Twice I have made the journey to the seemingly bottomless pit of cards, booze, and degenerate prop betting. The first time was do to the real thing, crossing off a bucket list item by actually playing in a World Series of Poker event.
That did not go well.
Despite high hopes I made two fatal flaws. 1) Played with scared money 2) Failed to drink
At the time it should not have been scared money as my bankroll was large enough, had backers, and online money was still flowing through ads, writing, and bonus whoring. Nonetheless, I was not as aggressive as I was sitting behind an avatar but instead adjacent to Marcel Luske and arms reach from the 2005 Main Event champ Joe Hachem. Noted warthog Joe Speaker was there to record my exploits to the masses but my tepid play had me fizzling out on a non-descript hand shortly after the first break.
Two years later I found myself in Vegas during the WSOP again, but this time it was to sweat the media at the World Series of Pai Gow, an event I'm much more equipped for and play downtown at the Binion's Poker Classic where the buy-ins fit my bankroll much more easily. CK, Tuscaloosa Johnny, and myself braved the other side of Vegas, a throwback to what Vegas used to be before the corporations splashed gold-tinted mirage of $100 margaritas, and five star dining two doors down from the 24-hour McDonald's. This time I played it right. The game was Omaha Hi/Lo again, this time limit but a game I'm most comfortable with in any setting with any stakes that does not cost me a mortgage payment to check-raise the turn.
But instead of listening to blog postings about playing "optimal tournament poker" by "getting sleep", "staying away from the pits", and most of all "not drinking". I did the opposite. Instead I got myself into that comfort zone. You know the one. It feels like fantasy sex, downslope of a rollercoaster, the perfect lick of ice cream on a day reaching triple digits all while sitting on a cloud. After hour four the waitress who seemed to be the only one serving the 214 players in the tourney didn't even bother asking if I wanted another and would just switch out the cup of ice for one filled with spiced rummy goodness and a splash of Coke.
Later on that night my friends, the ones with press badges around their necks, already taking a beating from the grueling WSOP workdays in the Amazon Room encouraged me to stay in my zone, especially one AlCantHang whom I would
I mention this now because life is in the way of hopping on a plane to create another Vegas memory. Work, lack of vacation time threw away the keys as for once, money isn't throwing up the bars of steel, nor is my understanding wife who actually encouraged me to go. But, thanks to Twitter, the PG-13 rated version of my friend's exploits come to life in 140 characters or less. I'll have to wait until December or a possible WPBT side trip to hear the XXX version only available after a full night bender and a few toasts to those who couldn't make it but wished they were here.