I'm seated on a camping chair in the cement-and-gravel backyard of my seventh Las Vegas residence in six summers. It's so perfectly clear and pleasant outside I could almost weep. I hear a bird chirp and it reminds me of the dead one Pauly found next to the back wall only minutes after we arrived. I know that there's another bird carcass around the corner beyond the padlocked fence painted a shade on the lighter end of the cream-to-adobe spectrum that covers nearly every square inch of surface, man-made or not, in the Las Vegas Valley. Taking a look at our parched surroundings on the edge of town it's not difficult to figure out their cause of death.
The din of Los Angeles had been eating at my patience over the last six weeks I spent there-- the leaf blowers, circular saws, and car alarms, the bickering couple upstairs and their boundlessly energetic kitten, the can fairies pillaging the dumpster outside our bedroom window, and the relentless crush of traffic, whatever the hour. It's quiet out here, save for the goat that woke Pauly and Benjo early this morning. Apparently a few of them live in the rogue structure behind our subdivision in a fenced-off square of land. I'm enjoying the brief silence before turning my life over to the World Series of Poker for the sixth straight year less than 24 hours from now.
Although I know my frame of mind will undoubtedly change over the next few days, there's just something more zen about my outlook as I approach the Series. I'd say about 90% of that is due to the fact that I'm no longer a slave to live updates. What I will be doing at the WSOP in terms of media will reveal itself in the coming days and I will certainly be playing a lot more than I have been able to in past years. I look forward to being able to write within a different structure, one far more akin my first WSOP than the five that followed. And as usual, if you're snapped wearing a heinous outfit-- it's not slander if it's the truth!
I keep going back to a conversation I had in a bar back in Los Angeles earlier this year.
"Something big is going to happen at the WSOP this year, I can feel it," she said.
I didn't believe her at the time. The media veteran in me won out. But it was also two months before Black Friday.
I'll see you at the Rio.