|Sam, taking down Tunica 2011.|
Only one of my original picks has managed to make the final table. Sam Barnhart, the player with perhaps the least tournament experience, goes in today with a healthy chip stack and still very much in competition for the $300,000 first place money and the coveted first bracelet of the WSOP 2011.
My other "horses" had some admirable runs. I'm proud of everyone. They played well, and almost no one lost on a hand that made me question their thought process. This is just the beginning boys, the rest of the summer is still yet to come. I hope everyone comes back from Vegas with padded pockets and some new jewelry.
|Tony.. taking over the world, one white chip at a time. BALLER.|
If you're on my Facebook, you know that I have a prop bet with the illustrious Tony Dick and the darling Christina Sharkady. Let me start by admitting defeat. Tony, you finally found something you were better at than me. Bravo, son.
The terms of the bet included a dinner in Vegas at the loser's expense, and a relatively embarrassing fashion statement to be worn on the Vegas strip during the week of the 4th of July. Tony Dick has beaten us girls and will be treated to a night of cocktails and steak at our expense. If his final table pick Charles "Woody" Moore manages to win this sucker, I will also have to wear a bright glittery shirt that says "I LOVE DICK". So, Woody, though I don't know you.. I really hope you take a fall this time. No hard feelings.
|If this guy wins, I get to be publicly humiliated by Tony.|
Just before the flood closures, literally days before, we had some unusual guests in our poker room. A crew from Harrah's St Louis came calling for a week of partying in the metropolis of Tunica. I vaguely remember promising them some blog love, and possibly a column mention, because.. well, we're colleagues and these guys cracked me up.
|One of the finer destination travel points of St. Louis. Not including the Arch. I wanna touch the Arch.|
The poker world is unique in that we're all connected.. whether we want to be or not. Some of the strongest friendships span thousands of miles, and we look forward to the times when we get together at various events. For the industry employees, there is a certain bond that supersedes even our friendships with the players. A 3 am text among grave shifters that reads "FLOOR ON ONE!! FLOOR ON ONE!! Can you change the channel?" will always get a laugh, because we get it. A 6 am phone call from Vegas where I comfort a stressed poker room manager because she's having her limits tested, is par for course. My frantic text to a dealer in Arizona at midnight saying "I need a pep talk. Tell me I'm awesome" before or after a particularly grueling shift is understood and rewarded with slapstick comedy and praise. Through facebook, millions of texts and limitless cocktails, we form these "You've got Mail" relationships that keep us grounded. Because really, people in the real world just don't get it. Even if our current jobs dissolve, we'll be somewhere else, doing the same thing and these ties will remain.
So when the crew from St. Louis waltzed in, in all their intoxicated glory, even though I didn't personally know them, they were poker family.. and welcome guests. Among the large group was full time player Rich Grossman and dual-rate dealer/supervisor Jason Menendez. They immediately started pushing my buttons, but received my sarcasm well when they bought into the $1-$5 7 card stud game with $200 each. And were promptly busted. I mean, really.. who loses over $500 collectively at Stud? Out of towners who are on their 17th round of shots, that's who.
|The home poker room from which these alien guests hailed from.|
I've never seen so many adults consume so much alcohol and still be able to behave in an orderly fashion. Over the course of three days, I think this crew slept approx. 2 hours. Total. They were there when I was at work, and still there when I returned hours later.
|Imagine this. Times ten. But with far more feminine beverages.|
Needless to say, we've kept in touch. Menendez, who proclaims himself to be a rockstar dealer is an exceptionally knowledgeable floor person. He has a genuine love of the game, and he's extended an invitation for any of us from the Tunica/Biloxi market to come up and see him. Tell him you're a friend of mine and he'll take good care of you and make sure you have a great time.
I know some of us have had negative experiences in St. Louis. A few have even vowed not to return to their circuit events. Meeting these guys changed my opinion. These guys were fun, they kept things entertaining, and if they run a cardroom like they play.. it's bound to be a unique experience. I for one, will be visiting. Soon, even. Speaking of which...
I am unbelievably stoked about this summer. I did absolutely nothing for my 30th birthday (not that I can recall anyway?) as I was still mourning my breakup with dipshit. 29th, 28th, 27th and 26th were spent with aforementioned dipshit, and were equally uneventful. I'm sure I just sat at home and appreciated how pretty he was, or something lame like that. This year, I've taken matters into my own hands. In desperate need of some time with my girl Christina, and wanting to share a few embarrassing moments with Mr. Dick.. I knew Vegas was in order. Of course, Monkey and Kai.. two people I've learned I don't want to live without, will be out there.. as well as approx. 938234848 of the rest of you.
|We're going to party like it's 1999. I'm currently having the above uniforms tailored for our crew. I get to be the mouse. WINNING.|
Surprising even myself, I invited Menendez from the above St. Louis saga.. and even more surprisingly it took him less than 45 seconds to declare himself in. Originally, I'd intended to just have everyone fly to Vegas and rendezvous there. I'd already committed to a St. Louis trip some time in the future, and made a command decision to combine the two. On a lark I texted Menendez and said "Road Trip? Vegas? Yes?" and in typical poker-player fashion he responded with a "YES!". So somehow, I've obligated myself to a 30 hour road trip through the majority of North America, with a final destination of Sin City. Excellent.
|Poker Mom Connie at the WSOPCE IP Biloxi 2010.|
My poker-mom Connie Rice has expressed some interest in going, and I've recruited the fascinating Mike Shafer to meet us out there as well. Right now the guest list is growing exponentially. I have a great room at the Rio, and some spare beds. If you want to tag along, hit me up. The more the merrier. My normal poker roommate Scott Williams will more than likely NOT be in attendance for this trip. His comfort zone is limited to a 400 mile radius and I'm pretty sure he can't keep up. ;) Speaking of which.. now accepting applications for a new poker roommate/roadie for the 2011 season.
Boys and Girls.. what happens in Vegas will not be staying in Vegas this summer. It will be an epic adventure and I'll have my camera in tow. For those of you unfortunate enough to get captured on film, you will be able to buy the film back at a nominal surcharge. I have a fetish for Coach bags, and I figure I should be able to get one or two out of the deal.
See you all soon! <3