Monday, May 26, 2008

Landed; or, the Calm Before the Storm

McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, NVI’m here. And I’m connected.

Vera dropped me off at the airport yesterday in the a.m. No fun leaving her behind, though she’ll be coming out for a week later on. Cell phones and the superfast interweb makes being away a little less difficult as well.

As I checked in I saw signs regarding extra cost for heavy baggage. Up to 50 lbs. was fine, but go over and you start paying ($50 for 51-70 lbs.; $100 for 71-100 lbs.; and no bags over 100 lbs. allowed at all). I tried to gauge the one bag I was checking -- a mammoth unit in which I think I myself could fit -- then fretted for a moment when I saw the scale climb up over 50. The agent didn’t charge me, though, I think because I might’ve bought the ticket early enough to escape paying that new, hefty travelers’ rake.

Settled into the very back row of the huge 737 with a printout of James McManus’ CardPlayer columns in which since late 2006 he’s been serializing his history of poker. (The completed book is due in 2009.) My neighbors were a friendly, middle-aged French couple, and I spent idle moments trying to decipher some of their conversations. Might’ve raised an eyebrow when just after we’d crossed the Mississippi she surprisingly gave him a fairly throrough-looking manicure -- clipping, filing, and moisturizing. Huh. Don’t see that every day.

That was right about the time I was reading about how the French game poque had made its way to New Orleans at the turn of the 19th-century. Poque was that 20-card game with four players, each of whom was dealt five cards from a deck that was essentially just the A, K, Q, J, and 10 in each of the four suits. McManus symbolically dates poque as having arrived on July 4, 1803, the date Thomas Jefferson learned that Napoleon had agreed to terms regarding the Louisiana Purchase. (The 52-card deck would come a few decades later.)

By the time we’d flown over the area for which Jefferson had successfully negotiated, I noticed a dark-haired boy with glasses standing next to me, patiently waiting to get the attention of the stewardesses gossiping behind us. I looked at his purple T-shirt: “Mrs. Davis’ 2nd Grade.” Finally the adult noticed him, and he meekly asked “Ma’am, are we going to fly over the Grand Canyon?”

Glad to say for his sake that yes, indeed, we did. And not too long after that I made my way through McCarran International, reunited with my monstrous bag, and grabbed a cab to my new digs.

Ended up over at the Rio for awhile later in the afternoon, really just scoping the place out. Lingered for a moment at the Poker Room near the entrance. Was tempted to hop into the 3/6 LHE game, but decided I was too mentally wound up for it. Instead just made my way through Carnival World and Ipanema Court and headed back toward the spacious convention rooms where the WSOP will be staged. All deserted for now, save a few Rio personnel flitting about. Brightly lit and eerily quiet. A stark contrast to smoky roar of the casino and sportsbook through which I’d just traversed. And, of course, to the bedlam that we’ll all be witnessing later this week.

Have some preliminary stuff with PokerNews here in the next few days. Not sure yet what my schedule will be once things get crankin’, though I’m certain I’ll be working either Friday or Saturday.

This year Day 1 (Friday) only has a single event scheduled, the World Championship Pot Limit Hold ‘em event whose $10,000 buy-in likely means the field will be limited to just a few hundred. Saturday is when the real insanity should start, with the first of those several $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘em events (Event No. 2), for which they’ve actually scheduled two “Day Ones” in anticipation of a huge field. I heard Bart Hanson over on Cash Plays say he thought there could be as many as 5,000 entrants into that one. Seems hard to imagine, but he may be right. (Here’s the full 2008 World Series of Poker schedule.)

Will be running around today meeting up with various peoples, including some of that Pokerati crowd. Wouldn’t mind playing a little low limit Hold ‘em at some point today, if I can manage it. Probably be a good idea to try to get some of that in before week’s end, I’d think.

I know by mid-June I’ll probably feel differently about everything. But sitting here in this tranquil moment, a few days before the WSOP tsunami crashes over us all, I go ahead and admit it -- I can hardly wait!

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Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Looking forward to your coverage Shamus!!

5/26/2008 5:50 PM  
Blogger OhCaptain said...

Oh boy! Can't wait to read more, although I have to admit, I wish I was there.

Maybe one of these years I'll be there as a photographer.

5/27/2008 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see you had a safe journey bud. Wish we were all there? ;-)

5/28/2008 4:56 PM  

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