Monday, June 24, 2013

2013 WSOP, Day 26: Cold

“Is Daniel out?”

So asked Shaun Deeb of me with about 40 players left in Event No. 41, the $5,000 PLO 6-max. event. I glanced at Daniel Negreanu’s table and he was still there, albeit completely obscured by his long-sleeved hooded jacket. Uncharacteristically for him, he had the hood up over his head, as photographed to the left for PokerNews/WSOP.

I jerked a thumb in Negreanu’s direction. Daniel wasn’t out. He was in, both the tourney and a large, heavy plaid cocoon.

“Keeping warm,” I said. “Good idea,” answered Deeb.

When I landed at McCarran Airport last week, I tweeted that I’d arrived, noting how my first order of business was to remove the jacket I’d been wearing aboard the plane. The hot, dry Vegas air was immediately apparent upon my first exposure outside the airport, and as usual the temps have been hovering in the 90s or low 100s for much of the time I’ve been here so far.

Several responded to be prepared to put my jacket back on once I’d made it to the Rio. It’s cold, they said. Real cold.

People have complained about it being too cold in the spacious ballrooms of the Rio where the World Series of Poker and other associated tourneys play out every single summer I’ve come out, so no one was telling me anything I didn’t already know. Sure enough, when I visited the Rio that night and entered the mostly empty Amazon room where a couple of tourneys had reached their end stages, there was a chill in the air. But I had my jacket and a sweater, and as I was writing about last week, everything seemed in its place in an almost comfortable sort of way. Including the chill.

Last night we were stationed in the far right corner of the Amazon. Again, like just about every day I’ve been there so far, the Amazon was mostly empty with Day 2s playing out in the corners and Day 3s finishing up on the main and secondary stages.

Players started complaining about the cold mid-afternoon, and after a while it became apparent that it really did seem colder than usual. I started out in a heavy shirt, then added the sweater, then added the jacket. All of the players were wrapped up in jackets and hoods, and while no one in our event had taken to wearing gloves, we were hearing stories of some in other events who had.

I’d say Negreanu finally reached a boiling point, but the metaphor seems inappropriate. After talking to the TDs about the situation a few times, he’d return from the dinner break with a digital thermometer, just to get an idea how cold it really was.

I’d mentioned to my reporting colleague Matt W. at one point that I’d guessed it to have been at least 15 degrees’ difference between the hallway and inside the Amazon. “I thought walking in I could see my breath,” I joked, and while I couldn’t actually do that, the change was so abrupt it did uncannily feel like stepping outdoors during winter rather than coming inside during summer.

Negreanu later tweeted the results of his test. I think he might’ve deleted the photo since, but I believe it read 60 degrees. Not sure if it was actually that cold in there, but the lower 60s is likely.

No one it seemed could avoid talking about the cold. Nolan Dalla wrote a humorous post about the cold on his blog. AlCantHang compiled various tweets about the situation for PokerListings -- some serious, some less so. Jess Welman earned the highest grin-producing score by making reference to the nine bracelets won by Canadians this year, as passed along by Bryan Devonshire:

“There’s a reason why Canadians are winning all the bracelets: they’re more acclimated to the weather.”

Once Negreanu busted from our event in 34th yesterday, he voiced further complaints over Twitter, and the response was that someone had apparently fiddled with the thermostat yesterday -- that is, we weren’t all imagining things -- and that it would be set at 74 going forward.

I return to the Rio today to cover the third and final day of Event No. 41, currently led by Steve “gboro780” Gross. We’ll see if it is less cold inside the Amazon today. And if not, how well people keep their cool.

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