Sunday, July 31, 2011

Naked Men in a Hot Tub, Barnhart, Cooper, Updates and Sparkly Things.

Breakfast and other revelations.

This morning I had breakfast with Sam Barnhart and Josh Cooper.  Actually, I was having breakfast with Josh and at the exact moment we were discussing Sam's success this summer, he walked through the door.  I motioned him over to join us, and he did so without a moment's hesitation.

I'm a sucker for sparkly treasure.  Sam's bracelet, which he let me appropriately fondle.

I've interviewed Sam a handful of times now, seen him in the poker room, railed him at events.. but I've never sat down and talked to him without needing information for a column or touching base with him in whatever tournament he's currently smokin'.

Sam is funny.  Hysterically, you wouldn't believe it unless you witnessed it, funny.  He tells stories with exuberance and thoroughly enjoys himself.  There were moments during our breakfast when I couldn't see straight for the tears from laughing, and I'd look at Josh in utter disbelief.

He'd recall stories of being nearly robbed at the Rio, or his experience in the ultra luxe gym at the Bellagio.  For the record, he's a fan. Loves the gym there.  Not so much the hot tub.  He feels that there should be a mandatory towel policy, because from his perspective, he just doesn't want to crawl into a hot tub with a bunch of naked dudes. He talked about the pressures of his new found poker fame, and how the 99 of the approx. 100 cousins he didn't know he had have all of a sudden cropped up wanting to be best friends.

This is the image I had in mind while Sam was talking. But with less beer, and more nakedness. 
Don't you guys just all wanna jump in?
I'm a straight female and even I want no part in this.

Being around Sam is a delight.  I've spent the better part of my career dealing with poker players. Some arrogant, some suave and persuasive, some negative and whining.  Sam is just a good guy from Arkansas who is always enjoying himself.

I've mentioned Sam a few dozen times in my blog, but Josh is a new character to the cast that I haven't had a chance to dissect in my blog yet.  Josh is a touring dealer. Apparently, him and I have had a half dozen or so near-misses in the past.  He was supposed to attend a dinner I hosted, unbeknownst to me, and cancelled.  We were potentially going to be roommates this summer in Vegas, also unbeknownst to me, but I ended up not going and he found other roommates. He's dealt to me at events, and even had cocktails in the same general group I was out with following a modicum of tournament success here or there.. but our interaction has been unremarkable. We have no less than 2198348 mutual friends. Some of them, even close friends. He's also one of the very few men I can list on the hopefully-perpetually-short charter of guys I've flirted with.. and have completely shot me down. I seriously got the "It's not you, it's me" speech. I know, right?

Crash AND Burn.

This tour through Tunica though, we've managed to link up and share more than a few excellent conversations rife with witty banter and more text messages than should be considered normal. He's a million miles from home, locked in a hotel for 10 plus days, and I'm taking advantage of him being a captive audience. He's a poker anomaly.  The most excellent manners, ethics and perspectives. A stark difference from the typical industry employee.

Josh is the sort of guy that I could throw into just about any social scenario and he'd be the perfect companion. He never appears bored or less than gracious, and he can talk to anyone.  Plus, he doesn't make me nuts. Which ranks him among a very small group that includes famed characters such as Sharkady,  Mr. Dick, Monk, Kai and Scott "The Creeper" Williams.  There are others of course, but I list this to point out that it takes a sort of eclectic soul for me to really connect with.  I have ADD or something, and my attention span is limited. Josh is like a glittery ball. And we all know how I feel about glittery balls. I'm a fan.

Mesmerizing, no?

I'm not one of those people who stress about the end of events, when it's time for everyone to go home. One thing I'm confident in is how quickly we all see each other again, and how accessible life on the circuit is. So though I'll miss Sam once he goes out to Vegas for the remainder of the year, I know I'll see him when I make it out that way. And though I'll miss the glittery ball that is Josh, I'll get to badger him in a couple of weeks in Biloxi.

A few housekeeping items that I've been asked about by readers.

Mr. Suave from "How Not to Pick up a Woman", cropped back up last week. He brought me flowers. Well, a flower anyway. He apologized profusely for being such a douchebag and crossing the line. He was handsome as ever, but I just couldn't get past the idea of choking him and slapping him around. (His request, not mine). Apparently he read the blog (Who knew he was literate?) and was mortified. I assured him I'd never "out" him and no one would ever know his identity.  He asked if he could hug me, and we parted with a firm handshake and well wishes.

My housekeeper is still keeping house. She talks a LOT, so I generally hide when she comes over, but I like the gal and am appreciative for her help.

The WPO numbers are incredibly high. The turnout has been excellent.  I have a few pictures of my WPO experience so-far. I will include them for your voyeuristic pleasure.  I'll put a lot more in my summation blog post, but these are just some of the highlights of the nights/mornings out and the events so far.

This is how they grow poker room supervisors in MO.

Not as salacious as it looks.. But I was happy for a St. Louis group hug.
Dayan and Stephen.. at Stephen's first event.

Mitch Harris: Superstar.
BadHat being a Badass.

Ryan Potter, being a pimp.

Kevin, tearing up the cash games.
And now, a little rant/bitch session.  I'm entitled. Skip this part if you're not feeling empathetic.

Working in the casino industry can be the most isolating experience a person can endure.  You're absolutely surrounded by people, but your life cycle goes something like this Sleep, Work, Sleep, Work, Sleep, Work, a couple days off, then back to the grind. You're a vessel for other people's entertainment, which means if you're performing your job function properly, you're never really seen. You just provide the best entertainment experience possible.  If you're lucky, you'll make a few real connections with coworkers and find some levity during your shifts.  Dealers in particular experience this. 8 or 10 hours of passing briefly through other people's great time, with interaction limited to a witty comment or a friendly greeting.

Cue emo picture.

Grave shift is a wonder to me.  It doesn't matter how long you're on it, you never quite adjust.  Or at least, I don't. It is socially crippling too.  Even the hardest partiers among my friends just can't quite make it until my 8 am off-time and if they do, I'm babysitting a bunch of mentally challenged Betty Ford hopefuls. My rock and roll hour is between 9 am and noon.  Let's face it.. nothing mysterious, sexy or thrilling ever happened during that time frame. For anyone.  Sometimes on Sunday during "All you can drink Mimosa" brunch, I'll find myself with a few octogenarians with a penchant for champagne over at the Goldstrike Cafe'.  Sure, with a midnight start time I can go out in the evenings.. but usually I have to wind down a few hours before things really get hoppin'.

My 9 am Party Crowd.

It sounds like I'm bitching, but I'm not.  I think I'm just being reflective.  I've been in a weird state of not-depressed, but not exactly jubilant. I am extremely lucky to have the job that I do, doing something that I have the potential to be great at, in a field that excites me. I wouldn't trade it for anything that might be "easier" right now in terms of hours or expectations.

I think it's really important to try to establish some normalcy while on grave. Do typical things that people would do on any other shift. Cook a meal, watch a movie. Pair up with people who are on the same regiment and go outside the casino on more than just your days off. It's very easy, if you don't, to treat your work week like a perpetual business trip.  You shut down normal life, work five days and then spend your two days off realigning everything a million different ways to integrate a normal schedule. 

Sunshine: Goof for the soul. Make time for it.

Okay, I'll get off my soap box now and get ready to head South for a few days.  I'll be staying at Sam's Town, so any of you who are not-creepers and have found the unfortunate end of sold out rooms.. hit me up. I have an extra bed and likely won't be in my room during the hours you would be. If I don't respond to your message, it doesn't necessarily mean that I think you're creepy.

But it might. <3

Come see me this week!

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