Tonight (well actually early on Friday morning) someone is going to win $12 million for winning the 2006 World Series of Poker. I will be live blogging the final table on Tao of Poker. Stop by to watch if you are bored.
I wrote some interesting things this past week on the Tao of Poker that I want to share with you here.
Monday August 7, 2006
Bright lights. Puerile city. I'm numb to it all by now. The buzzing slot machines. The cocktail waitresses jacked up on valium. The disgruntled dealers chainsmoking outside. I pass all of them on my way to work and don't even blink.
There are 45 players left in the WSOP championship. That's all I care about at this point. If you gave any of the remaining players a knife, they'd happily slit the throats of their tablemates. I would for $12 million. I'd do it for a lot less. Heck, Otis ate two Lupis-ridden Keno crayons for $400. I'm sure I could find someone at the Rio who would kill one of your co-workers for roughly the same price.
As Michalski succinctly said, "I know a Vietnamese guy who will take care of your problems for $1,500. They are more expensive that the Russians. But they do a much cleaner job."
People forget that underneath the flashing lights of fabricated Las Vegas, the underbelly of society operates in the shadows. The cops out here are trigger happy. They shoot first and ask questions later. Gangbangers running crystal meth roam freely in North Las Vegas and shoot each other every hour on the hour. The skinny crack whores blantanly stroll along Tropicana Ave. near the location of the Redneck Riviera. There are hundreds of immigrants for hire that will install a sprinkler system in your yard or brutally murder anyone on your shitlist.
And on top of all that depravity, the WSOP has exploded into a money making machine. The players are not seeing any of it. The prize pool was generated by themselves, minus a small fee of $5.2 million that Harrah's takes... for what I have no clue. All I know is that there's Milwaukee's Best and Party Poker and Corum Watches banners all over the place, which reminds me that poker is big business, and a bunch of suits are sitting on huge piles of money, while the dealers with two kids working 12-16 hours a day are getting stiffed. Everyday the cycle continues.
The hallways at the Rio are filled with sunburnt tourists snapping photos of leggy models hired by online poker sites. I wonder what BoDog's model budget is? They are blurring the lines of prostitution and flirting with the underage sex business. Ultimate Bet got in trouble because they hired 16 year old models to work their hospitality suite. Even degenerates like myself and Foiled Coup had to question their ethics on that one. This city is filled with tweakers and pedophiles, and most of them bought into the WSOP.
UB hired 16 year olds to wear skimpy clothing and yes, they are the same company that threw millions of dollars at Phil Hellmuth to be their pitch man, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they'd hire teenage prostitutes to pimp their shit.
The double digit IQ models roam the hallways using their sexuality (and hard as rock nipples due to the frigid AC int he Rio) so you will go home and whack off to their tight asses or oversized breasts, before you sign up for an account at the online site of the day and piss away your paycheck overvaluing TPTK against a chain-smoking donkey from Fresno who chased a gutshot to the river.
Sex sells. And sex and gambling is a lethal combination. I should know. I'm addicted to both.
The whoring goes on in the hallways while the poker goes on inside the Amazon ballroom. That's been overlooked. Some pros like Humberto Brenes or Allen Cunningham and random newbies are playing the best poker of their lives. But you won't hear about it. That's where you see the results of checkbook journalism. Sure the suits want you to come and cover the WSOP, but not too close so that you actually report what's going on. The Europeans players are wicked pissed. They are being ignored by the official media. The middle tiered pros are overlooked. And Asian poker players are ignored unless you happen to have tits.
We do our best under the circumstances. Check out PokerStars Blog. Otis put together a superteam of writers, journalists, and reporters for their blog. And we're kicking ass without the same access as exclusive media outlets. And we're 1/10 of the size of them.
Corporate America corrupted poker. The WSOP has been tainted like the slutty girl on your freshman hall dorm with a severe case of the clap. But we're horny losers with self-esteem issues and fuck her anyway. The thrill, the rush, and the high far outweighs the long term consequences.
Someday all of this insanity is going to end. But for now, I'm caught up in the maelstrom of the WSOP for a few more days.
Tuesday August 8, 2006
Poker is big business. Just look at all the numerous ads on the poker tables. Televised poker is even bigger business. Online poker is such a tremendous cash cow that our Government is threatening to shut it down unless they get a fat cut. And the slanted wealth at the WSOP is both enticing and sickening in the same breath.
Today is the 11th day of action at the WSOP Championship. There are 27 men left trying to position themselves for a shot at $12 million. Greg Raymer won $5M in 2004. Joe Hachem won $7.5M last year. This year's winner will take home almost as much as the last two champions combined. In fact, when Texas Doyle took down back-to-back championships in the 1970s, he won a combined $560K. Whoever makes the final two table will get more than Brunson won for both his world titles.
Whoever wins the $12 million first place prize is going to discover that the title is both a blessing and a curse. The rabid poker fans want every second of your time. The other jealous-ridden poker players will do anything to take down a champion. And the unsympathetic media will rummage through your garbage and call up your ex-wife and ask how small your penis is.
The vultures are already circling the Rio, looking to pick apart the poker carcasses. Immoral agents, slick managers, shady online poker sites, scumbag lawyers, and gold digging pieces of ass are trying to chummy-up to the money winners during the breaks. While broke family members, old coworkers, former highschool chemistry lab partners, and every scam artist on the West Coast are all crawling out from under the rocks where they live trying their best shot to grab a piece of the remaining players. These are the world's angle shooters. The lazy fucktards who will try to cash in on the celebrity and financial success of their family, friends, or strangers. I feel bad for the remaining 27 players... because a handful are gonna get played by people they thought they could trust.
My advice to the new crop of WSOP millionaires? Trust nobody. Especially a suit or someone you meet roaming the halls. It reminds me of how Hunter Thompson described Hollyweird as, "a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."
There's one guy who's been hanging on the rail. He wears a cheap off-the-rack suit from JC Penny and has that $40 used car salesman smile. He's been promising players that he'll become their manager and make them a huge star.
There's one smoking-hot blonde who's been keeping her eye on the action. She'll suck and fuck and anal lube her way into the lonely life of one of the big money winners. She's sell out her depraved soul to get her hands on a big wad of cash.
Then there's the long lost out-of-work cousin who had been following the action online. He jumped in his car last night and drove 15 hours to Vegas to "sweat" his family member. He's just here for a handout and a chance of getting in the background shot when ESPN airs the WSOP.
The biggest pitfall at the WSOP is not getting trapped for all your chips... it's falling prey to the dark side of this town. While the media and ESPN are over-hyping the tournament, the dregs of society are on the rail ready to beg, borrow, lie, or cheat their way into getting a cut.
But you already knew that.
Stop by the Tao of Poker for photos and coverage.