Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vagaries of Vegas

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

It's been a rollercoaster of emotions since I've been back. The most stability has been in my writing and I'm back on a course that I originally set a few months ago. After a minor detour, I'm back on track and mentally prepared for the final two/three weeks of the WSOP. However, I had to endure a mixed bag of emotions over the last few days that tested all of my fortitude.

There are plenty of hustlers and big time industry players who show up at this time of year in Las Vegas. I get pitched dozens and dozens of products. I'm sought out by numerous sleazebuckets who want to exploit all the hard work I created on Tao of Poker and pay me peanuts to do the same for them. At this point, I know within five seconds of their pitch if they're gonna get shot down or not. In the end, most of the talk is just that... people who think they are big shots when in reality they're nothing more than vultures and parasites looking to make a quick buck in poker.

Despite all that bullshit, there are some juicy and legit deals floating around the hallways. I nailed one down while most of my colleagues were swamped with work, or getting shitfaced, or losing their paychecks at the tables (yeah, there's a reason why people are poker media and not professional poker players - but for some reason those degenerates are utterly clueless. They're lambs being led to the slaughter, but the worst ones because they are so blinded by their own distorted view of self-awareness).

I knew the deal was upcoming regarding a French version of Lost Vegas, but that momentous day finally happened. Benjo introduced me Jerome, to a friend of his who will be publishing Lost Vegas in French. I had no idea how big of a deal Jerome's company was until we spoke about distribution and I did a little research on my one. Think the French equivalent of Borders, and that's where Lost Vegas will be sometime in the Spring of 2010.

Holy shit.

The book hasn't even been published yet in America, and I already made a tentative deal to have it translated into French. Of course, Benjo will translate and it which makes me even more excited. He has a firm grasp of the English language and understands how I write, which is essential for a flawless translation.

That news elated me to no end. I was already bumming about the prospects of being back in Las Vegas when I have zero desire to be here. I'm only here for the money (which makes me a whore) and to promote my book (which makes me a pimp).

Nicky has had a horrendous summer. Her birthday always falls in the middle of the WSOP, and it's sort of like celebrating your birthday in the middle of a prison sentence. She's been full of tears this summer more times than I can count, which of course, makes me go a little crazy because I want to pummel all the idiots who send her on tilt and make her cry. As the adage goes, "You make her cry, then I make you cry 100 times harder."

Alas, nature of the business. She's a tough chick and has more talent than almost everyone in the industry, so I keep reminding her that there's a reason that she gets flown all over the world to cover poker tournaments while the rest of her colleagues get stuck humping dead end jobs.

I've been trying to inspire her by example, and I think she's finally getting it. Hopefully she's been seeing the benefits of working independent of the system which is the main reason I was able to take off for three weeks in the middle of the WSOP and hire out writers to do my job (I should say, keeping the flow of the Tao of Poker) for me. Poker media are exploited by their employers and abused by the readers who shit on the reporters for providing... free coverage. It's a no-win situation.

At this point, I can sense that Nicky's frustration will get her ass in gear to finish her screenplay by the end of this year. Plus, there are a few more side projects that I'm interested in working on after Lost Vegas gets published that I'll definitely bring her into. In addition, I had several long talks with Iggy during our Phish sojourn and we're both excited about working on a joint venture in the very immediate future. I can't wait to discuss that in more detail with him and launch our project.

Sometimes, it's hard to see the light when you're bogged down in the darkness. As soon as she takes a step back, she'll realize how much more opportunity there is and that freedom is significantly more important than a paycheck.

Las Vegas is a dark city. If you read my poker blog, you know that. And after you read Lost Vegas, you'll see more examples as I dive down the rabbit hole and confront my inner demons on the streets of Sin City. It wasn't pretty, but I survived to tell my tale.

The darkness also traps people. There are so many malcontents running around poker that it took me five years to see how entrenched they are. Skipping a few weeks and returning midway was an enlightening experience. I was astonished and mortified at what I saw. The sadness. The depression. The melancholy. And of course, I showed up the opposite. It's amazing what some time away from the darkness will do.

Alas, I was missed by my friends and colleagues, and that always gives me an ego boost. We all want to feel relevant in some way or another. I'm sure what they didn't miss was my SOP mood swings. I can get super grumpy at times and there are hours, days, and weeks when I'm on uber-tilt, usually by the content thieves as my blood boils while I write yet another cease and desist email from some website in Russia or Finland who has been jacking my shit.

Luckily Otis skipped the first half of the WSOP which will minimize his tilt, but the downside is that I can't maximize his tilt for a hefty profit! We returned to Lime Tossing, a past time that has become quite popular. It's one of the few things that I look forward to every night.

Degenerate citrus fruit tossing? Only in Las Vegas.

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