Monday, January 11, 2016

Travel Report: 2016 PCA, Day 5: Planet Earth is Blue and There’s Nothing I Can Do

Had great fun early yesterday going on the water slides with my buddy Remko Rinkema. Nothing funnier than seeing Remko get dumped out of a tube, except maybe him coming over and dumping me after I couldn’t stop laughing.

Of course, when I woke up this morning I was initially thinking about the Esfandiari disqualification from late on Day 2 of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, obviously the most memorable part of covering the event yesterday. Then I learned the news of David Bowie’s passing, and that has pushed aside the other story from my thoughts a bit as I ready for today’s Day 3.

I had actually been covering Esfandiari’s section yesterday, and even reported on a couple of hands and some of his table talk with fellow Super High Roller Talal Shakerchi who was seated at his table. Esfandiari was in Seat 1 and Shakerchi in Seat 8, on either side of the dealer, and so I saw them leaned back and talking to each other frequently as I passed by the table.

We got back from the last break of the night, and I actually caught a small hand involving Esfandiari and had gone to report it when the DQ occurred, so I wasn’t on the floor at the time. His being removed from the tournament was much bigger news than the small hand I had, so I scrapped it while the DQ was reported on the PokerStars blog:

“We've just been informed that Antonio Esfandiari has been disqualified from the Main Event. According to Edgar Stuchly, Esfandiari was removed for a serious breach of tournament etiquette.”

I heard some talk at a neighboring table that suggested a reason for the disqualification, although it was one of those weird situations where I simply didn’t trust my own ears. In fact, I didn’t even share what I’d heard with anyone until after it was confirmed that yes, indeed, I had understood what the player at the neighboring table had said.

You’ve no doubt heard about what Esfandiari did, too, along with the story of his prop bet with Bill Perkins which occasioned his transgression. If not, just do a quick search of “Esfandiari” and “disqualification” and I’m sure you’ll find out soon enough. Seriously bad judgment on his part -- piss-poor, you might say.

I have a few other behind-the-scenes tidbits related to it all -- including one very funny one -- but I think I might save that stuff until after the PCA is done. I will say the tourney staff absolutely made the right call, and also handled the business of administering the disqualification well.

But like I say, I’m thinking more about Bowie today, kind of marveling at how “alive” he seemed to many of us over such a long period. It was just a few days ago his birthday had come back around -- his 69th -- and I suppose when it comes to celebrities hearing about a birthday always puts them back in the foreground, although like I say he always seemed to be there for me.

I’m one of those devotees who has 16 LPs of his on my iPod (plus “Under Pressure” with Queen, natch), with really only the middle period of the 1990s and early 2000s not represented. Realized today how I’ve more or less internalized all 16 of those records, and in fact have probably listened to every one of them at some point during the last 1-2 years. And of course, we hear him on the radio several times a week, especially in the barn where we keep it on the classic rock station.

I very much liked his penultimate one, The Next Day (2013), and was already thinking about picking up what will turn out to be his last, Blackstar. That’s part of what I mean about him seeming “alive.” In fact, just yesterday when making a reference to glam rock to someone I evoked his name -- it seems like he’s always right there, somehow, as an example of something (if that makes any sense).

I had one chance to see Bowie back in the late 1980s for what was probably his least regarded tour, the Glass Spider one. Still there was a nice run through of various Ziggy and Aladdin Sane tracks, and while the props and theatrics were certainly overblown, it was a fun spectacle to witness.

Ziggy is probably tops for me, with the Eno trilogy close behind. Station to Station is a sleeper and in fact probably the album I’ve listened to the most times, oddly enough, followed by Aladdin Sane, Hunky Dory, Scary Monsters, and The Man Who Sold the World.

Meanwhile I’m fairly certain the early one, Space Oddity, is the one I’ve listened to the least, not ever quite getting into that early, nascent identity of Bowie’s. But the single keeps floating there as a perfect little time capsule, worth opening up and playing again and again. As I’ll continue to do, and many others who are feeling a little blue today will, too.

A little under 200 remain in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. Again, go over to the PokerStars blog for updates, photos, and also to find the live stream.

Photo: “Bowie performing in Oslo on 5 June 1978,” Helge Øverås. CC BY 3.0.

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