At the World Series of Poker, Part I

by Lou on July 10, 2006

It’s like I never left. I arrived at the World Series of Poker to a Deja Vu felling of having been gone only momentarily, instead of an entire year, and it all looked the same.

The tournament room is the same, only this year they managed to squeeze 208 tables inside it instead of the mere 200 last year, and to tell you the truth, I don’t know where or how they rearranged things to allow an additional 80 players to be seated in the room.

It was full. It always is. Sunday was the start of the ladies event, and more than 1,100 women entered, nearly double the size of last year’s field. The $10,000 pot-limit Omaha event also started yesterday. Another corner of the room featured the final tables of a no-limit hold’em tourney that began a day earlier.

Those tables not give over to tournament play were filled with cash games. But some things were different, and better. Logistics include additional bathrooms, and breaks that were sequenced so that everyone wasn’t running to the john or on a dinner break at the same time.

Press credentialing was smooth, and the media room was well appointed, although I fear it will be grossly inadequate to handle the crowd expected to cover poker’s big kahuna, the $10,000 buy-in, no-limit hold’em tournament.

I’m staying at the Imperial palace, which really ought to be torn down and rebuilt. It’s been expanded so many times over the years that it resembles a rabbit warren, with blind-alley corridors, and banks of elevators that take you everywhere you don’t want to go, but seldom to your destination. I’m here, rather than at the Golden Nugget, my usual Vegas digs, because www.holdemradio.com has set up a remote broadcast facility here for the duration of the tourney, and I intend to do as much broadcasting as I can, both live interviews and taped stuff that can run later on “Keep Flopping Aces,” the show Amy Calistri and I host every Thursday night at 9:00 PM EDT.

All I did yesterday was shmooze and chat; I didn’t play a single hand of poker. But I intend to rectify that today. I might go over to the Venetian. I’ve never seen the room and hear it’s spectacular so I hope to give it a try later. Hold’em radio has a party yesterday evening, and I hung out there with Program Director Wade Andrews and Jennifer Shoots who hosts a sports show every Thursday night that follows “Keep Flopping Aces” in the time slot.

But I didn’t last long. I was tired and trundled off only to play two hours of online poker before crawling off to sleep.

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