This will be necessarily brief.
I'm in Queenstown two full days now and loving every minute of it. This part of New Zealand is incredibly picturesque, with its mountains, lakes, fir trees and snow. I haven't had much chance to do any of the "adventure sport" Queenstown is known for, but the alpine air alone (about 27F as of this 10am writing) is doing loads to refresh me and wipe away all the sins of the WSOP season. Plus it's been great to see some old friends and make some new ones.
It's easy to focus on negativity but there's a lot to be thankful for. We'll have another two easy days of poker, which is really just what the doctor ordered for me after the seven weeks of the WSOP. And I made a mental note last night that, one way or another, I am going back to Cebu this year.
Time for brekky.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
This will be necessarily brief.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Ok, so yeah. I was going to try to update my blog every day of the WSOP and failed miserably. I guess I don't have the stamina or the chops of someone like Shamus.
The WSOP was challenging this year. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad it's over. Judging by snatches of conversation I had here and there with other media, I'm not the only one who feels that way. 51 days in the Amazon Room, even with a day off a week, is draining on every level.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has expressed, in one medium or another, their gratitude and appreciation for the work that I put into the 2010 WSOP coverage. Tournament reporting is often a thankless task, so it's nice to be reminded that there are people who enjoy it.
Unfortunately there's no rest for the wicked. Not eight hours after I left the Rio for the last time at the 2010 WSOP (until November, at least) I was on a plane. You can now find me at latitude 45°S, longitude 168°E -- Queenstown, New Zealand. I'm here for the ANZPT Queenstown event. Even though the timing is rotten, I'm glad I was offered and accepted this opportunity. Queenstown is beautiful!
My cab driver from the airport to the hotel personified every thing I've come to expect from Kiwis (and their Aussie counterparts) -- chatty, knowledgeable and incredibly friendly. I expect this is going to be a great week.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
This post isn't related to the World Series of Poker. If that's the content you're looking for, feel free to skip this post.
To be honest, I do not remember when I first met Dawn Summers. It was some time between August 1997 and May 2000. Yeah, wide span. I drank a lot of beer back then.
Dawn performed in the Law School Show at Columbia with us in the Spring of 2000, but I'm sure I would have met her before that. Because she's racist, however, she probably refused to talk to me. (It's true! Ask her about having her online poker account chat-banned for racist remarks. Or spend five minutes with her. Especially during the summer, when she race-baits other people by eating watermelon.)
Since those halcyon days at Columbia Law School Dawn and I have had many, many mis-adventures together. I say mis-adventures because, whenever Dawn Summers is involved in an outing, excursion or adventure, you can be sure that things will wind up hilariously wrong. The last time I was in NYC, we went to DiFara's to get pizza to bring back to a friend's apartment. A simple 10-minute drive for pizza turned into a 2-hour, multi-borough affair.
That's part of the Dawn Summers charm.
What I look for in the people I choose to associate with is positive qualities. People who try to build other up rather than break them down. People who enrich the lives of those around them rather than detract from them. People who are willing to give of themselves to others in response to what others give them. After all, the best part of living can be other people -- but only if you spend time with the right sort of person. Life's too short to suffer fools, jerks, egotists or emotionally broken people.
Dawn Summers is none of those things. She has all of the best qualities you'd look for in a person, and she has them in spades (spades because she's black). She's one of the best of the best. She's smart, she's witty, she's quirky, she's quick to laugh. She's there when you need her and will give back at least as much as she gets. She'll never tear you down, but she'll point out to you when you've wandered into left field or when she thinks you're wrong. In short, she's a good friend.
Sure, Dawn has her faults. Her memory is long. Cross her once and you might not find yourself ever able to cross her again. But Dawn knows that she has her faults. She doesn't pretend they're not there. That's something that you can only respect in a person: a person who is secure enough in themselves to say "This is who I am. I am not perfect, but that's fine."
One of my faults is that I'm a terrible gift-giver. To be sure, Dawn Summers loves to open gifts. She'd much rather get a box set of Glee that she can hug, rub all over her body and pop in the DVD player than some lame feel-good thing like a contribution on her behalf to the Human Fund or some sort of happy-birthday-tribute post. But I'm fine with my faults too.
This year I told Dawn that I'd give her the gift of my attendance with her at the Liberace Museum in Vegas while she looked for hideous Liberace sneakers. The truth is that getting to spend time with a good friend like Dawn is really a gift to myself (told you I'm terrible at giving gifts). When I realized that, I thought I'd have to do something really personally repulsive and buy her a pair of those hideous sneakers she loves so much. Then I figured, what the heck, I could give her some links to her blogs and her Twitter account and that would make her pretty damn happy. Not as happy as a Glee box set or Liberace sneakers, but I'm willing to come in 2nd, or 3rd, or 15th place on this one.
And so, on this the day of her daughter's wedding, I hope that her first child is a manly one. Happy Birthday Dawn Summers! Enjoy the protection of the birthday force field.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
We're in the home stretch now for the 2010 World Series of Poker. As far as my life goes, things have gotten much, much easier. This week is a series of 10-hour days, one day on, one day off. Compare that to last week, where I worked 14-hour days five days in a row. Easy peasy.
A few random thoughts:
* I still don't understand the culture of celebrity. Matt Damon played Ante Up for Africa and people were falling all over themselves trying to get his autograph. It's a two-way street of course, made clear by the fact that without the presence of ESPN's television camera, participation at AUFA dropped from 138 in 2009 to 84 in 2010.
* Remember that whole problem with the TOC I wrote about last time? It got even worse on Saturday. Essentially some of the players revolted against playing at 9am on Sunday and Jack Effel and Ty Stewart let them do it. Daniel Negreanu, not always a bastion of level-headedness, actually made a good point when he said to us, "This is a freeroll. We didn't pay a penny to enter it. If Harrah's wanted to play it at 6am on a Sunday morning, that's when we should play it." Hear, hear, Daniel.
* Day 1A of the Main Event was boring. That's probably a good thing and a bad thing. It's a good thing because it allowed the poker to be the focus. It's a bad thing because if poker is the focus it will be harder for ESPN to package and promote the product.
* There's still quite a bit of value in the Main Event, however, judging by some of the hands I witnessed or my crew reported to me.
* It was good to see Pauly back in the press box for the start of the Main Event. Follow his updates to get a sense of the "color" of the room (or lack thereof) during the Main Event.