The Celebrity Factor

by Lou on December 8, 2005

I’m off to play in another celebrity poker tournament today. It’s the Inaugural Celebrity Poker Tournament at Casino Morongo to benefit cystic fibrosis. This is my second celebrity poker event in as many months, after never having played in a celebrity event anytime before in my life.

So maybe I’m having my Warholian 15 minutes of fame, and if I’m a celebrity at any level at all, I’m happy at this one. I do get recognized in card rooms and casinos and people come up to me all the time to talk poker. I enjoy it. It’s fun, and chatting with people who have read my books and magazine articles is fulfilling, and an ego boost too.

But so far the level of celebrity has not jumped the fence from poker into the rest of my life. Only once has someone that I never met before approached me outside of a poker room. That happened a few months ago when I was having lunch with my wife in a restaurant. A guy who was leaving the restaurant, stopped, looked at me, then walked over and asked if I was Lou Krieger. When I told him I was, he said he liked my books and articles and went on his way.

I’ve never had the kind of fame that pop stars have, and I’m 100 percent sure I wouldn’t enjoy that kind of fame. The idea of never being able to go anywhere anonymously is too weighty a cross to bear. I enjoy being invisible, observing, watching the world go by, and not being the subject of furtive stares and whispers. I think it’s endemic to most writers. The need to be invisible, to look, record, report, and be introspective about things at least some of the time seems to come with the territory.

And yet I love life’s stage. I enjoy people. I like getting up and speaking in front of small groups and large groups too, where I’m seldom at a loss for something to say. So there’s part of me that’s very outgoing and another side that’s hiding away and wishing for invisibility.

So today and tomorrow I’ll play poker, have a good time, be a “celebrity” at this event. Though it’s only 25 miles from my house, I’ve yet to play poker at Casino Morongo since they remodeled and added a big highrise hotel to their property. From what I’ve heard, the games are good, but to get there I have to drive right by Agua Caliente Casino, and that’s only five miles from home.

If you’re going to be at Morongo today or tomorrow, come on over and introduce yourself. Or even if you see me outside of a poker room, stop by and say hello. I still have enough of an invisibility factor that it won’t drive me over the edge. I promise.

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