Thursday, July 06, 2006

More Thoughts on Las Vegas

Sometimes when I write something, I cringe the next day when I read it again. It doesn't come across the way I intended, or it sounds odd to me, reading it with a fresh perspective.

In a way, that is how I feel about yesterday's post.

First of all, being friends with people like Barry and Ted is not something to "brag" about. Five years ago these people weren't considered stars or heroes, they were called scumbags and degenerates. Not much has really changed, except the public's perception of full-time players.

When I watch the insanity at Rio, I always have this moment of 'what are these people doing here?' thoughts. I usually end up asking someone in the crowd, "Why is everyone gaping? Who is the attraction?" My first thought is that someone like Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts must be playing, to get that much attention. I never think that these people could possibly be railing real poker players! It seems incredulous to me.

I hate to compare it to this, but it is sort of like people gathering in masses to go to a maximum security prison and take pics of serial killers or something. Shake their hands, get autographs, gape at them. It's dirty to me. I don't think of them as stars, I think of them as scrappers and survivors in a world where they were considered scum just a few years ago.

So maybe that is why I'm accepted by them, and hang out with them. I was there before all of the insanity we see today. Plus I don't ask for anything. I am just their friend, in good times and bad.

Also, although I tend to talk about it more on my journal than anyplace else, I rarely talk about it in person. I remember earlier this year someone I've played Stud with for years was talking to me about how he'd love to meet Barry and get his perspective on Stud theory. I told him if I saw him walk in, I'd introduce him. He said, "I've played Stud with you for years! You never told me you know Barry!" I never even thought about it.

Usually people sitting around playing cash games for years aren't interested in the 4/8k players, anyway, even if I wanted to "brag" about my friendships.

So anyway, I think I botched up things yesterday. I was just so happy to see everyone, that it came across in a way I never intended.

For me, these friendships are something I cherish. A community where I truly belong.

And it has nothing to do with the player, either.

One of the first people I saw going into the Orleans on Monday was a guy who worked the floor on our Cardplayer cruise back in December. He did a good job from what I recall. He looks and acts professionally. He was wearing a white shirt, but obviously wasn't needed for the day's tourney. He came over and we started talking. He had been hired for the floor at Rio, but after three days of unimaginable hell, he quit. He came over to Orleans instead, and was much happier there, it seemed.

I also saw a woman I know from Laughlin, who decided to go pro in Vegas and has been keeping her head above water playing middle limit, mostly O8 games.

Then I saw a guy I couldn't even recall from the first time we met. He is mostly a lurker on 2+2 and we also played in cash games last year at Rio. I was crushed that I couldn't even remember meeting him years ago. It is completely gone from my memory altogether. But he is a cool guy and understood.

I saw Jody, a TD I first met when he covered my area of the WSOP Stud event a few years back. He simply stood and looked at me in shock. He couldn't believe that I wasn't the "aging albino" anymore. He said I looked horrible on the CP Cruise and that now I looked like the living again. He is a nut. He is very straight forward like me, and I respect that. He's also a goofball and I know I can say anything to him without him whining or taking it literally.

Most of the floormen from Orleans remember me as a writer. Because of the WPPA debacle. They knew I made a deal in the Stud and second O8 tourney at Orleans, but didn't recall that I was a player first, and only did writing as a favor for Louis. Ouch. That should tell me something ;)

They were awesome, and Chris even made sure I had a buffet comp as well as Glenn when the dinner break came around. Chris went further out of his way to try to find a room for us. At the time, it was the eve of the 4th, and the rooms were suites starting at $250. The Open had no more rooms available at the cut rate of $50. So we were stuck, thinking we'd have to go back to downtown like last year and get in somewhere like Golden Gate. It wasn't a rosy thought, since Glenn was expected to play until 3am, and I'd been up since 5:30am the previous day.

In the end, Chris came running over and said they'd just opened up a block of Open rooms, due to last minute cancellations. I ran to a house phone in the hall and was able to get one at $50, on a holiday!

They went above and beyond the call of duty, even though the floor gets nothing from the 3% that the dealers receive out of the buy-ins. They get nothing, and don't expect anything but a hearty "thank you" when we cash. They don't even put out a tip jar for the floor. I always tip them separately when I cash.

I could go on and on, but my point is that it's not just the "name" players who deserve my friendship and respect, it is all the people in the tourney world who go above and beyond the call of duty just out of friendship and the tight circle of protection that we need in poker.

These friendships are very important to me, and I cultivate them.

Please come back for more posts about Glenn's tournament, Asher Derei and our Stud 8 cash game discussion, looking for backing, no sign of Party, Peter Brownstein, staff at Rio, more Rio FUBAR, Van Alstyne mess and anything more I can hack out.

Felicia :)