Thursday, July 08, 2010

2010 WSOP, Day 41: Rejoining the World (Series)

Rejoining the World (Series)Ten days ago I was writing about having a day off and finding it almost uncomfortable, the routine of working so much having made it strangely difficult to handle the sudden reward of leisure.

After another long stretch of consecutive work days, I was given that reward again here at the start of the Main Event, not assigned to begin helping with PokerNews’ coverage until today (Day 1d). That meant two straight days off -- something I don’t think I’ve had all summer.

Had no problem figuring out what to do on the first one. I slept. A lot.

Yesterday, though, I realized I needed to get out of the home away from home. Which, of course, is not a home at all, but a room, decorated (incidentally) entirely in blacks and dark grays. Sure, I’m a “noir” kind of guy (as the scheme of this blog indicates), but six straight weeks in the dark simply cannot be good for a person.

So I got up and wrote a little. Then I got out.

Did some walking around outside in the 100-plus degree heat which immediately had a positive effect on my mood. Then I met up with Pokerati Dan at a nearby sushi place for dinner. Some dishes were better than others, but overall it was good eats. The place was nearly empty save us and a group that included Shannon Elizabeth, Nick Binger, and a few other poker players to whom we said hello as we left.

Dan and I mostly talked about the WSOP and the many knotty issues connected with covering it, including that Pokerati op-ed on the subject by the “Anonymous Pro” from earlier in the summer that generated a lot of discussion (and heat). I always like talking with Dan about such things, both because he’s knowledgeable and connected, but also because he’s got some real insight into how this complicated game gets played.

'Lost Vegas' by Paul McGuire (2010)Having given up my rental car a couple of days ago, I caught a ride with Dan to the Rio where I ended up sitting in on the latter part of Day 1c. I had a couple of purposes to going in on a day off like that. One was to get my autographed copy of Lost Vegas from Dr. Pauly, which I’ve already begun and am hooked.

As I told Pauly last night, a lot of us are as excited as he is to see the sucker finally available for public consumption. Lost Vegas is available over at Lulu. Where, by the way, you can also get my hard-boiled detective novel, Same Difference (which has nothing whatsoever to do with poker).

The other reason why I went to the Rio was to interview Nolan Dalla, the WSOP Media Director, for a Betfair piece that’ll appear tomorrow.

I’ve gotten to know Nolan a bit over the last three summers and readily echo the praises of many in the media for the many, many ways he helps us do our jobs. He’s a writer, too, of course. Besides writing hundreds of articles and releases about poker for the WSOP, he also co-authored (with Peter Alson) the excellent biography of Stu Ungar, One of a Kind.

In the interview I asked him a few questions about how the Series has gone thus far and about some other things, including one about the coverage of the WSOP, generally speaking. I think it’ll turn out an interesting read -- I’ll remind you of it tomorrow once it goes up over at Betfair.

All in all, it was a good day, which included some visiting with Otis and Stephen (the PokerStars blog) and Reinaldo ( A day mostly spent among writers, punctuated by a lot of interesting and useful discussions -- in many different contexts -- about writing.

As the day wound down, the mood in the Amazon Room seemed to me to be somewhat reserved. There were a few outbursts of excitement here and there, but all in all it looked like a fairly cautious, deep-stacked tourney in which a lot of patient poker was being played. Nor did the media seem overly frantic about things, having perhaps settled into this Day 1 groove now that they’d done it three times over.

I think things will be a little different today, though, as just about everyone I spoke to yesterday anticipates the largest group of any of the Day Ones to be there -- perhaps even as many as 3,000 players, which would mean filling up both the Amazon and a good portion of the Pavilion to start the day. Whatever the turnout, there’s little doubt at this point that the 2010 Main Event will be the second-largest ever (behind the 8,773 of 2006).

Back to the circus, then. I’m already reading the excited tweets by some players who will be there for Day 1d. I’ll admit I’m excited, too. Would be strange not to be.

See you over at the PokerNews’ live reporting page.

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