Thursday, October 24, 2013

From the Front Row

Kind of a crazy day filled with various tasks and obligations that carried me past the dinner bell without even having stopped to eat anything. Looking up and realizing night had fallen, I remembered having agreed to go see a Charlotte Bobcats’ preseason game with my friend, James, a season-ticket holder who had asked me earlier in the week about going.

I raced down the highway to arrive shortly after tip-off, then was pleasantly surprised to discover James had in fact scored us a ticket upgrade that put us courtside, right on the first row just a few feet from the baseline. Even better, the ticket got us into a buffet -- free through the first quarter! -- and before we got comfortable in our seats I’d had the chance to fill my empty belly with some good eats.

Like I say, the day had been filled taking care of a number of different tasks, all done while I had the WSOP Europe €25,600 High Roller final table streaming, eventually won by Daniel Negreanu who also clinched the WSOP Player of the Year for his finish. That’s two WSOP POYs for Negreanu after having one before in 2004, and caps a fairly remarkable year’s worth of tourney finishes dating back to his WSOP APAC Main Event win.

Was kind of interesting to hear it reported early on during that final table that those remaining had made a “gentleman’s agreement” not to collect any information from live stream which came with a half-hour delay and with hole cards shown after the hands had completed. (For more about the delay and players utilizing such info, see last week’s post “The Blessing and the Curse.”)

I think my favorite comment regarding that agreement came via Twitter from Mike “Tîmex” McDonald who tweeted “Just a headsup if I’m ever part of a gentleman’s agreement to not utilize hole card info from a live stream. My word is worth under €725,000.”

Actually I stayed away from Twitter for much of the day, especially once the final table got going in earnest, as I didn’t care to have results reported ahead of time. That delay starts to work on you after awhile, I think, so much so that once I finally tore myself away from work to go to the game it was a little disorienting suddenly to be back in “real time” so to speak.

Sitting so close to the action was a little jarring, too. I would say I felt like Haralabos Voulgaris, who whenever he sees an NBA game live he invariably sits courtside. But it was preseason, and the Bobcats and the Cavs, and, well, that ain’t exactly “high rolling.” But it was fun to pretend. The Bobcats won tonight, though it will probably be another long season.

Was also in very close proximity to lots of sideline reporting going on, and glancing over shoulders I saw people blogging and tweeting not unlike what I do when live reporting from poker tournaments. Indeed, it took me a few years to figure this out, but that sort of work resembles sports reporting more than anything else, and thus when people ask me what I do these days I find myself often quickly bringing up reporting on sports as the easiest way to explain writing about poker all the time.

Speaking of NBA ball, I’m contributing to a roundtable over on Ocelot Sports that will appear soon in which some of us are picking over/unders on all 30 teams, so check over there for that.

Now I’m back home and settling into some more sports-watching in real time, flipping back-and-forth between Game 2 of the World Series and my Panthers playing Tampa Bay. Will slide back into the delay again tomorrow, though, I imagine, to see that WSOPE final table play out, again taking a front row seat... on my couch.

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