Saturday, June 21, 2008

2008 WSOP, Day 23: Sweat

SweatEvery day is well over 100 degrees. The wind is blowin’, but it’s a hot wind. Sort of like yr walking into a hair dryer.

Like most of us spending the summer in Vegas, I spend as little time as possible outside. When I first arrived I had considered forgoing renting a car. I’m staying reasonably close to the Rio -- not a long walk by any means. But I ditched that plan by the second day. Too hot, man. Too friggin’ hot.

Got this frankly silly-looking little silver Aveo. Looks like half a car from most angles. Had all kinds of trouble the first week or two finding the damned thing in the parking lot. Tim Peters, who’d worked the ’06 Series for CardPlayer, had actually warned me of this very phenomenon and had cautioned me to avoid it. I am referring to the where-the-hell-is-my-rental trek of shame.

There was one night around 3 a.m. that first week I actually ended up getting a ride from Security around the Rio parking lot just to locate the sucker. After a couple of loops I finally spotted the Aveo. “That’s one’s pretty car, ain’t it?” I quipped to the guard. He laughed. “Gets you from here to there -- that’s what matters,” he replied sagely. After that I began parking it in the same spot every day, somewhat distant from the Pavilion-side entrance but at least I always know where it is.

Got up today and made that very drive right about noon, even though it is my day off, ’cos I wanted to see if I could catch a glimpse of Karridy and SitNGo Steve playing in today’s Event No. 39, another one of those $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em events. Only takes about five minutes to walk from my self-assigned parking spot to the Rio entrance. Still enough to start perspiring, which always makes that initial step inside the air-conditioning faintly pleasurable.

I knew Steve’s table and seat assignment (he’d registered yesterday), and so after chatting with Dr. Pauly a bit found him and wished him well. Thought I might be able to spot Karridy on my own, but there ended up being 2,720 entered in this one, scattered all over the Rio in the Amazon, the Brasilia, the Tropical, and at those tables set up in front of Buzio’s. Hopeless.

So I went back out into the noonday sun and took a winding drive over to the Mirage to get tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show “Love” for next week. As I mentioned, Vera arrives tomorrow, and that’s the one thing we knew we wanted to try to do while she’s here. The tickets were pricey. (Turns out money can buy me Love.) But that didn’t matter too much to me.

Actually, waiting in line there at the box office, I found myself surrounded by couples and suddenly got blind-sided by a pretty hard, unexpected wave of Lonely. Damn, four weeks. Tomorrow is coming just in time, I think.

Got back to the home-away-from-home about one o’clock and immediately got a text message from the K-man telling me where he was seated. So I ran back over to the Rio, and snuck into the Tropical Room for a look-see. Twenty-three tables. Allen Kessler, Joe Awada, Mimi Tran, and two hundred other people I don’t recognize. Oh, and there’s Karridy.

I hung out for twenty minutes or so. They were nearing the first break. Looked over a couple times at Karridy’s table and not too much seemed to be happening.

Ah, but what’s this? A hand was developing. And boom, he was out.

Bit of an unsettling surprise, that. But then again, as I type this 2,200 of those 2,720 who entered have already hit the rail as well.

The K-man was bummed, as you might imagine. But things turned up soon afterwards. We chatted a bit with SNG Steve and their buddy Ryan (both still in then, out now), then were kind of aimlessly walking back through the Rio toward the casino when we heard a voice.

“Karridy! Shamus!”

Tom and Julie Schneider were lunching at the São Paulo Cafe, and we joined ’em for an hour or so. Tom’s a good friend and mentor for Karridy, and he and Julie both did a nice job reminding him he’s a good poker player and also giving him things to think about moving forward. Karridy had set up some sort of voice-messaging-update type deal to send updates to his many friends sweating him, and Tom made the call to report Karridy’s bustout, doing a hilarious bit about talking Karridy off a ledge as he did.

As I told Karridy afterwards, I ain’t playing in any events this summer, and it’s pretty up in the air whether I ever will. Might be fun to try one day, but I’ve a long way to go, I think, before I’d ever want to venture in myself. So I have a lot of respect for those who do take the plunge, and I have to say I’m getting a big kick out of experiencing this some vicariously through friends who are players.

We all parted. I’ll see Tom and Julie at tomorrow’s Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball event. And I might see Karridy again tonight before he takes off tomorrow.

It was about three o’clock when I stepped back out onto that hot plate of the Rio parking lot. Still seemed like noon, though, with that sun relentlessly enveloping everything around.

I wouldn’t be spending too much time in it, though. I knew where I was parked.

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