I was taking a smoke break in my car, the A/C blasting while I caught up with Showcase over the phone when I heard a knock on the passenger side window. I stopped tapping out my bowl and looked up.
"Ha! Ha! Ha! Caught ya!" the toothy, sandy haired dealer howled as he pointed at me. He got into the car parked next to mine and related to his dealer friend what he had just seen me doing. His friend started howling and pointing along with him. They drove off in a red pickup truck.
The next day I was making the hot, steamy trek from the parking lot to the Amazon Room when I saw him again. Rather than hiking through the long, tourist-clogged hallways of the Rio Convention Center, I always take a shortcut in through the side door, next to the area where all the dealers congregate to suck down cigarettes on break.
"What, are you going camping?" he inquired with a snort. I do carry an unusually large backpack that probably could be used for such an excursion. Only I don't camp. Ever. The mega-pack serves only to house my 17 inch laptop.
I have no idea if he recognized me from the night before. He just sucked down the last half inch of his Camel Light and returned to the frigid indoors, off to deal another down of NLHE to some tourna-donks.
"Don't you smell the pot?" inquired my French friend Benjo. "Right there, by Phil Ivey." We were both covering the $5K NLHE event.
Well, this I had to investigate. I walked up to Ivey's table and stood right behind him. Nothing. Then I turned around and started sniffing the air around the table behind him. Sure enough... someone was holding.
Clonie Gowen saw me sniffing the air. "Do you smell that too? It's like a skunk!" she drawled in her sharp Dallas twang. I leaned over and whispered in her ear.
"I think someone at your table has pot in their pocket."
"Really?" she laughed. "That must be a lot of pot!"
Yes, someone was toking up on breaks at the $5K NLHE. And Dutch Boyd, Gank, and Shaniac were nowhere to be found. Everyone's favorite poker trainwreck Brandi Hawbaker was also in the $5K field wearing a ruffled green silk semi-formal dress. I thought it was a lovely outfit, but I can't imagine playing for 12 hours in silk. Save it for the Main Event pre-parties.
Two nights ago, I heard a woman's bloodcurdling scream coming from a couple of buildings over at the Del Bocca Vista.
"Remind you of your nights at the Redneck Riviera?" I said to Pauly.
"Not unless it's accompanied by gunshots. Or an exploding meth lab."
I heard similar screams while I was covering the $2,500 NLHE event last week at the Rio. There was some woman in the field who would let out a Jamie Lee Curtis-esque scream every time she won a pot. At first, every head in the room would turn to see what the ruckus was, but it got old really quick.
Wednesday and Thursday were supposedly the slowest days of the Series we'll see until the Main Event with only 3 or 4 events running as opposed to the typical 5 or 6. I got a little more time to wander the room than I usually do. I spooted Leif Force playing 25-25 PLO and Ana Galajian in the 100-200 LHE game with a castle of chips in front of her. Sabyl Cohen, CK Hua and Amnon Filippi were playing $100/point Chinese Poker, paying each other out of the stacks of $100 bills in front of them rather than chips. The scariest satellite lineup I've ever seen was gathered around two tables in the opposite corner of the room, playing a $2,200 mega-sat for the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. There were 14 runners including Andy Bloch, Robert Williamson III, Mel Judah, David Bach, Eric "Rizen" Lynch, Mimi Tran, and a guy with the longest dreads I have ever seen on a human being outside a festival parking lot. Only one of them would win a seat. I went home for the evening before I could find out.
I'm sorry I had to miss 99% of the blogger festivities this past weekend. I had to work on Friday and Saturday and after I played the Ladies' Event on Sunday, I went home and just crashed from exhaustion. And when I finally woke up... the last place I wanted to be was the Rio.
To read about my experience at the WSOP Ladies Event, check out A Plea for a True Ladies' World Championship over on my PokerWorks blog.
Today, for me, it's the $3,000 stud 8 event. Hopefully my brain won't cave in on itself while I attempt to decipher interns' handwriting and determine who won which half of the pot...