|Casey and Dad. <3|
Casey Jones is a traveling poker dealer, WSOP supervisor and friend. He is the son of Dennis Jones, an institution in our poker world. On August 2nd, he fell into a coma from some undiagnosed ailment (presumed heart attack or stroke) during his sleep. Initially, though things looked grim as he was transported to ICU in New Mexico, a lot of prayers and hope were requested.
The doctors say the extent of brain damage is too much, and Casey isn't going to pull out of this one. His family has made the decision to put him in hospice care, rather than on life support, while they await the inevitable.
Casey is 29 years old, and the father of beautiful twin daughters. I could go on and on, in typical eulogy fashion.. albeit a bit premature.. about what a tremendous man he was, a devoted father and hard working pillar in the poker community. I think most of my readers know me better than that though, and those sentiments are best left for the family during a time of significant tragedy.
Casey was funny. He was tall, and gorgeous and completely unassuming. He was a big kid with a sarcastic sense of humor that echoed my own. I'd run into him in the halls of our Council Bluff hotel rooms after working a 14 hour day, and we'd exchange witty one liners about the joy that is dealing cards in cornfield Iowa. The "smoking gazebo" downstairs, in the middle of the night, became a place for dealers to gather and discuss all things from sports, hands we dealt, the particular shape of an especially endearing cocktail waitress, or just talk shop. Having worked with Casey dozens of times, it was in this gazebo that we became friends.
I saw him this summer at the Series, as did everyone else. We shared insight about our ability to eat chicken and rice every day for 70 some odd days (the standard WSOP staff meal at the Rio EDR). We'd grab a quick cigarette and talk about what was in store for us during the fall. These conversations were never earth shattering, but always enjoyable. I liked Casey. I liked seeing him at work, and I looked forward to catching up with him.
I could recount some of the things that endeared him to me, or made him stand out from other coworkers. But really, all that matters is that he was one of us.. and that he's missed. There is a big gaping hole that can't make sense of how unfair it all seems.
I've buried a few people that were tremendously close to me. I can say, with no uncertainty, that this is the hardest thing the Jones family will ever go through and that it will NEVER heal. It will get easier, as time progresses, but it never goes away. Whatever faith they have, and whatever source they draw comfort from will only numb them to the reality that they'll never sit around and shoot the proverbial shit again, with someone they never imagined losing. My heart breaks for them.
Like most people in our industry, Casey didn't have medical insurance. At 29, he didn't have the means or ability to properly plan for his girl's futures.. or even purchase life insurance. The darkest days in the situation are still yet to come as hope ebbs and reality sets in. Long after the rest of us go back to our regularly schedule lives, the Jones family will be living with a deeply personal loss compounded by financial strife.
|Its amazing how the lines blur and the poker world, become real family.|
If you have the ability to make a contribution, regardless of size, please do. If you can't, you can do me a personal favor by re posting this to your facebook or twitter. At the very least, if you could offer a prayer to the Jones family, I will be in your debt. I will donate .10 cents for every page view this post gets, up to $250. It isn't nearly enough, but I'm hoping it will generate some awareness and help out a family that needs it.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and prayers.