Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Long and Completely Fantastical

Not sure how creative this will be, but what the hell (and please pardon any grammatical errors)…

Like anything momentous in a person’s life, there is always that one hurdle that had to be surmounted before gathering ones self and pushing towards the top. My hurdle was the WPBT blogger event for the $1500 NLHE seat. Winning a tournament is difficult in the best of circumstances, but luck was on my side, and coupled with some major patience, I made it through.

I am unfadeable. (Check your hip hop lingo dictionary if this term is unfamiliar)

As we arrive at the Golden Nugget, the history of old Vegas begins to do a slow creep into my bones. It speaks to me in that primitive way that cannot be heard, it can only be felt. For the first time in quite a while, I am the Chosen One. I only have a few hours before I have to sit in the first major tournament I have ever played in, and there are a couple of things that must be done beforehand…..

I must find Iggy and AlCantHang.

The desire to find all of the other bloggers coming to Vegas is there, but the time to do it is not, so I have to prioritize. Before leaving for Vegas I was sure to make all of the appropriate burnt offerings to the various poker deities, but if I don’t complete these last two things, there’s no telling how it could affect my fortune. (For the record, the poker gods consider throwing several fish on the grill appropriate) I needed to be blessed by a couple of the degenerate saints that inhabit this community. Showing up without my blessings would be akin to…well…showing up to a WSOP event with no pants. What blessings, though?

I need to shake Iggy’s hand and say ‘Thanks’ for setting the whole thing up. I also want to give Otis my thanks as well since I know he had some kind of hand in the thing. Perhaps they will be together and I can kill two birds with one stone, ensuring rock solid karma. Shit, I have no idea where Iggy is at………but Al probably does.

Time to head over and search all of the bars at the Plaza. This is where I will likely find him and accomplish my first task: Drink a double shot of SoCo with the master. I’m not such a big fan of SoCo, but after reading the stories, I know that it has carried Al through many days, both good and bad. If it can carry him, it can carry me.

I should have known. I don’t need to find Iggy or Otis, they are right there at the bar with everyone else, where Al is holding court and putting giant dents in the Las Vegas liquor supply. In one swift shot, literally and figuratively, my tasks are accomplished and I get to quickly meet all of these great folks before I have to head over to the event. To my surprise, everyone is coming to the start of the event, and the weight of representing the community well gets a bit more noticeable. The SoCo is kicking in though, reinforcing the fact that….

I am unfadeable.

The community arrives. Someone from ESPN comes up and asks something inane about the arriving ‘blogger crew’ they have heard about. I quickly admonish the person, clarifying the small but important fact that this is a contingent and not a ‘crew’. After all, any loose associations to “The Crew” are unwanted and unnecessary. This group will win your money, not swindle you out of it. So admonished, the crew member skulks back to the hole from whence he came. .

The play begins, and the most surprising thing about it is that very few people are playing much better than a drunken monkey at a $5 Party Poker table. Like chaff being separated from the wheat, the monkeys are separated out and we are in the money within a record breaking short period of time, and play for the day ends, finding me with a healthy stack.

After weathering a long night overflowing with amounts of nervous energy and very little sleep, it’s time to play the second day. Pocket Kings get cracked in the early going, and I spend the rest of this day fighting with the “Fuck it” guy in my head and stay patient. I manage to double a couple of times in the face of withering aggression, and end the day with a spot at the final table. My stack is short by comparison, and no one, least of all me, can quite believe it. TV crews seek bloggers for interviewing; Iggy gets outed when he is ambushed by a UPN TV crew. No one can figure out what the hell UPN is doing there, but then someone realizes that no one watches that channel anyway, so it’s not like he really got outed. All is well. As far as the rest of the world knows, Iggy is still a dwarf.

It’s final table time. I really want to crap my pants, but I can’t, seeing as how I travel commando, and all. Al tries an infusion of SoCo, but this time it doesn’t help. I have a short stack at the final table in a big event, and nothing will cure the nervous shakes. Then, like rays from heaven, I look into the beaming and serene face of one Mr. McGrupp.

“Looks like you need a bit of help from Mr. Leary”, he says, as he passes me a note only slightly larger than the edge spots of the chips I will be handling in a few minutes time.

As I take my seat, the unwritten words of the note begin a full frontal assault on my senses, and suddenly, I know everything I need to. As my everyday consciousness recedes, I find myself correctly translating words and actions which were previously hidden. Losing time causes all play at the final table to be a blur, except for snippets of called all-in bets with me serenely walking over to the rail to receive a fortifying double SoCo from Al as the flop, turn, and river are dealt. Coming out the other side, I find myself heads up with…….. The Hammer.

I raise big, but I get reraised a middling amount. The wisdom of the tiny note imparts to me the knowledge that I already posses; my opponent is holding Aces or Kings. There is quite a bit of money between first and second, but the second place is still nothing to sneeze at. Boy that bracelet sure is nice. I know I can outplay this guy and win, but I feel the weight of the community. They would want to see the hammer, so I push.

And lose.

I didn’t really expect to beat that pair of Kings. After all, it is the worst hand in poker, but that doesn’t mean that my read was incorrect. In showing the courage to pick up that Hammer and wield it with strength, only the minimum attention is paid to the winner. People want to know about bloggers and The Hammer, Vegas is fairly buzzing at this rare display. Party Poker begins discussions over getting rid of the High-Hand Jackpot and instituting a Hammer Jackpot. Al picks up an endorsement from Southern Comfort due to the shots he handed me on the rail. His new moniker is “The SoCo Sidekick”, and the company will be sending him on drunken world tour to promote their product. No one really knows where Mr. McGrupp went off to. Most likely he’s wandering a twilight desert discussing Nietzsche with someone’s ghost and writing fantastic accounts of the events he is supposed to be covering.

Me? I’m still unfadeable, and will be for the foreseeable future.

(Good idea BadBlood, that was fun)