Thursday, May 31, 2007

Third Place

It was 104 degrees when I got into the car yesterday. It's going to be at least that over the next few weeks. Why can't the WSOP be in the winter months?

We drove over to the east side of town by UNLV for a four hour meeting with PokerNews. For the first time, the entire coverage team was assembled including the new interns and the rest of the veteran staff. We ate lunch at Marie Callender's which is like a dessert place that also serves food.

Schecky led the meeting and only told one bad joke. The meeting was not as boring as I anticipated. The best part about working freelance without an office is skipping meetings. I had the occasional conference call which lasted a few minutes at most. And usually, I was emailed instructions from the people I worked for. This is the first time I'm working in a corporate structure with over thirty or more employees.

My favorite pic of Jen Leo...
taken in 2005 at one of the WSOP parties

After the meeting Jen Leo invited me to her birthday celebration at Treasure Island which included drinks at a tequila bar called Ilsa followed up by playing in the tournament in the poker room. One of our staff members at Poker News, Jonno, is a guy I met in Australia. He's an Aussie and all Aussie love to drink. He wondered what beer I had ordered.

"Dos Equis. Or the two Xs." I said.

In OZ, there's a crap beer that's called XXXX. He approved of my choice.

After two hours of drinking, we were all riled up and headed en masse to the poker room. It was a $60 tournament with four tables. I was seated at the same table as Mean Gene and Nicky, who was to my right.

I played well during the first level and was among the chipleaders. I didn't care about cashing, I just wanted to outlast Schecky. We had a last longer bet. Spaceman and I kept an eye on the Stanley Cup finals as the game was a deadlocked 0-0 tie late in the 3rd period. I also watched the Spurs whoop the Jazz. I wanted to bet the Spurs (spread was -7) but I made a promise not to gamble on sports until NFL season started.

By the second level, I busted two players including a French tourist who tried to bluff me. I made a few semi-bluffs which are hands that are not made but I still had chances left to make the best hand. I guess I bullied around my table which aside from Mean Gene and Nicky, were all tourists. Oh and the lovely Jen Leo was moved to my table.

When there was two tables left, I was one of the chipleaders. I moved to Jonno's table along with Mean Gene and Nicky. I busted a couple of more players including Nicky who was wicked pissed that she went out. I raised all in with 6-4 and she called my bluff with K-Q. I made my hand on the river and she was eliminated.

"You're walking home or catching a cab," she barked which made all the spectators watching the tournament laugh.

At least she made the money in 5th place. I was the chipleader and $750 went to first place. Sadly, I busted out in 3rd and Jonno took down second place. I won like $350 and tipped $40 to the dealers. They were happy. I was happy. I actually cashed in a tournament and won the last longer bet with Schecky.

After the tournament, we headed out to the floor (or pit) to play Pai Gow. We taught Mean Gene how to play and drank. I ended up losing only $20 before we called it a night. Nicky crashed as soon as she got home and I stayed up to write for two hours before eventually passing out myself.

The apartment is quiet at night. The complex is a weird mix. There are some older people, some kids, and a lot of strange people walking around. They could be strippers or black jack dealers. Who knows? We do have two tennis courts and two pools. I don't think I'll be using either in the next two months. I officially start work on Friday. That means I have one last day to run errands and relax before two insane weeks of work and writing and sleeping for two hours every night.

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