27 June 2006

The Beginning

So what is it really like, the World Series of Poker? I'll be honest, I was a bit skeptical coming into this. I've played at the Bellagio during the WPT Five Diamonds, I've sat two tables from the Big Game, peering over my red chips to see Ivey, Harman, Hansen et al toss chip worth 200-1000x my little nickels. Truly, watching a poker tourney is like watching paint dry. You can't see anything, everyone folds, you crane away trying to figure out what's happening.

This is unique in a few ways. First, you wander around, snaking through tables quietly sneaking a peak at those you recognize and those you don't. The more fascinating thing are the railbirds watching the nameless sea of players. Alma and Wayne Parks flew down from upstate New York to sweat their son, Lucas. A serious knee injury dashed his baseball dreams while playing in Troy, Alabama. He'll graduate soon, probably heading home. He qualified here through Absolute Poker, with a return ticket for 11 July.

Blake Toungate from Austin played in last year's WSOP, cashing in this event at 181. He bought in directly and is back for more. Tamra Slobojan peers into the eyes of her husband Michael, a Stars qualifier, rooting for his survival. Then there is the lady I photographed with the nifty glasses. Mortified, she tells me she's sweating her lover of five years, and please destroy the photos (have done so).

Then there are the folks lucky enough to sit at Table 130, with Phil Ivey in the 3s, John Phan in the 5s, and Ron Rose in the 8s. This on one of 201 tables of 11 players each. I'll try to sniff out who the 4s is.

Thanks for all the emails. I'll keep posting throughout the day.


Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

I think MiamiDon and I are going to sneak over to the Rio on Friday. I'll try to find you :)

6:00 PM  

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