Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

WSOP Up Close and From a Distance

The backline support thing for PokerNews, as most of you can guess, takes up almost all my waking hours at the moment. 'Tis okay, you know --- it's my job and I get paid for it.

It's odd, though, to be up close to the WSOP and yet not be there at all, because physically I'm nearly 2,000 miles away. As disconnects go, it's a strange one. I knew about a certain event the other night at least 45 minutes before it became public, but I might -not- hear at all about something else, newsworthy or not.

One of the things I learned in person was the need to erect a sensory filter of some sort to be able to survive any length of time at the WSOP. There is simply too much mundane weirdness going on, quite literally at any given moment to be able to keep taking it all in, meaning the sort of things that happen when you stuff several thousand eclectic personalities into a finite space for weeks on end. It gets weird at times.

It gets beyond weird at times, to be more accurate.

In a way, the electronic barrier serves as that filter, though the cost of that is the ambience, the feel, the flavor of whatever it is that makes it the WSOP. And having been there to experience it first-hand, I know now that I just don't trust this electronic filtering, even though I play a part in it myself. You're reading dribs and drabs, bits and pieces. But it's like listening to the Muzak version of "Stairway to Heaven": the notes are the same, but the song sure isn't.

A lot of what makes the WSOP so special just does not work its way out, excepting the truly odd tales that pick up lives of their own. Stuff like Richard Brodie's short-term banishment or Vinny Vinh's inexplicable disappearance or Eskimo Clark's medical difficulties... that gets picked up, of course, because it's easy pickings. So do whatever items that happen to draw the most complaints --- this year the Bluff Tent looks like it'll be the long-term winner, but I've got a hunch that the Poker Pavilion might make a late surge toward the top of everyone's 'most despised' list as the weather warms up over the next few weeks. The long lines and general disorganization during the earliest days seems to have ebbed, and the dreadful Poker Peeks are gone --- though I may purchase a deck or two of them if they pop up on eBay later on. (Just because. I'm a craphound that way.)

The one thing I'll probably miss most about not being there in person is the chance to compare and contrast this year's WSOP to last, in regards to the UIGEA's effects. From the big stuff like the lack of online-room suites and a different mix in players through smaller issues like the expected reduction in the "sea of branded shirts" from last year, it would still have been interesting to see. Last year one dared not use the restroom for 20 minutes before the start of a session because the Absolute/Bodog/Doyle's Room/Voodoo Lounge 'girls for hire' had all the stalls occupied at that time and were four deep at the sinks and mirrors. This year it's probably all Beast Light girls, but only two or three deep. I guess I won't miss that part of it, but the clinical side of me wants to take notes on the little stuff, the bits and pieces that all have to be assembled to make the darned clock tick.

Meanwhile, I have tons more work to do. Posts here will be sporadic (as you've noticed), but posts there will indeed be. Don't desert me folks, because I'm not deserting you. I'm just getting used to the goggles.

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