Friday, June 10, 2011

Inside Jokes

Robbie Thompson, presiding as TD at Event No. 2 of the 2011 WSOPAm still a little ways off from heading Vegas-ward. About a week-and-a-half before I leave, after which point I’ll be there until the end helping cover this summer’s WSOP for PokerNews. Part of me feels like I should be there already, but I’m also very much enjoying getting to spend some extra time with family before heading out.

Have been continuing to follow the live reporting and streaming as well as the many articles, posts, podcasts, tweets, and other messages being sent from the Rio to the rest of the world. More than ever, the internet helps those of us who aren’t there at the WSOP keep up with what is happening both at the tables and elsewhere.

Of course, there’s no substitute for being there, really. I was reminded of that yesterday when I started seeing retweets from a new Twitter account -- @RedBullRobbie. The likely-fake-but-who-really-cares account purportedly represents the wit and wisdom of Robbie Thompson, the tourney director/announcer. That’s Robbie pictured above, presiding over Event No. 2, the $25,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship.

Anyone who’s been around a WSOP final table over the last few years is familiar with Robbie, who among other things is known for his appetite for seemingly endless quantities of Red Bull. Speaking of, I remember vividly an experience from a final table last summer in which I became even more familiar with Robbie’s beverage of choice. And when I say familiar I mean I was wearing it. (Read more here.)

I remember going in to help cover a final table one other time last year, and Robbie was there. “How’s life, Robbie?” I greeted him. “Good,” he replied, then paused a beat. “I lie sometimes.”

I’m remembering another occasion when I went to cover that EPT event in Kyiv, Ukraine and Robbie was there directing the tourney. When I saw him, I immediately went over and said hello.

“Hey, I have a question,” I continued. “Shoot,” he replied. “I came 5,000 miles to ask this. Is flash photography allowed anywhere inside the Amazon Room?” “Why I oughta...” he answered with a grin, walking away.

The answer is no, of course. As Robbie has explained about a hundred thousand times to those watching final tables at the Rio.

Anyhow, whoever is sending tweets from @RedBullRobbie is doing a good job conveying his personality, and those of us familiar with him are enjoying it. I responded once yesterday, and B.J. Nemeth pointed out that it was likely the account wasn’t really Robbie. To which I answered “Keep us informed. If fake, we can toss it away, send it back, give it up, release...”

It was an inside joke, there, referencing the many colorful ways Robbie describes players folding their hands. Am guessing perhaps 3% of my followers caught the allusion. I remember in years past making up further, exaggerated variations on Robbie’s call of players folding around to the blinds.

“Jeff mucks, Antonio says no thank you, Phil asks for a refund, David returns it for insufficient postage, Oscar wants to speak to the manager...”

While I’m definitely enjoying my time at home, I look forward to heading back out, getting inside the Rio, and seeing Robbie and all of the other familiar faces once again.

Meanwhile, check in on those final table live streams at where you might very well catch a glimpse of Robbie circling the table and calling the action.


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