Borders Book Signing; Gavin Smith Named WPT Player of the Year

by Lou on May 13, 2006

Yesterday, before the book signing, a friend asked me for two numbers. The first was to be a number that would cause me to say, “Wow, I really thought more people would show up;” the other was a number that would make me say, “Wow, I never thought this many people would be here.”

My numbers were 10 and 70. I knew I’d be very disappointed if there were fewer than ten attendees, and I’d be overjoyed if as many as 70 people were in the audience. The signing and poker lecture was slated to be held right in the midst of the sales floor at Borders, so it had a lot of walk-by traffic. In addition, four rows of chairs were placed in front of a table and display rack that contained all my books, and announcements about the poker lecture and book signing were made by the store manager every 30 minutes for a few hours prior to the event.

I set my laptop up right on that table so I could face the audience while running the PowerPoint slides used during the seminar. Once the seminar was over, I used that same table to sign books.

This particular store, located at an outdoor movie, dining, and boutique filled mall called “The River” is usually busy, and on Friday night it is always busy. Parking was difficult – it usually is at that hour — and we drove around for about ten minutes before we found a spot.

I marked the attendee count at about 50 people, not including those who were too young to play poker. In addition to its upscale restaurants and art galleries that cater to the country club set from Palm Springs all the way to La Quinta, The River is also the place where teenagers cluster every weekend, and the bookstore, with its café, and large music section, is a favorite spot for them to hang out. Lots of teens were either standing, walking by, or sitting while I talked about poker, but I won’t count them because they’re too young to gamble.

Borders did a good job handling the logistics. There were posters, announcements, and I had a good location inside the store and a local radio interview the Monday preceding the signing drew some customers in to see me.
For some reason, I love these sorts of events. The opportunity to talk about poker in locations outside of cardrooms and casinos is something I really enjoy, so I’ll look for more opportunities in the future.

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On another topic entirely, kudos to Gavin Smith for capping an incredibly successful year of play on the World Poker Tour by being named their “Season IV Player of the Year.”

Smith reached the final table in three separate $10,000 buy-in World Poker Tour events during the past year, and took first-place at the 2005 Mirage Poker Showdown.

I first met Gavin at ESCARGOT (a southern California spinoff of BARGE). Gavin increases the fun factor of any event he plays in by at least twenty percent, so having him around is always terrific.

I’m happy for his successes and wish him more of the same.

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