Made it most of the summer working the insanely long shifts, failing to get regular exercise, and eating like a high schooler without suffering too greatly heath-wise. But I think it might have all caught up with me today.
The good news is I’m off today and so have time to recover. To recharge. Then back at it Monday.
Of course, even if I weren’t feeling under the weather, I might still have had a hard time adding extra vigor to this here report on yesterday’s doings. That’s because while the day went relatively well as far as the reporting went, it was most certainly anticlimactic in more than one way.
This is my second time around helping cover the World Series of Poker, and so it isn’t surprising that just about every aspect of the experience this summer has been marginally less enthralling due to its lack of novelty. Not to say it hasn’t been a blast and full of fun, gratifying moments. And, as was the case last summer, the people with whom I am working are a terrific, talented bunch, making it all the more rewarding to be here working alongside ’em.
But this time the surprises have been few, and the wonders far between. So there’s that.
That “only” 873 players showed up for Day 1b yesterday didn’t help either. Of course, that’s still more than the entire field in 2003, and I still think it is quite possible the total number for this year’s Main Event will probably push past 6,000, perhaps even well past that number. But the low turnout on Day 1b definitely helped reduce the adrenaline even further.
Then there’s the fact that aside from a few crazies pushing all in during the first half-hour with top pair, top kicker, there just wasn’t much happening poker-wise what with everyone starting the day with 300 big blinds, and the average stack at the end of the day still being well over 100 big blinds. Hell, when it comes down to it, even those who built up big stacks by day’s end hadn’t really distinguished themselves that greatly, chip-wise, from the rest of the pack.
So the play was for the most part less than dramatic. Couple that with the fact that 80% or more of the field were unfamiliar to all of us and it gets even harder to get interested, let alone try to make it interesting to others.
A final cause for the day being a relative comedown was its brevity. As was the case on Day 1a, just four levels were played instead of the originally scheduled five. That’s eight hours of play, sure, which is still a lot of poker. But with a more than 90-minute dinner break coming smack in the middle, it seemed difficult to get any momentum going whatsoever. And I’m talking about both the playing of the tournament and the reporting on it.
I’m sure today and Monday will go somewhat differently, as the fields will be much larger -- probably more than twice as big as today’s, particularly on Day 1d. And, of course, as the tournament moves along and especially once it gets to the money, it will be difficult not to become increasingly taken in as the various storylines and characters begin to define themselves.
So today I rest. And hopefully this fever will recede, and that other one will return. The poker one.