Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The world's richest janitor

Poker and life are both games that generally reward aggression, but occasionally present situations where neither folding nor raising are optimal, but the best thing to do is check call and hope that your hand will be seen as best.

Someone said once that the past is like a foreign country in the sense that the people talk differently and wear funny clothes. If that's the case, then my present Vegas experience is similar to emigrating and then running into people you knew from the old country but quite honestly never expected to see again. Some faces you expect: the people you emigrated with if you like. These are the people you have a strong shared experience with, and because of this plus the fact that you expect to go on seeing them regularly, it's in everybody's best interest that even if they occasionally or even often do stuff that pisses you off or you do stuff that pisses them off, it's best to just forgive and move on. It's also easier not to hold grudges against people you naturally like or feel an affinity with.

Some of the unexpected faces from the past that have popped up again are dealers, waitresses, tournament staff, and players. It shouldn't be unexpected to see them, yet when you've consigned them mentally to the past, it's still surprising to see them again, talking and looking slightly differently from how you remembered then. When I first visited Vegas for the WSOP two years ago, my brother railed me all through my day and a bit of the main event. The best player on my starting table was a guy whose name I forget (I'm useless at remembering names) from some small state like Wisconsin (or Milwaukee, or Montana: I'm as hazy on geography as I am on names but I never forget a face). His girlfriend was railing him and got to know my brother as a result. At the time, her boyfriend was a blue collar online qualifier who didn't play online very much. I ran into him and his girlfriend (now his wife) in the Rio a few days ago and they seemed as surprised to see me as I was to see them. She asked about my brother: I told them he had drifted away from poker. I asked if he played more poker these days: it turns out he's now full time and made over 300K online last year. This didn't surprise me on the grounds that I could see even two years ago he was a top class poker player with great discipline and focus, but rather on the grounds of how unassuming he still is.

On the poker front, it's been a relatively quiet week of regrouping before I play my final batch of bracelet events culminating in the main. I've been mainly grinding stts (with some limited success) and the daily mtts (ditto, I final tabled the nightly $340). I think my mtt form dipped a little for a few days, mainly down to losing patience in certain spots and making lazy gambley calls, and I've also been more prone to making one or two gross errors. I'm confident (or at least hopeful) I'll be back playing my A game in time for the last few WSOP events.

Fair play to Paul Lucey for throwing the party of the year in Vegas. It was a great night with a great crowd, all the expected faces and a few unexpected bonuses like my mate Mark Dalimore and Ozzy. Me and Rob are meeting Ozzy again on Monday evening for dinner. Hopefully we'll find something different to order on the menu. We've fallen into a frankly alarming pattern of me ordering something, and Rob peering at the menu before saying "Same for me" that surely has people thinking we're a gay couple. Rob's manbag is not exactly helping on that front either.

Also fair play to Paul for his part in the funniest Vegas story I've heard this year. He was with my Bruce teammate Frances "Wally" McCormack. Wally was looking for the Full Tilt lounge to collect gear. Spotting Phil Ivey, the never shy Wally asked Phil where the lounge was. As they walked away afterwards, Paul asked Wally, "How did you know that janitor?".



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