Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prepare yourself WPBT-style 

The Great Northeast
November 2009

I am so far behind in posting that I might never catch up. I have the first two days of the Vegas November Nine trip ready to publish but I'm taking a pause for the cause. It's just a few short weeks now until a bunch of nasty degenerates descend upon the Vegas strip to do embarrassing things and make a shameful spectacle of themselves. God damn cowboys in town for the National Finals Rodeo. I think a bunch of poker bloggers will be there also.

It seems hard to believe it was 6 years ago when Dr. Pauly posed the innocent question to a few folks about joining him and Derek for their yearly gamble-palooza in Vegas. What started as a few people rolling westward quickly warped into the first live blogger tournament (with unending help by PokerProf and flipchip) at Sam's Town. Insane fun at the Sherwood Forest bar, Iggy-impersonations, bad gumbo, bruised ribs, stretch Excursions (with death metal, weed, and some huddled bible-belters), Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey, caustic Felicia, signing worthless autographs for the kids, and a Don Swayze/Tony Siragusa siting.

That was just the first night.

There can only be one first time, and I'm pretty damned proud to have gotten on the ride at the start. Some of these random strangers went from "online poker friends" to drinking friends to colleagues. A few I include among my best friends on the planet.

Six years ago I was a hard drinking, happily married, well-positioned company man with nothing but great things lined up in the future. These days the only thing that remains is the hard drinking. And the relentless chain smoking. I would have coughed up toxic Marlboro fumes in your face had you told me in December 2004 I would be here at this point of my life.

I only give one piece of advice for first-timers and veterans alike. Only priority is make sure to have a blast. Don't get caught up trying to meet everybody for the first time, don't forget to enjoy the moment instead of trying to make one happen. Spontaneous Pai Gow session, get your ass in there. You see a long-haired freak lining up twenty people for a shot, get yourself in line and chug away. Find a blogger poker game that weekend, the one time you can drop The Hammer with impunity. And for god's sake if you want to keep up with me have all your permissions slip signed and shots up to date.

Here is my very fluid schedule for that weekend.

Thursday - Arrive in Vegas, at some point I will be knocking back shots at the IP Geisha Bar and wrangling up Pai Gow participants. If I get a bug up my butt I'll venture over to Casino Royale for craps.

Friday - Apparently I'm shooting a round of golf with BWOP, Bammer, and the crew. I'm all paid up but there's only a 5% chance I'm in any condition to make the golf course. Friday night I will be camping out at the MGM Sportsbook bar for a few hours. I will then disappear into the evening towards Green Valley Ranch to catch the Steel Panther. I have no idea who is interested and have no plans to organize anything.

Saturday - After not sleeping for 48 hours, I'll be in perfect shape to play the WPBT tournament at Caesar's. Dead Money walking in the door but I'll have fun with it. The rest of the day will be spent sitting at some random bar/sportsbook/poker table.

Sunday - Football, football, football.

All of that may happen, some, or none at all. I've come to understand the position of my friends who spend so much time working in Vegas, it's so rare to be in town without being "on the clock" and I plan to use this as a good ol' drinking vacation. Lead, follow, or get the fuck out of my way to the bar.

Two other bits of advice from the experts. Otis dropped this classic line on me one year when things slid sideways in a hurry. Raging solo.
Redemption in Raging Solo

In Vegas, one's opportunity for a solo rage is ubiquitous. For as long as he wants or as long as he can stand, he can prop himself up on the shoulders of friends. And when he is ready, he can step out into the dry air, blink at the lights, and start to walk. Where he stops--if he stops--is of little consequence. What matters is that he rages solo. It need not be a trip-long or even night-long event. It can last as long or short as he wants. It can be sober or drunk. It can start at one end of the strip and end at the other or it can start on one side of the street and be only bound by a crosswalk. What matters is the rage. It can cost $1,000 or $1. It just doesn't matter.

Raging solo--define it as you like--is the key. At the end is redemption. And with redemption comes a whole new way of looking at things.
Fine advice.

Finally, the good doctor generally re-posts his "Bloggers Invading Las Vegas Tips". You can find Version 5.0 here but I'll just give you a few of the top to know, #20 is the one I heroically destroyed a few years ago.
20. Don't get rolled by a hooker.
21. Avoid hangovers. Stay drunk.
23. Don't die.

The (wrongly titled) Daily Crutch

Simple this time. Five of my favorite pictures from past gatherings. If you'd like a real chuckle search on WPBT on flickr.

The first and only "authorized" picture of the Blogfather
from that first night at Sherwood Forest.

When playing low-limit lemur games, buy out all the $1 chips from the cage like Drizz
(photo from Bill Rini)

Otis staring down CJ at the Imperial Palace tournament, Joanada DANK in the middle
(photo from Bill Rini)

Hanging out with The Fat Guy and Poker Prof

Looking over past pictures and this one gave me the biggest surprise,
we were playing in the Hard Rock charity tournament.
The always lovely Liv Boeree in the foreground

Otis put together this YouTube clip from past gatherings