Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 WSOP, Day 31: Break in the Routine

Break in the RoutineA rare day off yesterday, following seven straight days-nights-mornings reporting from the Rio. Indeed, since my return from LAPT Lima I’d been off exactly two days prior to yesterday. That’s 16 of 18 days of live bloggin’, and I actually went in the day before that stretch began and worked an unscheduled shift, too. Aside from one seven-hour day (the Ladies event final), the shortest days have all been around 12-13 hours, with a few stretching to 15-16.

One would think that working that much would make days off all the more coveted, but in fact it has a different effect. For me, anyway. Probably has something to do with the fact that we humans are such routine-seeking creatures. The fact is, I actually find the day off to be kind of uncomfortable -- a weird break from the familiar.

The way I usually phrase it to others is “I don’t know what to do with myself.”

That’s what I told Tommy Angelo yesterday morning when he let me know he was in town for the week. I first met Tommy last summer, after having exchanged emails for a few months previously following my reading and reviewing his excellent Elements of Poker. (Here’s that review.)

Tommy is a poker coach, and he’s in Vegas this week primarily to meet with some of his clients. He’s also a player, and so is taking the opportunity to join in the cash games at the Rio as well. That’s what he was doing yesterday, and in the early afternoon he took a break to have lunch with me and catch up.

We covered various topics during our hour together. I told him about my having recently moved over into full-time freelance writing. Being a writer himself, he liked the idea of making one’s living solely off of writing, although recognizes the challenge of trying to do so.

He told me about his plans for a second book, called Painless Poker, which will expand some of the ideas of Elements while also adding a lot of new material. Tommy’s enthusiasm for this new project was obvious (and inspiring). Such fervor I’d suggest is absolutely necessary for a writer to produce something worthwhile and of value. Put that with the achievement of Elements, and indications are this second book will be a good one, too.

I mentioned to Tommy how I’d just helped cover the final table at which Gavin Smith won his first WSOP bracelet, which led to our discussing Sam Chauhan, the “life coach” who has worked with Smith and other players recently. Tommy had read some of Chauhan’s articles as well as that recent Bluff cover story on him, and so is familiar with what Chauhan does and some of his ideas (more so than I am, I should add).

Tommy noted that he didn’t regard Chauhan as competition but rather as someone who perhaps helped legitimize the idea of having a poker coach. In other words, the attention Chauhan has received lately -- and the successes of his clients (e.g., Antonio Esfandiari’s deep run in last year’s WSOP Main Event, David Williams winning the WPT Championship this spring, Smith’s bracelet win, etc.) -- can only benefit people like Tommy who are able to offer similar guidance and advice to players. That made sense to me.

We parted, and as I did last summer following our meeting, I went to play a little afterwards. Checked in over at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon (where I’ve never played) and walked around the casino twice before finding the “poker room” -- actually just three tables or so -- where nothing was happening. So I ended up at the MGM for a brief session that lacked drama though I did book a modest win.

Wasn’t too long, though, before I realized I was really too tired to play and so took off. Soon I was back at the home away from home, falling into an involuntary slumber by early evening which stretched all of the way to this morning.

Prior to my lunch with Tommy yesterday, I did check in on the WSOP Tournament of Champions going on in a very sedate seeming Amazon Room. The three tables were going in separate corners of the spacious ballroom, there weren’t too many in the media box where I hung out briefly with Dr. Pauly and Pokerati Dan, and there didn’t seem to be many spectators around, either.

It was just the first day of the sucker, and I believe they only lost about five of the 27 players. Seemed a bit anticlimactic, though, on a first impression. (I think the original schedule had them playing down to nine yesterday, then coming back on July 4 to finish, but it appears they’ll be playing again today.)

I’ll be back at work today helping with Day 2 of Event No. 49, one of the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em events (a.k.a., the “donkaments” or “The Grand Games”). In fact, it looks like these $1K events are all I’ll be covering until the Main Event, as from this one I move to the last $1K NLHE, too (Event No. 54). We’ll see if I’m still calling them “grand” a week from now.

I believe I’ll be in the Amazon today, and so may be able to get a glimpse of how the TOC is going, too. You can follow both of those events, along with everything else WSOP, over at PokerNews’ live reporting page.

Then I’ll have another day off on Tuesday before facing another long stretch of consecutive work days. Can’t say I know what I’ll do with myself.

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