Monday, April 7, 2014

The Peaks, and the Pits, of Poker WSOP 2014

     That familiar sound of chips ruffling, incessant as a flock of lotus, can be heard over all of the indecipherable chatter of the poker room.  Surrounded by the large collection of poker tables, the familiar droning buzz was reminiscent of a beehive, and a sound I am all too familiar with.  A sound I could fall asleep to, and had done so several times, in those all too common marathon sessions. The kind of sessions the pros learn to get out of their system early in their poker careers, if they like to maintain the highest winrates, and avoid high variance mistakes.

     A rail of friends was nearby, not in my vision, but I knew they were there, cheering me on, disbelief long since gone about my deep run in the main event.  So many friends I had railed before, were now railing me.  It's good to have friends.

     It is typically quite cool in the Amazon room, something many complain about, but that I find refreshing. Particularly when I am sitting at such a tough table draw.  My awareness tracks the whole table, watching for tells, both real and false, looking for any little sign.

    Most of my attention, however, is on the seasoned veteran across from me. My old school idol, Phil Ivey. The man who can play all the games, both tournament and cash. The player so many would vote as the "best player in the world".

    A voice in the back of my head says I should be nervous, perhaps the voice of one of my friends, but I am perfectly calm.  I have trained for this, studied, practiced, lived the grind.  I have played millions of hands online, even against Phil.  I am ready, and fear no players, any longer.  I have seen it all by now.  I am proud of the fact that I am so calm, it is a milestone along my path...

     How did I get such a table draw?  A veritable table o' death... Antonius, Ivey, Mercier, Moorman, Haxton, Adams, Helmuth, Negreanu, and me.  Jack Effel must have had it in for me, or Matt Savage put him up to it, their little "joke".  Little ole me?

     Something didn't add up, and this oddness crept to the forefront of my mind.  A dizziness took over.  The world tilted, and the image from Inception of someone "kicking the chair" came to mind, as I realized...

     It was a dream!  Yet another dream about poker.  Not the first, certainly not the last.  And now the true nightmare becomes apparent as I awaken fully...

     Left Vegas for love, but it was a lie.  Stuck in rural California.  No bankroll.  100 miles from the nearest poker room.  No license.  The bills are overdue.  No job.  The roof leaks.  I definitely need to write a country song while stuck here...

     But the absolute worst part, is the realization, that I am going to miss the WSOP, for a 5th year in a row.  5 World Series!

     But such is life (C'est la vie!) ... I am not the only one, there are many others in the same boat.  For every player going to the series, there are hundreds that want to go, but can't make it.  Family responsibilities, economic impossibilities, busted rolls at the wrong time, etc. etc. etc.

     The sun will still rise tomorrow.  In my younger days, I probably would have felt a bit of anguish at not being able to accomplish some progress on one of my goals.  But I am much older and wiser now.  I know my time will come.

     Despite the path that led me here now, I have learned what I needed.  I will do well when I get there.  I have matured as a player.  I wanted to enter poker in 2000, but didn't get to start until 2009, and then focused too much on the day job until 2013.  But now, I have paid my dues, and I am ready.

     Many are gearing up for the 2014 WSOP.  Barring some miracle, I will be on the sidelines again, tweeting, maybe reporting, likely railing a few.  But mostly, I will be planning, and working towards, the 2015 WSOP.

     And maybe a miracle, or two....
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