HDouble at the movies: The Poker Wisdom of Rushmore

“The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.”
–Benjamin Disraeli
I’ve finally recovered from the WSOP after a week of relaxation and some serious rehydration. Since many of my faithful readers have told me my best work was my attempt (parts one and two) to extract the poker wisdom from The Big Lebowski, I’m back with more poker wisdom from another of my favorite movies. If you haven’t seen Rushmore, crawl out of your pop-culture hole and go rent it. And while you’re at it, rent the other Wes Anderson films, he’s the best director that my generation’s got. On to the quotes…
The Poker Wisdom of Rushmore
Blume: You guys have it real easy. I never had it like this where I grew up.
Blume’s chapel speech to open the film is not only one of the best scenes in the movie, but it also has a lot of application to poker. The opening quote goes out to all of us poker players in the Golden Age of poker. Before the poker boom, game selection was all-important, and although I wasn’t around back then, I understand that finding a good game would take up to an hour. Thanks to the explosion of poker, it’s difficult not to find a soft game. For people like me who have jobs, the hour spent looking for a good game would cut my poker time in half. And still you have people complaining about “cashout curses” and rigged sites. We’ve got it easy, so don’t take it for granted.
Mr. Blume: What’s the secret, Max?
Max Fischer: The secret?
Mr. Blume: Yeah, you seem to have it pretty figured out.
Max Fischer: The secret, I don’t know… I guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then… do it for the rest of your life. For me, it’s going to Rushmore.
Max’s secret is to let your happiness guide your actions. In poker, we’re talking about the grind. Recently, I’ve been dabbling in the $15-30 games on Party, drooling at the amount of money people are throwing away. These games are easily beatable, but of course come with a heavy dose of variance. Right now I just don’t want to put 300 BB’s on the line, and the emotional strain of losing $3K in a week would probably not be good for my game. But I comforted myself by checking my “true hourly win rate” in Pokertracker for the $3-6 games, which turned out to be $28 dollars. So for minimal risk, I can play comfortably, and pretend I’m winning 1 BB/hr at $15-30. Back to Max’s quote– the point is, I’m comfortable and not quite bored (yet) by beating the hell out of these games, so I’m going to stick with the low limits. But hopefully not for the rest of my life.
Max Fischer: Maybe I’m spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays.
Bert: That’s possible.
Max: I should probably be trying harder to score chicks. That’s the only thing anybody really cares about.
This quote goes out to all the poker widows out there. Thanks for putting up with us…
Bert Fischer: You’re like one of those clipper ship captains. You’re married to the sea.
Max Fischer: Yes, that’s true.
Max Fischer: But I’ve been out to sea for a long time.
To all you online poker players– get to the casino every once in a while to remind yourself what “real” poker is. It’s easy to think of everything in pixels when the only place you play is in front of a monitor. Live play reminds us how complex the game of poker is– a bad beat may visibly anger one player, but have no effect on another, which should affect your decision to raise or fold when the player comes out firing the next hand. It’s too easy to forget that poker is a game of people when you only play online.
Herman Blume: She’s sweet, but she’s fucked-up.
Blume is describing Miss Cross, but he might as well be talking about the Party no limit games. It’s pretty easy to double up if you sit and wait for the nuts, but to me, that’s not poker. If you have plenty of patience and don’t want to make tough decisions, then make like a rock and build your bankroll in these low buy-in NL games.
Student: Did you hear they’re teaching japanese next year?
Max: That’s the rumor.
Student: And they’re canceling latin.
Max: What? I tried to get latin canceled for five years. “It’s a dead language,” I’d always say.
Student: Well, I guess they finally heard you.
Max’s feelings about Latin are much like my feelings about the other forms of poker. Unless you’re playing high-stakes poker or are planning a poker trip to Europe, Hold ‘Em is the game with the highest EV. There are plenty of bad players in the Stud and Omaha world, but with the recent WPT and WSOP TV coverage, hold em is the game of choice for the next couple years. I could play Omaha Hi-Lo all day, but I’d rather play with Moneymaker wannabes at a Hold ‘Em table until they all go bust.
Max: Adios, muchacho. Hey, are you okay?
Blume: Mmm, I’m a little bit lonely these days.
One of my favorite quotes in the movie is Blume’s understated quote to Max in the elevator as he finishes a whiskey and diet coke, hiding the can under the hospital towels. From the little time I’ve spent in the B&M with pros, it’s clear that playing poker for a living is one of the loneliest professions you could choose. Your “friends” at the table are looking to take your money, and half the people are losing, and aren’t the nicest folks to be around. Lost a $300 pot on the river when somebody catches their two outer? Don’t worry, it’s only the rent money. You’re your own boss, and you don’t answer to anybody. But with that comes a feeling of disconnectedness, since you have absolutely no responsibilities. A great situation for sure, but you’d better be ready for some loneliness.
Blume: But here’s my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, they can buy anything but they can’t buy backbone. Don’t let them forget it.
My favorite quote of the move comes from Blume’s chapel speech to the Rushmore student body. I’d take Blume’s words over most of Sklansky’s weak tight advice any day. We make money from the mistakes of other players, and we make the most money off the mistakes of rich folks wanting to throw away their money. Just about any NL game you find in the B&M will be a battle between solid players and a couple rich guys who want to throw their money around and look tough. Play smart, keep your eyes on the rich guys, and don’t be afraid to put all your chips when they try to bully you out of a pot.

Poker goes Platinum: 2004 WSOP (Part 4)

“Oh the humanity!”
–Ignatius T. Reilly
Saturday, 11:30 AM
I wake up and see a crack of sunshine through the Hard Rock curtains, amazed that I’m not hung over. It’s like the scene in Pulp Fiction where Sam Jackson is shot at about 10 times, and looks down in confusion to find that all of the bullets missed him. I got up and guzzled the remainder of the $6 bottle of water (they could have charged me $60 at that moment and it wouldn’t have mattered), and by some strange trick of metabolism, discovered that I was neither drunk nor hungover, and was able to completely recall all the events of the previous night’s debacle.
One surreal episode that stood out was a trip to the Rio, who was hosting the Full Tilt Poker party. Flashback to Friday afternoon, the press room at the Horseshoe. The Blogfather and I sit down in front of a couple of PCs, and load up the old hotmail. I get a note from my buddy RDub, who tells me that the Tiltboys, Rafe Furst and Phil Gordon want to meet up with me. Yeah, you read that correctly. Surrounded by the insanity in Binion’s, and I’m supposed to hook up with two of the coolest people in poker at a high roller party at the Rio. I jot down Rafe’s number, and figure at the least we can probably get some free drinks out of it (wait, we’re surrounded by free drinks).
Of course, when we show up at the Party, there are about 5 bouncers who direct us to the VIP line. I tell them I should be on the list, as I wrote an article for this magazine, blah blah blah, and the guy shows me the list… it’s about 10 people long, and the only name I see is “Ben Affleck”. I call Rafe, but his phone is off, so we’ve got no way in. As I sadly wander away, we run into David Spade, who refuses our challenge to play heads up in his suite.
Back to the present. I down another bottle of water and wake up the crew, ready for some breakfast. We call Iggy’s hotel room, but he’s nowhere to be found, so M and I stumble hazily into a cab, steeling ourselves for the insanity we’ll shortly face at the Horseshoe. The first day of the big one, and we arrive at Binion’s at around 2:00 PM to battle our way through a huge crowd of observers. ESPN cameras and boom mikes hover around Hellmuth, Doyle sits calmly, and a crowd has gathered behind the window in back of Johnny Chan’s seat.
I’d never thought much of the WSOP. There’s just too much luck involved in winning one big tournament, and I never really understood all the hype. But sitting there, looking at the best of the best at the beginning of a 7 day shootout for all the money, I finally got it. It’s the experience. Nobody in this thing really expects to win, but the rush of playing the best in the world, and just having a chance… that’s what the WSOP is all about.
A bloody mary clears a little of the fog away, and after getting a feel for the tournament, we head over to the Nugget to try to (finally) play a hand of poker. But the wait is 50 players deep, and we stand around the beautiful poker room for a few minutes before finally sitting down to play some double deck blackjack. I finally hit a nice run of cards, and win around $200 after a few big bets. While we play a group of about 10 very scantily clad young ladies parade by, wearing very small shorts and shirts with PartyPoker logos. Our dealer tells us on their first trip by, they had nothing on top, except a little body paint. Oh the humanity.
M and I pocket our winnings and head back towards the Horseshoe to see what’s going on. In the Starbucks at the front of the Nugget, we run into Rafe and Phil, and I muster up the courage to introduce myself. Rafe apologizes for not getting us in the party, and tells us to pull up a chair after introducing us to Phil. Phil is on break, and downs a Subway sub as I ask him about strategy:
Phil: “I just want to win 200 BBs. That’ll put me in great shape if I can do that by the end of the day.”
H: “How’s your table? You got a good read yet?”
Phil: “They light up like Christmas trees when they’ve got a hand. I’m liking it.”
I talk to Rafe about the All In article and the blogs, and he is a really nice and laid back guy. He tells me that there is a huge Pot-Limit Omaha game going on, and I can see his eyes wandering back to a big hand he had played the night before. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson saunters up, and Rafe introduces M and I to the champ. The hangover is in full swing now, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on anymore. We wish Phil luck and head back to the Horseshoe, and I marvel at the strangeness of meeting the Pokerati.
Still no Iggy. I ask M if we should check the jail, or perhaps see if anyone is scaling the Luxor, but we’re too tired, and decide to grab a cab back to the Hard Rock for dinner. About 2 minutes into the ride, the cabbie nearly plows into the back of a car in front of us, slamming on the brakes and jolting M and I awake. I make some joke about driving while asleep, and he jolts to life, loudly apologizing. He rambles on for a minute, and then I make the biggest mistake of the trip. Never, I repeat, never say the words “Taxicab Confessions” in a Las Vegas cab. I don’t know how it came out of my mouth, but those two magic words kicked off a string of the most vulgar invective and the most perverse tales I’d ever heard. Add to that the fact that the cabbie’s volume level seemed to be set to the max at all times, and my brain was in zombie state thanks to too many double shots, and you get an idea of the beauty of the cab ride home. I can’t repeat everything that was said, but the words “SNATCH” and “MUFF” were featured prominently in the tales, along with many other slang favorites. As we stepped out of the cab, he was still screaming vulgarity as I slammed the door and sprinted to the hotel.
We finally get in touch with The Blogfather, who tells us he continued last night’s drinking debacle at the Key Largo Casino (my favorite place to stay in Vegas), and just woke up. We plan to meet him after dinner, which we eat at a restaurant in the Hard Rock, called (I kid you not) “The Pink Taco”.
Leaving the vulgarity behind, M, Mrs. Double and I meet Iggy and head over to the Bellagio to try to play some real poker. Second verse, same as the first, and we’re denied yet again. The wait is endless (again over 50 people in front of us, and no one is getting up), so we grab some beers and wonder if we’ll play a single hand together on the entire trip. Jesus is there talking to some big wigs outside the poker room. I suspect that he’s following me.
A half hour goes by and we sadly give up, getting a cab back to the infamous Terrible’s casino. The craps dealers welcome us back with wry smiles, and disappointedly inform us that Don Rickles went home early. We recreate last night’s scene, although I refuse the double shots and stick to beer. The table is cold tonight though, and M quickly drops a bunch of red chips and begins to go all in on the pass line. After a couple crap rolls, he sits out, just as Iggy gets hot again and wins me back everything I’d lost on the table. M can’t take it anymore, and disappears, while Iggy continues to build my stack of chips. 2 minutes later, M returns with 2 black chips and a huge style, yelling “DOSTOEVSKY!” victoriously.
It’s 4 AM at Terrible’s, and Iggy and M are ready to play some poker. I hem and haw and try to weasel my way out, seeing as I can barely keep my eyes open. Of course Iggy pulls out the “I came 2000 miles to watch you go to sleep?” (easy to say when you sleep till 6 pm), and I reluctantly tell him of the tourist game at Excalibur. A short time later, we’re seated at the $100 buy in NL game with a bunch of young players who look a lot tougher than they play. I’m seated across the table from Iggy, and after a few missed flops, I find myself reraised holding JJ. I push my stack in, and he beats me into the pot and flips AA. Not a good start.
But after a couple of coffees I wake up, and start making moves. I think my first pot came after rivering my third 7 heads-up against Iggy, although he wisely folded to my all-in on the river. The last time I was in a pot with Iggy I rivered a straight flush with the lucky pocket sevens, beating his Ace high flush. Luck or Karma? You make the call.
I continued to build my stack as Iggy rolled off the quotes:
“I didn’t come to Las Vegas to fold.”
(after a drunk whooped it up after raking a $50 pot)
“Is this the world series?”
This one resulted in the dealer having to take a 30 second break because she was laughing so hard:
“Sometimes I pee when I sneeze.”
And my personal favorite, to a guy who’d done 3 tours in Vietnam, after the vet had told Iggy he was from Columbus:
Iggy: “So what part of Columbus are you from?”
Vet: “I’m surprised you don’t recognize me…”
Iggy: (completely straight faced) “I recognize you. There’s a statue of you out in front of the courthouse!”
Vet: (looking off into the distance) “It don’t matter, we’re all going to hell anyway.”
At the other end of a table, a seven foot kid with a World Series badge hanging from his jeans sat building his stack. It turns out he was playing in the big one in a few hours. I’m not sure which amazed me more: the fact that he was playing in this game at the Excalibur, or the fact that he wore his WSOP entry ticket on his waist. I thoroughly enjoyed bluffing him out of a couple pots, although to his credit, he seemed like a solid player. I played the hammer about 5 times, and unfortunately was never able to make a move with it. Grubby would have chided me for not going all in with so many opportunities, but the calling stations at the table weren’t going to lay down their hands.
Finally, at 9 AM, I could last no longer. To sleep, perchance to leave this great table, it wasn’t a rub. Normally I have no problem staying up for the whole weekend, but the double shots had taken their toll. I cashed out up $250, not bad after dropping my first buy in 15 minutes. It was a blast to play at the same table with The Blogfather, but I wished I had been more awake and that the competition would have been more interesting. M and I sadly said farewell to Iggy, and we agreed that we’d all be back next year.
The trip was a blast. I got to spend the weekend with 3 great people, and was able to see the poker boom come to fruition in the record-breaking tournament. Ignoring Mrs. Double’s slot losses, I ended up around $500 for the weekend. I’ll be back next year, and I strongly encourage anybody else who’s reading to join me. Thanks to Iggy for making the long trip back to his old stomping ground (and the double shots, I think).
The Golden Age of Poker is upon us. Without a doubt, 2004 will be the best year in history to be a poker player. Build your bankroll and get your game ready– now is the time.
Final Tally:
1. Best hand of the weekend?
A straight, 9 high.
–Nobody got this, but I’m giving this to Paul (the Intrepid Card Player) since I was hoping for this hand: “Full house, 7’s full of 2’s… (you will play the HAMMER, won’t you?)”
2. Number of beers consumed total, rounded to the nearest 10 (Iggy + HDouble)?
I’m going to conservatively estimate 70 here.
–Otis was closest with 60.
3. Number of big bets won/lost HDouble (if I can keep track)?
Since we played only no limit, this one is tough. I’m going to say that a winning 1.5 times the buy-in in a 4 hour NL session is roughly equivalent to around 4 BBs/HR in a soft limit game. So 16 BBs.
–Johnny FlopBoot was closest with 14.
4. Number of posts made from Vegas?
–Everybody was right about this one. I shouldn’t have even tried.
5. More money won (or less money lost) on blackjack or craps?
This one was close. I definitely won more money per hour playing Blackjack, but I think craps had a higher overall total win(the Friday night drunken blackjack session is foggy).
–Paul the Intrepid Card Player was the only one who said craps.
So the winner is… The Intrepid Card Player! Paul gets a copy of the premiere issue of “All In Magazine” for his wisdom (it’s not much, but hey, I’ve gotta support the wife’s slot habit).
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see everybody in Vegas next year!

Double Shots and Dice: Rolling with Iggy at the WSOP: Part 3

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”
–Hunter S. Thompson
I stood on the rail peering over Iggy‘s shoulder as he put on his shades and got ready to do battle against 9 other players who had ponied up $1K to try to win their way into the 2004 WSOP. Only a few hours remained before they ended the satellites, and I was hoping that desperation might result in a quick double-up for my man. No recognizable pros at the table, but the players didn’t look much like amateurs either.
A couple orbits in, and Iggy’s in the hand. It went by in a blur. 3 hearts on the board, a bet, and Iggy comes over the top all in. The player to his left, shaking uncontrollably, finally folds after time is called on him. My heart thumps as the original bettor looks back at his cards… “fold! fold! fold!” my mind repeats to match the rhythm of my heart, and the bettor shrugs his shoulders and shoves in his chips. When Iggy turned over his hand and there were no hearts in his hand, my heart sank, and when his two pair fell to a straight, my stomach dropped like it does on that last little drop at the end of a roller coaster ride. And I was just watching.
But I was proud of my man, he went down swinging, making a move at a pot that would have put him in position to win the tournament. Better to go down fighting than be slowly blinded off. And hell, I thought he had the flush.
We said our goodbyes to Felicia and Glenn, and hit the bar to crack the first beer of the trip and check out All In Magazine. Unfortunately the Horseshoe doesn’t stock Guinness, so we settled for a beer of the American variety. Some people are just on the same wavelength as you– whether its some sort of soul alignment or personality overlap, there are a rare bunch of people in the world that you fall in step with like you were old friends, even though you’re meeting them for the first time. On our way to the board for the side games, we passed by the satellite section, only to find WPT finalist Mark Seif busting out 7th in a satellite. Apparently desperation wasn’t hindering the play of the amateurs.
The wait for a table was over 3 hours long, so we hit the craps table for a little low rolling action at the Horseshoe. After M and I promptly crapped out (explaining basic strategy to Iggy along the way), the blogfather took the dice in both hands and was chastised by the stickman before he could yell “Yahtzee!” It must have been good luck, as he went on to roll for about 20 minutes, hitting 6s and 8s one after the other. Every so often, Iggy’s attention to the dice would fade, so I had to yell out “Roll em for TJ!” and he’d promptly respond by hitting the point. That streak put me up about $300 immediately, although I gave some of it back when the rest of the table couldn’t keep up with the poker bloggers. Starting next week, this blog will be the first poker blog to cross over into the craps world, and will be renamed “The Dice Speak”.
The alcohol soothed my nerves, and after a dinner at the Nugget, I was in Vegas mode. The 2K-4K game with Doyle, Johnny Chan, and Barry Greenstein in the corner only whet my appetite for some poker, but the lines at the Nugget and the Horseshoe were not to be tangled with. We collected Mrs. Double and hit the Golden Nugget’s main restaurant for dinner, trying to figure out a plan for the rest of the night. Eventually we gave up on poker, and with a tinge of guilt, strolled into an off-the-strip casino called “Terrible’s”. Despite the name, I highly recommend their craps and blackjack tables, but the primary reason I led the posse there was because of the excellent drink service. A little tip goes a long way here, and it wasn’t long before M, Iggy, and I had 3 double shots and three beers in front of us, which mysteriously appeared after I heard Iggy mumbling something to the cocktail waitress.
Here’s where it gets a little blurry. I do remember that the table was empty when we got there, but after a few minutes, people were cheering on the hot roller (Iggy of course) and double shots and beers kept appearing every 10 minutes. I’m not exaggerating here. Through the fog of Jack Daniels and beer, I remember a few quotes:
Me: “Take my bet down please.”
Stickman: “Son, we don’t say that here. When you want to take your bet down, you have to say, ‘YANK ME!'”
Iggy: (throwing $1 chip to stickman) “Boxcars!”
(roller shoots snake eyes)
Iggy: (watching his $1 disappear) “What the hell is boxcars?”
M: “5 9 on the hop”
Stickman: “Huh?”
M: “5 9 hoppin!”
Stickman: “You mean 5 4?”
M: “5 9!”
Stickman: “What dice are you playin with? There’s no 9 on the dice!”
M: “No more shots, please Iggy!”
craps boss 1: (to Iggy) “Sir, you can’t SIT DOWN at a craps table!”
Iggy: “Umm… I have a bad back…”
craps boss 1: “If you don’t put that stool back you’re out of here.”
H: “Give me that bet for the dealer hard 8 back!”
Don Rickles look-alike Craps boss: “These guys have never been to Vegas.”
Iggy: “Wow, I’ve never seen the owner of the casino actually work in the craps pit!”
Don Rickles: “I guarantee a seven next roll.”
(Iggy rolls the point)
M: (doing triumph the insult comic dog impression) “I poop on you Don Rickles!”
Complete insanity. I ended up going 200 in before Iggy bailed me out with a great roll to get me back to even. We were at the table for about 2 hours, so the pace we were at puts us at about 12 double shots and 12 beers apiece, although I think we slowed down on the shots somewhere in the middle there. Long ago I’d told the blogfather I could outdrink him, and I wondered if he was making me pay for the foolish suggestion.
Eventually we ended up at the bar, and I slurred through some idiotic justification of calling 3 bets on the flop in a big multiway pot with pocket 4s. Friends don’t let friends argue poker theory drunk. M and I said good night to Iggy and we planned to meet up tomorrow morning. I stumbled over to the Blackjack table and made a ridiculous attempt at counting cards, dropping a Benjamin as the dealer pulled five card 21s.
Barely able to keep my eyes open, I remember putting 15 red chips on black and watching the ball bounce forever, finally landing in red but skittering out into black. M followed suit, stacking his remaining chips on red, and he was rewarded with a large stack of red. We cashed out and staggered home at the relatively early hour of 5 AM, and I muttered something about not playing a hand of poker.
To close out the night, I stumble out of the elevator with M and we make the long walk down the hall to our room at the Hard Rock. Their genius decorator has placed cymbals as lamp covers on the wall next to every door, and I can’t resist from doing my best Keith Moon impression, making sure to check the sound for every cymbal in the hall. As I get to the room, I find myself in the bathroom looking at the last couple double shots of the night, and muttering “damn Iggy” as I try to remember the last time I’d been this drunk.

Chaos at the Horseshoe: 2004 WSOP Part 2

“Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.”
–William Dement
After a night of restless sleep, I woke up wondering if the WSOP excitement has gotten hold of me, or if the stressful week at work made for all the tossing and turning. It didn’t matter now, as I forced Mrs. Double to roll out of bed, fill up and coffee, and hit the road. We rolled up to M’s house (Monk’s younger brother), who grew up in the house next door to mine in a small Connecticut suburb, and has been my closest friend since I moved to Cali 4 years ago. Luckily, for me, he ended up coming out here to be with his girlfriend (now his wife) a month after I got here. The last time the two of us were in Vegas was a blast, and this time promised to be more insane, with Mrs. Double and Iggy added to the posse.
So M, Mrs. Double and I rolled down the 10 freeway, hoping the traffic would not delay our meeting with the infamous Ignatius T. at 2 pm. The RSS-fearing Luddite didn’t have a cell phone, so we hoped to run into him at our specified meeting place (no, it wasn’t the top of the Luxor). We rumbled through the desert at 90, with M watching last year’s WSOP (provided by my favorite Minnesotan) on the laptop in the back seat. As Norman Chad’s horrible commentary filled the car, I found myself thinking about just how big the damn tournament was, and what it would be like to play in it. I’d had no desire to play in the tourney– even the top pros are 300 to 1 at best. But I thought about the $225 super satellites, and the WSOP dream crept into my brain. I couldn’t not come to Vegas and take a shot, could I?
And then we were there. Looking around for the biggest rack in the casino, I heard a cough behind me, only to find The Blogfather surrounded by plumes of smoke and the bells of slot machines. I expected him to be about 6’6″ because he writes so big, so I was a little surprised to find that I was a little taller than him. The greetings done, we wasted no time getting to the Horseshoe. We dropped our stuff off in our comped room at the Hard Rock, and Mrs. Double hit the pool, leaving us to fend for ourselves among the Pokerati.
The Horseshoe was complete madness. I’d expected a crowd, but I’d never seen more chaos in a poker room. Everything was a blur. Superstars all around. Lou Krieger signing poker for dummies. Finding a guy reading All In Magazine, and seeing my name in the table of contents. A line for the 3:00 Super Satellite 500 deep. 5 inch high stacks of $100s in front of every player at the $25-50 NL game. I wandered around with glazed eyes, and didn’t even know where to begin.
Luckily Felicia was there to bring some order to the chaos. She’d spent enough time at the Horseshoe to cut through the confusion and direct us to the right people to get in a satellite. Amid all the insanity, Felicia seemed to see through the fog and not The $50 Satellites were in the Sportsbook, and with the 3:00 super all full, I thought the $50 would be a good place to take a shot (and I could win my way in while waiting for the 7 pm satellite). Of course they only had 5 tables going, and the 100 people waiting were not happy. The woman running the satellites looked frazzled as people yelled for more dealers. One guy pulled out a benjamin and offered it to me if I’d deal the game, only to be told by the lady that the media tourney was going to start soon, and the $50 satellites were done.
I wandered back to find Felicia, and finally got to meet Glenn, who was cleaning up in a $100 buy in no-limit game. We eventually found Iggy in line for a $1,000 satellite, in a line about 50 deep. Men the Master talked with Hon Le. I wished TJ luck as he came out of the elevator with his wife. E-dawg Lindgren paced the floor. Sam Grizzle ambled through the crowd. Everybody was there.
We got word that the overflow of the 3:00 satellite would make up the remaining dreamers for the 8:00 super, and my short-lived dream of winning my way into the biggest WSOP ever was done. But Iggy was in line. By the time he finally sat down at the table, the old adrenaline kicked in and there wasn’t any poker player I’d rather watch if I was forced to live vicariously.

Poker Gone Wild: 2004 WSOP Part 1

“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”
–Hunter S. Thompson
My soul has been cleansed after a full weekend in the city of sin, complete with WSOP main event insanity, continuous alcohol intake, and yes, rolling dice with The King of the Poker Blogs.
Before I pass out from exhaustion get started, I’d like to welcome any new readers that came here from All In Magazine. The premiere issue was released on the eve of the Main Event, and there were hundreds of copies spread all over the Horseshoe when I arrived on Friday. If you’ve never been here before, I suggest you take some time to check out the archives section by clicking on the links to the right. This blog has been going for 8 months now, and I’ve written enough words now so that the odds are decent that a few sentences are worth reading.
The Main Event. The Big One. Doyle Brunson. Johnny Chan. Everybody who’s anybody in high stakes poker, gathered in one tiny casino for a few days, duking it out with the internet pros and the lucky dreamers who won their way in via one of the many satellites. The crescendo that has been building as poker has exploded in the past months reached it’s loudest this weekend, exploding on the helpless Horseshoe Casino in downtown Vegas. 2400 players. 200 alternates. Alternates? Are you kidding me?
It’s only a 4+ hour drive from Hollywood to Vegas, so it would have been criminal for me not to have gone. It seemed like a perfect way to end my first year of poker, even if I was only there as a spectator. Little did I know what I was getting into…
Trip report tomorrow. Must catch up on missed sleep.