Monday, September 09, 2013

Travel Report: EPT10 Barcelona, Main Event: Day 6 -- Catching Up on the Future

Writing my last “travel report” a day late here, although it somehow seems appropriate to monkey with the timing a little given the theme upon which I thought I would focus. Was much too tired when I got home yesterday afternoon to do much other than sleepily watch some Week 1 football then hit the sack early, so I am catching up here today.

Our final day at EPT10 Barcelona involved following both the High Roller and Main Event final tables. The High Roller ended first, and while it appeared Daniel Negreanu was going to complete a remarkable comeback after his early exit on Day 1 (following the whole “At Your Seat” blow-up), after taking a huge lead to heads-up versus Thomas Muhlocker, the Austrian hit a sequence of fortunate hands to snatch away the win.

Meanwhile Tom “hitthehole” Middleton managed to win the Main Event, the story of which was mostly highlighted by a lengthy, ultimately unsuccessful attempt to make a deal four-handed. Really there were two deals being negotiated during the long period of talks (about 45 minutes, I think), with Middleton discussing terms with the other three players and also working out terms with his rail full of Brit buds who after offering guidance during the process ended up taking pieces of him at that point. Rick Dacey spelled it all out in a post on the PokerStars blog. (A deal was ultimately made heads-up.)

The whole deal-making sequence was shown on the EPTLive webcast, which while perhaps a little tedious was probably of great interest to some viewers not necessarily privy to how it often works (or doesn’t work, in some cases). I definitely agree with those who say it is better to have such deals allowed and made openly rather than try to enforce some rule against them and force them into secrecy (and thus increase the chance of angle-shooting or other kinds of bad faith).

Speaking of the webcast, as those who tuned in know, all of the action was shown on a one-hour delay in order to allow the showing of hole cards. (You can still watch the long heads-up portion of the Main Event final table here.) That meant also that those of us reporting on the event had to wait an hour, too, before sharing anything, which led to lots of funny (and sometimes confusing) time travel humor.

“I’m going into the future,” is what someone would say when leaving the press room -- where we were all watching the delayed feed, too -- to go get a look at the actual final tables playing out. The traveler would come back to tell us what he or she had seen, but obviously we couldn’t report any such new info until an hour had passed.

Once Middleton won, the next hour was strange to experience as we all prepared to report on the finish but held back until the final hand played out on the stream. Made me think a little of the whole “no spoiler culture” that marks how a lot of entertainment is consumed these days.

It also got me thinking a little about my reporting from the WPT Alpha8 event the previous week where following their style preferences we had to write in the present tense when reporting hands. Meanwhile, at the EPT we wrote in the past about present events that weren’t going to be viewed until the future. And yes, I, too, have a little throbbing knot right behind my eyes when trying to follow that last sentence.

Working with Rick and Stephen Bartley was a great experience all around from which I gained a lot. And again, it was awesome hanging out and working with all of the many smart, funny folks who form the fun, traveling EPT gang.

My flights home were fine. During the nine-hour flight from Frankfurt back to the U.S. I watched two films, both of which had me thinking again about confusing the past, present, and future.

One was Minority Report, that Spielberg-directed flick adapting a Philip K. Dick short story and starring Tom Cruise. Was better than I thought it would be, and of course the whole “precrime” premise wherein a method of predicting, preventing, and prosecuting future crimes uncannily echoed the scene back at the Casino Barcelona on the final day. Or was it the opposite? Heck, I don’t know.

The other was The Internship starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, which I only decided to watch because the two German men sitting next to me had chosen it and laughed like maniacs all of the way through their viewing. Turned out to be kind of a dud, really -- not unpleasant, but hardly as funny to me as my neighbors found it.

Early in the film there was an exchange between Vaughn’s character, Billy, and his girlfriend as they were breaking up in which they discussed never having gone to Barcelona before -- or “Barthelona,” as Vaughn’s character insists. Amusing to watch on a trip home after having been to Barcelona for the first time with Vera.

There’s another bit of dialogue a little later that stood out for me, coming when Billy tells Nick (Wilson) he’s hit on the idea for them to become interns at Google. Which I guess might have turned into some sort of clever twist on the “coming of age” formula but the idea never really matures into much of anything (pun intended).

“I’ve seen the future and it’s beautiful for us,” says Billy, sort of resembling what Stephen had said to us when he returned from having seen Middleton finish off the tournament on Saturday night.

“Can we talk about it later?” says Nick who is busy at work. “No,” says Billy. “The future doesn’t know ‘later.’”

“All the future is is later,” Nick responds. “That’s literally what the future is!”

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