Friday, June 10, 2005

Through Hazy Eyes: Day One, Part IV

Day One, Part I
Day One, Part II
Day One, Part III

The lion would not only be my savior from strange night-bound creatures, it would also lead me to more of the blogging elite. As we finally arrived at the poker room, I was shocked at how nice it was. Not that I’ve seen a ton of poker rooms or anything, but damn this was nice. Bazkar described it very well, and it was his write-up from earlier that I thought of as I surveyed the scene.

“I was immediately impressed with its size and the space between the tables. There is more than enough room and you definitely do not feel cramped. They could actually add several tables and still leave plenty of room for comfort. It's basically shaped like an arc with the cashier in the middle and they try and hold all limit games on one side with the no limit games on the other side. They have a table up top overlooking the sports book for high limit games that may come together.”

Of particular note is the last sentence, because it was here that the blogger mixed game would begin. High volume? Check. High revelry? Check. High Intoxication? Check check. High Limit? Nope, $2/4. Felicia must have some badass hookups, because getting that table was awesome.

I ended up in the 10 Seat, and going backwards sat PokerNerd, Felicia, Bill, -EV, Gracie, Stb, PokerProf, Maigrey, and Pablo (of Gracie’s posse). Again, I was a bit speechless as I began meeting a whole slew of new folks, and to top it off, even with the drinks I had thus far consumed I was still a bit nervous about playing with a table full of folks that actually knew what the hell they were doing.

We began with Hold’em so everyone could get into the swing of things a bit before starting into the less familiar games. -EV sat down with a gigantor stack and immediately began straddling and trying to introduce “the rock” to the game. He also handed me a nice lesson which would serve me quite well the rest of the weekend, although I don’t think he knows it (he will now).

Sometime during the first orbit (it was early) I found AKo. -EV raised in front of me and I simply called. Board 10 7 5 rainbow and he bets out. Since I whiffed the flop I decided to muck it, opting to go the big pussy route while he flips over A3 and rakes the pot. The lesson? Better stop playing like a weak-tight tard, or I’m going to get my ass handed to me. It’s fucking 2/4 for God’s sake, stop being such a ninny. I’m glad it happened early on; God only knows how long this diaper-wearing style of play would have gone on had it not been for that.

I spent a lot of time just treading water and trying to hold on to my chips as we inevitably moved on to O8 and Razz, just chatting with PokerNerd. I kept trying to remind myself that he didn’t especially like being called “Nerd”, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. It was “Hey Nerd” this or “Check it out, Nerd” that, and each and every time I would utter an inner “D’oh! Stop calling him Nerd!” I hope he wasn’t too annoyed with me, I really was trying hard, but it rolled off the tongue so natural-like, I just couldn’t help myself.

Once the chips and cocktails started flying at a higher rate of speed, Dr. Pauly entered and I finally got to meet the estimable writer and degenerate hero. My hazy factor is up to about a 6 out of 10 and everything is a becoming quite a whirlwind, so I try to refocus on playing some halfway decent poker and call for Stud. Punctuated by a giant groan I immediately found out that –EV does not really like Stud, so he quickly grabbed Mrs. Head and told her to play the game with his chips until another was called, which was very cool of him to do.

More drinks flying.

More chips flying.

Being in the eye of the storm, it took me a minute to notice some dude standing there chatting with Felicia. The obvious height deficiency should have clued me in, but haziness over the eyes was inching ever closer to a 7.

More chips, more drinks. That short dude keeps lookin’ at me. Hmmm.

The next thing I know, the little person was beside me with a tiny outstretched hand…

“I know who this is, how are you Head?”

As I took the tiny hand and uttered a greeting, he must have notice the hazy confusion in my eyes…

“I’m Iggy

Holeeeee Shit. The game immediately became a secondary concern by the distance of approximately 100 miles. I knew it was going to happen sometime, but it’s still pretty surreal when you finally meet the king, knowhutimean? A big moment for a 3rd generation blogger, that’s for sure. I think I ended up getting dealt out since I ignored so many hands while I chatted for a bit with dwarfish greatness, and I knew that no matter what happened in the next few days it had been worth it to make the journey.

And the hits just kept on comin’….

As Iggy departed for more meeting and greeting, I tried to shake off a bit ‘o haze and get back to the game, but then another tap on the shoulder came….

“Hey Head, nice taste in music, bud.”

Helixx! Yet another person in my long list of must meets, and one of the few people I knew I could talk to about trance music without inquiries as to whether or not I’m Hari Krishna.

It was time for the game to become permanently secondary. I could play poker anytime, and I knew that I would play more later on in the weekend. Right now it was of paramount importance to hang out and have some drinks with all of these people that I read on a daily basis and get to actually know at least a few of them, so I racked up and made my way out onto the balcony.

If I tried to go into an account of the great conversations I had just in this first evening alone, I swear it would be enough content to truly fill up a novel, but I won’t. Some conversations are simply best when you’re there and then left at that. Hanging out on that balcony at MGM with Pauly, Derek, Helixx, and Iggy (replete with booster chair) makes it really fast and easy for the entire world to become secondary.

Drunk on booze, adrenaline, and sheer joy, I was meeting folks left and right. I finally got to properly meet Professional Poker Player Chris Halverson, who at the time was flooshing Al in the dark. It was nothing but pleasure as I got to shake hands with the S.C. Crew--Otis, CJ, and G-Rob. Somewhere in the midst of all these hours that were speeding away, I met the CantHang’s and was into my fourth or fifth double SoCo with Al. Good Lord, the Haze-o-Meter was climbing past an 8.

As I made my way to the quieter and much less frenzied bar behind the poker room, I spied Joe Speaker at a $4/8 table with a giant pile of chips and a peculiar look that was at once very drunk and very satisfied. I didn’t know it yet, but this is the look one takes on when shintorn drunk and rock solid in the knowledge that you can still play poker much better than the other monkeys at your table, and your chip towers reflect it. Heh, all I could reflect on at that moment, though, was how surprised I was that he wasn’t asleep since there was some sort of important tourney he had to play in within a few short hours time. Apparently, the world had become secondary to him, as well.

The last few hours of my evening were spent at that little quiet bar behind the poker room, where I got to commiserate with Pauly, Derek, Iggy, Maudie, and Scott some more. It was here I would meet my last few folks of the evening, Texas April, Bob, and BG, who had arrived late because of various instances of travel bugfuckerry perpetrated by the smooth operations that are the airlines.

I bought what I knew would be a final round of drinks for the evening as the haziness inched its way past 9 and Heavy Head Syndrome began to manifest itself. As the Mrs. and I made our exit for the evening, I surveyed the festivities and wonderful people surrounding me and thought that if I could design my own personal heaven, this would certainly have to be included as a part of its landscape.

We weren’t in Kansas anymore, I realized with a sigh. Thank God for that.

[Day 2 on the way..]