A Wonderfully Long Day in Las Vegas

by Lou on July 11, 2006

Never Enough Time to Sleep
For me the World Series of Poker is always about getting less and less sleep, regardless of whatever good intentions I might have had to begin the day. Yesterday was another of those days.

I was up early to have breakfast with Dean and Ellen, who run the PokerAnalysis Forum. A number of forum participants where there, some of which I knew from online play such as Iron Girl and ShayaBaby, but had never met in person before. We got a table for about 16 people in the Sao Paulo Café, which worked out well, because it was before the Rio got too crowded.

Max Shapiro and Barbara Enright threatened to join us, but didn’t appear on the scene until long after breakfast was over and I bumped into them in the main hallway leading to the World Series of Poker.

Yesterday’s event was sold out and with the restart from prior days events it meant that there were no tables available for side games.

Aimlessly Chasing Amy…
I hung out at the Rio for a while. Actually I was aimlessly chasing Amy Calistri (pun intended), my radio co-host on Keep Flopping Aces, which airs each Thursday night at 9:00 PM EDT on www.holdemradio.com, but she wasn’t in any of the obvious places like any of the hospitality suites or the media center.

And I Found Wil Wheaton instead
I did run into Wil Wheaton, who has morphed his career from playing Ensign Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation into a writer and representative for Poker Stars. I told Wil I’d like to get him on our radio show, and he’s eager to do it, so that remains a future programming segment.

Playing Poker at the Wynn
By this time I was itching to play some poker so I hotfooted it over to the Wynn, where they had a $30-$60 hold’em game going. I found it typical. Most of the folks at the table knew how to play, but one or two of them tended to stay with their hands a bit long than I would. There weren’t any serious fish in that game, but there was some money up for the winning.

After losing a big hand when my A-Q dominated an opponent’s A-9 only to see him pair his kicker on the river, and losing another with a nut flush draw and two overcards that never panned out, I slowly eked my way back to a win for the day.

I love playing at the Wynn. Self-parking at the north end of the property leads you right to the poker room without having to stroll through the entirety of the casino to reach it. The lighting is terrific, the ambiance is good, and the room has a very relaxed feel, and they had a lot of games going, which, I suppose, is the norm for Las Vegas during the World Series.

A Pilgrimage to the Gambler’s Book Store
After I had my fill of playing, I dashed off to the Gambler’s Book Store so I could get there before it closed. Going there is a pilgrimage of sorts for me. They carry more books on more gaming subjects than any other book store in the world, and they have scads of books on the old days in Vegas, when it was mobbed up and the wise guys ran things very differently than things are run now.

If you’re a fan of poker, any other sort of gambling, or if you just share in America’s ongoing, never-ending fascination with the mob, you need to call them at 1.800.522.1777 and request a catalog. If you’re in Las Vegas, they are located at 630 S. 11th Street, just off Charleston Boulevard (one block west of Maryland Parkway).

I recall the old days, before 2003, when I’d read every new poker book that hit the shelves. Then I’d read it again. And I’d read it once more for good measure. By the time I’d red it three times, a new book would generally be available.

Now it seems like there are three or four new poker books each month, maybe more, but regardless of how much time I dedicate to reading them, I’m hard pressed to keep up.

As a reader, I’m delighted to have this much available to me. As a writer, it just makes it more and more difficult to get my own books into the spotlight. I suppose that’s the inevitably of progress and the mainstreaming of poker. It had to happen, and over all, I’m happy for it.

Live, World-Wide, in Real Time Over the Internet: It’s Hold’em Radio
I left the book store to check out what was happening over at the mobile holdemradio.com broadcast center that’s set up over in the Imperial Palace. An interview was just concluding, and Wade Andrews, who runs the station, asked me to give him as much of a report as I could muster on the WSOP and my day. I was then dragooned, along with Nana (who is living history book about poker and Las Vegas) into filling in for the hosts of the Cap & Tater Show.

This was an enjoyable hour. We talked about everything from how the WSOP was so different before corporatization, to the Goodlatte and Leach bills that were combined in the US House of Representatives and now look like they will go (and hopefully die) in the Senate.

It was a nice hour, with lots of comments from listeners.

But today is another day. I’ll play some poker, interview Howard Schwartz of the Gambler’s Book Store, and find my way to a luau that’s somewhere nearby this evening. As for sleep, that’s another story.

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