Monday, July 31, 2006

Dodging Tourists, Main Event Bloggers, and how Cindy Margolis put me on tilt

Every afternoon at the WSOP is a game of dodge-the-tourist. I dodge them in the parking lot as I try to find a space that gives me something less than a quarter-mile walk to the media room. I dodge them outside the hospitality suites as I try to get to the ladies room. I dodge them in the hallways, where most of them just stand there, blocking traffic, ogling the spokesmodels and looking lost. I dodge them inside the tournament area as I try to squeeze my way up to the rail through guys in bad Hawaiian shirts stacked six or seven deep. They could give a shit if I have a media badge. They want their blurry photo of the back of Phil Hellmuth's head to take home. I have bruises in places I can't remember hitting but I'm sure some tourist put them there after smacking me in the shoulder for the 13,000th time.

I hate them all. Every single one of them. After enduring four day ones as a member of the media and watching what the players have to go through just to get to their table and back on breaks, I firmly believe that tourists and spectators should be banned from the Main Event, at least until Harrah's can find a facilty to hold this thing that is big enough for everyone. Though I'm not sure that place exists anywhere in the city of Las Vegas. In only two short years, the WSOP has pretty much outgrown its new home at the Rio Convention Center. The Amazon Room is barely big enough to hold the 2100 players that have started each day of the Main Event, let alone all of their railbirds. I can't imagine how much it sucks to be trying to think your way through a big hand in a $10K event with dozens of idiots with cameras gawking at you and talking amongst themselves. It's utterly maddening.

In other Main Event news, huge congrats to Ryan of Absinthetics and Tuscaloosa Johnny of Poker Nation and Pokerblog for making it to Day 2 of play with over $40K in chips apiece! More bloggers are in the field today including Zeem and Lucko21.

I also ran into Bill Rini a couple of days ago while walking the floor. What a great surprise! Looks like he's not moving to Dublin with the Full Tilt crew after all. Will Murderer's Row rise again?

For more stories, party reports and bad fashion from the WSOP, check out some of my posts on

WSOP Fashion Report: Potheads of Poker
WSOP After Dark
World Series of Prop Bets
Lucky You: The Five Signs of a Stinker
The WSOP Party Scene: Full Tilt @ Pure
The WSOP Party Scene: Bodog @ TAO
WSOP Fashion Report: Tragic Shirt Edition
Railbird Flashers
WSOP Fashion Report: Razz Edition
The Cash Game Scene: Big-Time Badugi
The WSOP Fashion Report: Today's Winners and Losers

* * * * *

We had a multi-way last longer going into Thursday's Media Event. Otis, CJ, Pauly, Tuscaloosa Johnny, Jen Leo, John Caldwell and myself put up $20 each, the total prize pool going to the last man or woman standing out of the seven of us. It was more for fun than anything, given that the structure of the tournament was akin to a dollar turbo tournament, with each of us starting with $1000 in chips and blinds at 25-50. The dealers put the over-under at the whole thing finishing at 3.5 hours. And there were at least 25 tables in play.

I didn't recognize a soul at my first table. The only "celebrity" seated there was this attractive black guy who I think is the host of one of those entertainment tabloid shows ("Extra?"). Aside from the guy in the 2 seat (who works for or something of the like) no one really knew what they were doing and I was able to pick up a lot of pots on continuation bets after raising from late position before the flop. I doubled my stack early when a guy raised to 500 with KQ, and I came over the top all in with AA. By the time we hit the first break, I was cruising with over 5000.

Then I got a table change. And all hell broke loose.

There was a tacky gold purse sitting on my new seat. I asked the lady to my right if it belonged to her and if I could tuck it underneath the table. When she looked up, I realized just why the photogs and media had descended like vultures over this particular table. I now had the world's most downloaded woman on my right. Cindy Margolis. And she had absolutely no idea what she was doing. A mess of uncounted, unstacked chips sat in front of her.

Cindy and I chatted briefly about our gold purses (though I think mine was a little more tasteful, thank you very much) while Pauly and Ryan eyed us from the rail. On my first hand at the new table, I was dealt two ren tens and raised it up to 1000 from UTG with 150-300/25 blinds. The SB pushed all in for 1500 and Cindy flat-called from the BB. She didn't so much as call, as she took a handful of chips and tossed them toward the dealer, asking "is that enough?" I called 500 more and a Q high, uncoordinated flop came down. Cindy grabbed a fistfull of green and black chips and tossed them toward the pot. It turned out to be only a 400 chip bet into the pot that was approaching 5000. The bet was small and could have meant anything, so I called. The turn was a blank. Cindy checked and I checked behind. The river was a J, a shitty card for me, putting two overs to my pair on the board. Cindy instantly announced all in. Now I really hated my hand and I'd put nearly half my stack into this pot. I folded disgustedly and Cindy turned over JJ for the rivered set. The SB looked utterly sickened as he tabled his AQ and watched her rake in the chips, which, of course, she couldn't be bothered to stack.

A friend of Cindy's walked over and saw the pile in front of her.

"How'd you get all those chips, Cindy?" he asked.

"I won them!" she giggled in reply.

Tilt. Tilt. Tilt. I glared at Pauly and Ryan, rolling my eyes. Somewhere, there is an awesome picture of it.

CJ was keeping tabs on Otis and I and live blogging our progress as we were the last two runners in the last longer. We were neck and neck for awhile, each with around 2500, until I saw CJ rushing towards me.

"Otis just doubled up. Wanna hold on to this for a while?" he said, handing me his shiny new silver Luckbox.

It worked.

With only 1500 or so chips left, I pushed in with A2 from somewhere in middle position and got two callers with KT and QJ. The flop came a beautiful Q22 and I tripled up.

But so did Otis, right before he was moved to my table, replacing one of the guys I just busted. The blinds were atrociously high at this point (300-600/75), and when I looked down at AJs, I felt there was no other choice but to push in with the 3500 0r so I had left. I ran them straight into QQ and unfortunately had the guy covered by only 350. With that, we went to break, which was doubly annoying, seeing as I'd have to wait around for 20 minutes just to go all-in blind on the first hand back. Boooooo. That hand turned out to be 37o, and Otis found A7 in the BB to take it. I flung the $140 at him with a "nice hand, donkey." (I keed, I keed...)

Otis went on to make the final table and finished 9th, earning $100 for the American Cancer Society. I went home and had a nice big bong hit.

* * * * *
I'll leave you with some of my favorite photos I've taken during the Main Event so far:

An ice bracelet sits on the bar of the Voodoo Lounge at the Harrah's party

My kind of guy

For Drizz and Chad: Painted Ladies

What happens when you prop bet Gavin Smith

Snakes on a Flop!

Obligatory dreamy Phil Gordon photo... sigh

Though Erick Lindgren's no slouch... double sigh

Seriously, you should. Some players are having the dealer sign a slip of paper with their chip count on it before leaving the room for breaks.

This one's for you, Mean Gene


DuggleBogey said...

Back when I worked in the media, I hope I did't have that attitude of self importance.

I'm sure I did, but I hope I never sounded as spoiled and privileged as you did in this post.

At least you put some of the blame on Harrahs, and not all of it on the hated "fans" who incidentally are the purpose for you working there in the first place.

change100 said...

You know, I was going to flame you right back, Dugglebogey, but I realized that I really could give a shit what you think of me.

DuggleBogey said...

Obviously you don't, because I am just another fan...

change100 said...

Well, there's that, and the fact that your icon says "retard."

DuggleBogey said...

I just changed that today. I think it's pretty appropriate.

cauwel3 said...

awesome blog i love the pctures of the pot heads. I'm sure at least 20% of those folks in the ain event are hitting it. I saw Daniel N. wearing a shirt with bob marley on it made of pot leaves too. Maybe we can smoke somtime lol

Tully Moxness said...

Hey, as a non-member of the media, I agree that the main event is out of control. Fans need to be respectful of the players; I've seen the same thing at Spring Training in Arizona (sigh* Phoenix, Waffle House, Sonic). Barry Bonds was at the batting cage and some dude keeps yelling and begging him to sign some picture he brought. Barry couldn't even hear what the dumbass was yelling, but of course, the dude walks away saying what an asshole he was. Fucking tournament is tough enough without some kid from Pigsknuckle, Arkansas bugging you for an autograph while you decide to call an all-in. Don't let the assholes get you down, Change.

Wolverine Fan said...

Love your pictures at WSOP and your write up of Cindy Margolis. Are you sure she wasn't playing the "dumb blonde" and taking you and the table for a ride? How did she finish up.
Technically you are a tourist in Las Vegas, too, as you do not live there. Even though you have your press pass you are ogling just as much as the tourists you despise. You do come across as being a bit arrogant.

Nuff said...

OMG I so want that snakes on the flop shirt...anyone know where he got that?

Unknown said...

Think those painted ladies would be pissed if I grabbed a super soaker?

change100 said...

They were selling them at one of the booths at the Gaming Expo, nuff.

Garthmeister J. said...

Cool photos.

I do wonder what Harrah's is planning to do in the future if they think the field for the Main Event is going to continue to expand... can they just keep adding on extra Day 1s and Day 2s indefinitely?

SirFWALGMan said...

Freaking Duggles is on PMS this month.. Tell him to Fuckoff. That is what I would do. heh. Your approach is much more annoying to him I would think.

Unknown said...

Thank you for linking me, Claire. I really appreciate it. I'm honored, actually.
Keep up the good coverage. I hope you consider freelancing in the future as you're really good at it. And this is coming from a writer and not a guy who has retard on his blue shirt.

Jordan said...

The solution to the lack of space is to have the event take place in multiple locations at once. I'm pretty sure that Harrahs owns enough Vegas properties to hold all of the Day 1 events on the same day. Players would be assigned Day 1 Harrahs or Day 1 Rio or Day 1 or the Paris or the Flamingo or Ballys. It would be impossible for any individual to cover, but it wouldn't take 2 wks to hold a tournament either. Just my 2 pesos. Oh, and then players can be happy that they made the final poker room. By the way, this idea is not an original one.

Gene said...

Thank you, thank you for the picture. She looks very Mod Squad.

Ontario Emperor said...

Tom Hanks should tell Cindy that there's no giggling in poker. Yet another reason why my blog is Cindy Margolisless.