers, and I get a good night’s sleep. Yeah, I know, it’s weird.

My sloth is due in part to the fact that, yep, I’m sick again. Just a head cold this time, the “casino flu” that pretty much everyone gets at some point during the Series. Stuffed up, sore throat, coughing…awesome. I had about 24 hours where I felt good…and then it all went to hell again. DayQuil and cough drops are keeping me functional, but it wears you down, wears you down. Saturday night I got back to the MGM and stopped at the little stand by the elevators that sells magazines and candy and whatnot. I grabbed a box of cough drops and a pretty girl who wore a dress that’d been sprayed on her was looking at the same shelf. “These work,” I said, sensing we shared a common burden, and in a hoarse voice she groaned, “I feel terrible”. Sunday night I got home around the same time and bought some more DayQuil. The same girl, wearing a dress even tighter and shorter than the night before, was picking over the cold meds. I grabbed what I wanted, she saw me, and we shared a sad, familiar smile. She looked great; she looked terrible. Can’t imagine going clubbing at midnight feeling like I did.

Today I allowed myself a little time off. I got up at the same time but after I showered I went down to the casino and wandered around a bit. I decided to eat at the MGM buffet, if the line wasn’t too long, and it wasn’t so I did. It’s called the “MGM Grand Buffet”, but I didn’t find it that grand, to be honest. The food was OK, nothing spectacular. It was hard to get around, people kept moving along the stations in both directions and getting to the grub was at times frustrating. But after 20 meals from the Poker Kitchen I was glad to get something a little different. I went back to my room…and promptly took a little nap. I planned on getting to work at 2pm, when the $10K Omaha/8 event started back up, but that was postponed to 3pm…and then four. By then I figured I’d better get my backside to the Rio and I ran down and found the shuttle waiting for me, and me alone. Almost feel like a VIP.

It’s different working on my own this year as opposed to the PokerNews team. On the one hand it’s nice being able to write about what I want and spend some time on the photos I take. And if I want to step away for a bit to grab a bit to eat or linger over a drink it’s no big deal. On the other hand I have to come up with new and interesting posts every day and that isn’t always easy. Every day it’s people sitting around playing poker, and while that can be very compelling when there’s a final table and people are playing for millions of dollars, it’s less so on Day 1 of an event with 3,000 people. I’m writing the blog for UB so naturally I’m focusing on our players and trying to write things that would be of interest to people who play on the site, but I’m also trying to write posts (and publish photos) that are just plain interesting, period. I’m trying to find that niche where I’m providing the content my overlords want and that poker fans will find interesting and unique. It’s a challenge, and some of the pics I’ve taken are, I think, pretty cool (you can see them here). Just gotta keep it up, try not to repeat myself too much, and do good work.

I’ve been working about 12 hours a day and feel like I’ve been slacking. Compared to the hours I worked last year for PokerNews (and the hours they’re working so far) I feel like a slouch. On the other hand I haven’t had a day off so far and the more I think about it, I don’t see me taking one. Chances are we’re gonna have SOMEONE playing in an event every day and it’d be just my luck to avoid the Rio the day something stupdendous happens. But we’ll see.

It’s 9pm here…should I maybe eat something? That probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. The Chicken BLT wrap has been my go-to meal this year–it’s quick, easy, tasty. Had my first In&Out Burger last week–good. Real good. Had some pulled pork at the BBQ place in the Rio, very good. Had a steak one night–outstanding. That about sums up the most exciting bits of my trip so far. I’m down about $100 playing video poker during the Pens games. Haven’t played a hand of poker or Pai Gow. Work, sleep, eat. I guess I really am getting old, because that’s been a pretty good combination so far.

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2 Responses to “In the Groove”

  1. Wolynski Says:

    Great photos and great blog. I feel your pain. It’s very difficult to take interesting photos of poker, where there is no (physical) action, unless Phil Helmuth has a tantrum.
    What camera and lens do you use? And do you use a tripod?

  2. "hennes blogg" Says:

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