My trip home was very good despite the most severe jetlag I’ve had in years. I got to relax a little bit. Janeen is starting to show and makes a very cute pregnant woman. It was sweltering and sunny for the BBQ, which shattered its attendance record. A lot of great friends and family came out to Long Island to eat, drink, swim and hang out.
By Monday, I was feeling nice and settled, dreading the idea of flying back out to Vegas. The drudgery of packing, getting to the airport, checking my suitcase, and going through security had me in a sour frame of mind. I got to my gate early and was sitting there half-reading and half-dozing when I overheard a conversation that changed my mood entirely.
Behind me, a group of men were talking. It sounded like there were maybe five or six of them. The topic was the WSOP Main Event. They were flying out to play it. Their attitude was the polar opposite of my own. They were exuberant, celebrating the occasion. I quickly gathered that the entire group, with one exception, was playing the tournament for the first time. The veteran was now holding court.
This’ll be my sixth time playing, guys. Lemme me tell you, there’s nothing like it. This is the pinnacle fellas! It’s worth every penny. This is something you have to experience before you die.
The other voices chimed back in with palpable excitement. The discussion then turned to topics such as what to do with pocket aces in level one (play a small pot) how to handle the pros (avoid them) and how to beat the bathroom lines (skip the last hand of the level).
My curiosity now fully piqued, I nonchalantly turned around in my seat to get a look at these guys. A group of men in their 50’s or early 60’s. All wearing khaki shorts, golf shirts and shit-eating grins. I recognized one of them. A tall, white haired man whose chips I have taken many times at Foxwoods. The epitome of dead money.
A couple of things suddenly occurred to me. One, my job is a lot of fun. On a daily basis I do something that many average joes take immense pleasure in. While I was sitting there feeling grumpy about getting onto a plane to play it, these men were talking about the WSOP Main Event with “bucket list”-level reverence. This was their equivalent of scaling Everest, meeting the President, shooting hoops with Michael, etc. etc. It’s a really big deal to thousands of people. Once was for me, too.
It also occurred to me that I’m very good at poker. It’s easy to forget this when you commune only with other people who are also very good. While a couple of guys like the ones behind me in the airport manage to final table it every year, they are also the reason the Main Event (and poker generally) is such a great opportunity for me—a juicy lottery ticket with positive expectation.
The golf guys’ conversation kindled a feeling of sweet anticipation inside me, and I boarded the plane in a happy but determined mood.
After landing in Vegas I had a nice meal and went bowling. Then I woke up the next day and won a seat to the Main Event in the only MTT satellite I’ve played this year. My Day 1 starts in about an hour.