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.

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