09 Jun 2005

Previous: Airports and conspiracies.

It took lkim all of about 4 seconds to find me once I got through the door at the Plaza and went to check in. We dropped our bags in the room and decided that if we wanted to see any of the WSOP, we’d better do it now.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, “Salmon can migrate more than 3000 km upstream through freshwater to spawn. that is like driving halfway across Canada.” We arrived at the Rio at 7:30, which, we soon realized, was right at the start of the dinner break. As we followed the signs down the long hall and halfway across Canada toward the entrance, 1000+ poker players, observers, reporters and groupies all made their way toward us. Upstream, indeed. When we finally made it to the room, it was mostly empty, save some satellites and cash games. We headed back to the Sao Paulo Cafe and had some dinner, surrounded by players nervously smoking and triple-checking their watches while waiting for their food. Of course, the restaurant was completely unprepared for the onslaught and the waiters and kitchen could not keep up. lkim spilled some sort of sauce on his shirt.

Years ago, when I worked a buyer in record stores, I used to memorize the catalog numbers and stock of many of the popular records we had in the store. When reps from the record companies would make their weekly visits, they’d inventory their hits and then hit me up for reorders. Some of the less scrupulous and newer reps would pull the old “Hey! You ran out of <bull crap pop star> records. I’ll put you down for 30!” I’d question their count, we’d go check together, and I was usually correct that we were, in fact, not out of said record. The rep soon learned that conveniently missing a big stack of records would not work.

The point is, my memory ends up cataloging things, whether I like it or not. these days, I seem to be cataloging poker players. So as lkim and I walked through the aisles on the floor of the WSOP and everyone is crowded around Lederer and Hellmuth, I’m pointing out Senthil Kumar. lkim is pretty sure I’m insane.

lkim was done playing fanboy with me and we headed for the castle, where things were in full swing. I half-way, sort of recognized a few people, then saw Pauly playing host, mingling among the tables. I introduced myself, got a big smile back, and hear my name called. I end up at a table right along the rail. If the castle poker room was the solar system and the main couple of blogger tables were the Sun and Earth, I was comfortably on pluto. Chad and then Jason soon sat down at the other end of the table. I figure if I’m going to drop half a buy-in with a series of second best hands, I might as well get some entertaining conversation out of the deal, so I slide down when a seat opens up and we shoot the shit while Jason raises most hands trying to loosen up the table.

Long about midnight, Hank comes by with a group of folks and mentions food at Sherwood Forest. I pick up and join Iggy, Grubby, Halverson, CJ, et al. we are soon joined by lkim, Hank’s buddy Matt, Brini and his buddy. The conversation is lively, but the service is not.

Then Hanks phone rings…

Next: Who the hell called Hank and why are we squeezing into this Lincoln Towncar?

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Franklin Henderson