About 7 p.m. yesterday I was standing just outside one of the entrances to the spacious Amazon Room at the Rio Casino Resort and Hotel. Right next to one of those huge, inflated Milwaukee’s Best Light cans with little legs and feet sticking out the bottom, a clownish-looking commemoration of the punchline to the WSOP-sponsoring beer’s commercials.
Had only been there a minute or two. Was scanning the hallway, looking for other PokerNews live bloggers, as we had one last pre-Series meeting scheduled. There was a moderate amount of activity in the hallway, with a number of folks passing to and fro amid the big beer cans and the CardRunners display. I noticed a figure walking toward me, a fellow a few inches shorter than me sporting a WSOP baseball cap and a dark T-shirt with “MALIBU” printed across the front. He quickly brushed past and into the Amazon.
Hey, I know that guy. I turned around and followed him in, the laminated, green pass hanging around my neck permitting my entry. I watched the fellow I had recognized -- 2006 WSOP Main Event champion Jamie Gold -- swiftly resume his seat behind a short stack of chips at one of the last two tables in a WSOP Mega-Satellite. The board indicated 91 entrants had begun the tourney, and they were down to the final 11. It appeared that only the top three spots paid, with the total prize pool adding up to a modest $26,000 or so.
I went over and stood with TassieDevil, one of my blogger colleagues, and we chatted about Gold for a moment, speculating about why the man who’d claimed the largest single payday in WSOP history had entered what looked to be a $300 satellite. A pre-tourney warm-up, perhaps?
Eventually we assembled with the other bloggers -- about 16 altogether, I believe -- around another one of the 200-plus tables to discuss numerous particulars of our planned coverage of the 2008 World Series of Poker.
We had all just come from a BBQ dinner in Henderson that brought together the entire PokerNews team, about 60 or so bloggers, field reporters, multimedia folks, and others. That’s where I had finally met in person a number of others whom I’ve come to know via Hard-Boiled Poker and/or other means, people like Change100, B.J. Nemeth, Mean Gene, Snoopy, Steve Horton, loganmark, Dr. Pauly, and PokerNews Editor-in-Chief John Caldwell.
As has been happening all week, I felt that sort of uncanny, strangely familiar sensation with everyone. I could sense they’re having the same response to me. (Indeed, Pauly somehow pegged me as Shamus even before we were introduced, though he’d never to my knowledge had any reason to know what I look like in “real life.”) That’s what happens when you read thousands and thousands of each other’s words, some addressed directly to you in private messages, some broadcast to you and the rest of the world via blogs or articles. Kind of makes introductions superfluous, really.
During the dinner, Pauly symbolically represented all of us writers by having a small notepad and pen at the ready at all times, presumably to aid a soon-to-be-composed chronicle of the proceedings. Like you, I eagerly anticipate his reports over at Tao of Poker, as well as the features he’ll be writing for PokerNews, the first of which (highlighting week one storylines) went up this morning.
The blogger meeting lasted at least a couple of hours, as there was a lot to cover regarding the complicated, carefully-coordinated system by which the reporting gets done. I glanced back a couple of times during the meeting, noticing Gold had made it to the final table of the satellite, then that he didn’t seem to be among the last five or so with chips.
The meeting concluded with a “style guide” discussion led by Haley. Some people find such discussions of usage and mechanics at best boring and at worst useless. Not this crowd. These are writers, people who care about words and how they are employed. Have to admit I had a little “I’m-in-the-right-place” moment there as we debated whether hyphens have a place in words like “preflop” (no) or “no-limit” (yes). Haley convinced me, actually, that “hold’em” is in fact a contraction (I have always typed it as two separate words).
Things kick off a little under six hours from now with Event No. 1, the World Championship Pot-Limit Hold’em event ($10,000 buy-in). We have received our schedules for the first week, and I actually will not start reporting until Monday with Event No. 4, the $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event in which players will alternate between LHE and NLHE. Will definitely head back over to the Amazon Room today, though, to be there when the cards first go in the air, and will probably be around at some point both Saturday and Sunday as Event No. 2, the first $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event, gets underway.
Will check in here to let you know what I see. And since yr awake now, too, be sure to head on over to PokerNews for live reports.