Monday, August 8, 2011

The End: My Farewell, the WPO, Cooper is the Catalyst, Scotty too Hotty's Brain Freeze and More.

"When the pain of remaining the same ....
becomes greater than the fear of change...
 surely we will let go."

Really, it's all Josh Cooper's fault.  Everything.  He came into Tunica and destroyed worlds and crushed dreams. He made a grown man nearly cry, and a woman abandon her home to cross the United States in hopes of living the dream. When this all ends terribly, it'll be him we blame.  As if we don't, already. Aren't dealers the ones we can always blame when the cards don't run in our favor? I like to think so. At least, in this case.

But more on that in a bit.

The WPO is over with.  I'm a bit heartsick, I must admit.  This is the first big event that Scott and I ever played together, what seems like ages ago.  And it'll be the last for awhile I'm afraid.  I don't suppose I can't go much further into this blog, with it making much sense, if I don't start at the beginning.

Please, please be as fabulous as the sign promises!
I have submitted my resignation to Horseshoe, Tunica and accepted a position with the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas. NV.  That's right, boys and girls, this southern gal is going Vegas style. And I'm terrified. Excited, and terrified all at the same time. I have a week, give or take, left in the south east United States, before I pack up the Orange Beast, take a very few possessions and make my way west. Again.

I say again, because I sort of have a habit of doing this.  Once when I was 18, I put everything I owned in a Geo Metro and went off for Los Angeles.  No real plan, just me and my car in quite possibly the scariest city in the world.  Not even a place to live, or more than $300 to my name.  Excellent planning. But it worked out. I had a blast, got a bit of education, fell in love and procreated. 

I crossed the United States then to move to North Carolina with my fledgling marriage and soon to be baby. Coast to Coast.. feet in one ocean one morning, 36 hours later, feet in the other. We bounced around a bit on the eastern seaboard, and even did a brief stint in Japan.

My marriage nor my son survived, it was a really dark spell, and I made the cross country trek back to the safety of middle America. Didn't take me long before I got the bug, and back to California I went. Acquired a cat, a bit more education, and a penchant for sushi in overpriced restaurants.

My apparent theme song. Great.

Never one to keep things firmly rooted in one location, North Carolina called me home again.  I suppose by now I feel like that wretched country song.. "Heads Carolina, Tails California".  Actually, let me side bar for a minute.  I was once standing in the Mojave Desert with a beautiful Marine.  He was headed east, and pulled out a quarter.  He actually quoted the song, I called it, and sure enough.. back east we went. I was pretty open minded like that.  This sounds cheesy now, but it's probably the romantic pinnacle of my life. True story. Anyway, North Carolina was even better the second time around. Got published. Changed the world. Or at least, my county, through journalism. Things were swell.  Different boy, same ridiculous intentions, but west we went..

And that landed me here. Back in Memphis.  This time, there is no boy, no procreation and no ridiculous dreams.  I'm actually leaving behind a lot more than I stand to gain.  And yet, I have to go. I have this ridiculous calling to go, see, do and experience.  And right now, I'm a floundering guppy in a stagnant pond.

I won't say anything negative or revealing about my time with Horseshoe, Tunica.  Lisa Crompton is quite possibly one of the best bosses I've ever had (Denise Foster, you were practically a mom to me, so don't take offense! I love you! Thanks for publishing my ridiculously long winded rants!). I learned more from my stint at Horseshoe than I could have anywhere else in a lifetime. It was emotionally stressful, hard work and something I benefited from tremendously. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't do well with some of the cliques. It wasn't a smooth run, but I'm grateful for the experience and will look forward to the opportunity to work with Harrah's again someday. If you have the chance to play in Tunica, go by the 'Shoe.  They have some of the most dedicated, professional staff in poker.  Tell Joe and Gabe I said Hi. And that I miss and love them.

You all know how I love things that sparkle...

It's time for me to move on though, and the next step for me is dealing. In Vegas. Bright lights, big city. I'm still a guppy, I'm just moving to a bigger pond.

A lot of you had no idea this was coming. Some of you knew it before I did.  I'm sorry for those I'm not going to get to say goodbye to.  I hope you'll keep in touch.  I care tremendously about a lot of the friends I've made here. I promise to get an awesome apartment with an extra fabulous futon in the spare room.. and you can all come sleep on my couch. Or hell, I'll take the couch and you take the bed.  That's how we roll in the South.

More than you know.

I'm going to miss being away from my Mom a tremendous amount.  I'm not even allowing myself to think about this yet, except with thoughts that I'll visit often.. she'll visit, and that someday maybe we'll end up on the same end of the continental United States again.  She's learning to deal, and she's going to come spend some time in Vegas.  I'm so grateful for the time we've spent together on this trip home. She's a constant inspiration to me, and I am proud to be her daughter. As we age, our time with our parents grows shorter and more precious.  I'm feelin' it now more than usual.

The next big question, as a lot of you will have already asked, is "What about Scott?".

Well, really, after the way he played his Queens in the main event at the WPO, I don't really mind leaving him 3,000 miles behind.  Seriously.  You should have been there.

With that aside, I'm going to allow his ego to go completely out of control for a moment. I don't think a day is gonna go by for a long time that I don't cry for missing his dumbass. He's my person.  Sure, he aggravates the hell out of me. I mean, anyone who has played at a poker table with the two of us in the last 9,000 events can see this. If we had a dollar for every time someone suggested that we get married, we'd both be able to retire. Independently. In separate countries. I love him. A whole bunch. Which I'm sure he knows, and hell, everyone else knew from day one. For those who were pulling for us, our "fan club" if you will, it was never meant to be more than a friendship.. hate to let you all down.  I know we made a lot of jokes and allusions to more.  He really did write me poetry in bed that night. We weren't joking about that.  And he really does have photos on his phone of me that are suitable for blackmail, but who doesn't?

I've had some of the best times, and the most laughter of my life with that guy. I'm so grateful we had a weekend of camping and swimming, far away from a casino, before I picked up to move. I could spend a week in a padded room with him and be entertained. (And it's been suggested...).

This picture both shocks and delights me. I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.
I swear.

Things are going to be different. I'll visit, he'll visit, and life will go on.  Maybe now he can get a steady girlfriend.  She won't be as awesome as me. And even if she is, I'll pretend otherwise. And maybe I'll actually have a date that doesn't end with me calling Scott to complain. We've been in a few sticky situations together, and our friendship has always survived.  At least I'll always have my stalker photo (Blog post regarding stalker photo here: .....).  It'll hang in my new home. Probably over the bed. To creep out any future boyfriends.  This would delight Scotty too Hotty.  I'll miss you, Mr. Celebrity.  Most of all.

Remember that time you pushed me down the stairs? I do.

Which brings me full circle, back to why I have to go and why this is a good move.  It's time to move forward in some capacity or another.  I've been waffling on it for a long time now. I've been asking for a sign for awhile, something to motivate me towards change.

I got it in the form of a blond dealer with a sarcastic tongue and a weakness for blogs.  I mentioned him briefly in my last post.  Josh wandered into my card room, struck up a conversation (He reads the blog! I'm a fan of my readers!), and a quick "Hey, we have mutual friends" chat turned into a ten hour conversation. Which turned into ten, ten hour conversations. 

During our conversations, we talked about his command decision to embrace change as a necessary reality.  Starting over, striking out on a lark without any guarantees, and the adventures it's entailed.  Here's a kid who is significantly younger, and yet he's got a lot more figured out about life than I do.  We talked about career fears and risk verses reward. And it was through these conversations, and how desperately I clung vicariously to his experiences, that I realized I needed to gamble a little bit and get moving.  I'm simply not happy here.  I'm a happy girl, surrounded by people who make me happy, but overall.. I'm not challenged, I'm not progressing and I'm not thrilled at being in a stagnant pond.

The cup is Tunica.. and well.. You get the point.

So I was inspired by someone to take that final leap into life changing decisions, and I may not even ever see him again. I mean, sure we may end up in the same city at the same time.  He's a touring dealer and technically homeless, but really, it wasn't about HIM.. but the message. I heard it loud and clear. The worst thing that could possibly happen is I end up in an apartment with two other people, sleeping on a floor and starving while unemployed. He survived it. I can too.

If this ends poorly, send him your letters of complaint.

The end for Scott.. and the hands of Mr. Cooper.

In a fit of poetic justice, it would be Cooper that would deal the hand that would knock Scotty out of the main event at the WPO.  Queens vs Aces on a low technicolor board. I talked to Scott for over an hour tonight about what went wrong.  Everyone in the room knew he was beat, but for whatever reason, he kept putting chips in the pot.  He says.. "All I know is, I went to dinner break with you, went up to your room, came back downstairs and threw away $140,000."  I like to think I'm worth distracting a man away from $140K, but really, neither of us know what happened.  He says "I know I'm going to sound crazy here.. but my brain stopped working. I don't understand it."

Actual photo of Scott on dinner break.

Fatigue maybe?  Bad food from the Atrium?  Disparity over my impending move?  We'll never know.  Three from the money, of which he was almost guaranteed to cash. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

So really, like I said.. it's all Cooper's fault.  The good, the bad AND the ugly.  Forward your customer service complaints to him. If you can track him down.  He's a mobile individual.

And by mobile I mean... Homeless.

I have a lot of things to say about the WPO. Congrats to Team Bustout's Smilin' Don for his 3rd place finish, Kyle Cartwright to his 4th place finish, and the always impressive David Diaz for bringing home the big bucks.  I'm always sad at the end of an event.  Particularly sad for this one, with it being the last time I'm in Tunica for awhile.  During one of those ten hour chats, it was said.. "Next time you're here, you'll be a tourist."  And that really kicked my ass.  True, but who wants to think of that?

I had some tremendously good nights out with the crew from St. Louis. Had more than a few beverages with Smilin' Don Norman, Tim Burt and Ryan "Corinth" Enis. Shared a breakfast with Sam Barnhart, conversation with Vanessa Rousso, a fabulous birthday dinner with my wonderful mother. I laid in a dark hotel room with Mr. Celebrity Status and helped plot his way towards $140,000. I put a new friend on an airplane, with an entirely different story than I had when he first flew in. It's been a long strange trip, and I'm quite possibly the luckiest woman I know to have had all the experiences I've had here.

Thank you, Tunica. <3 <3 <3 In a weird way, I'm going to miss you.

Moving Forward....

Next week, we have an event starting at the Riviera.  It's a big national pool players convention, a huge deal with the area, and they LOVE some poker. Join me and Ms. Sharkady, rockstar poker room manager, for some of the best action anywhere.. cause you know pool players are gamblers.  We've got tournaments, live games and round the clock action.  I'm counting on some familiar faces to help me adjust to Vegas.  Come see me, give me a hug and remind me that everything will settle down soon enough.  Join me for cocktails afterwards.  I am looking forward to seeing you ALL in Vegas, to dealing to you and to maybe conning a few of you into giving me a tour of the city... We shall have a toast. To new beginnings. You can do it too, you know. Pick up and go.  If I can, anyone can. I have faith in you.  (And I need you to have faith in me!).

I'm going to leave you with a song that kinda sums up how I'm feeling about everything. It's a personal favorite. Check it out if you like.

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