Oh, What a Night! Amazing cast of poker characters — including Tony Hachem, Shane Warne, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Brian Rast, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and his Dad, me on the bottom left, and lots of others cool people, too. At the SECOND BEST dinner I attended at the 2015 WSOP What was the best? Read on….
Writer’s Note: First in a series of I don’t know how many articles.
Between May 26 and July 15, I worked 51 consecutive days and nights at the 2015 World Series of Poker.
And I have it easy. Just ask the immigrant who works outdoors and picks lettuce 345 days a year.
Such a schedule might seem excessively long, and it certainly provided yet another annual test of commitment and fortitude, an arduous ordeal which feels slightly tougher each year, first because my boss Caesar keeps on adding more and more gold bracelet events to cover (we hit 68 this year, an all-time high), but fatigue far better explained by losing sight of the evanescent signpost reading “you were once age 50” now a distant blur in the rear-view mirror.
That said, I have a bold confession to make. Yes, I do put in long hours. But I also enjoy some ridiculously long dinner breaks. As the saying goes — work hard, play harder.
Writer’s Note: The views expressed are strictly my own and do not reflect the opinions nor the positions of the World Series of Poker, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, or the Rio Las Vegas.
I like “Oklahoma Johnny” Hale. I respect Mr. Hale. I think Mr. Hale has done a lot of good things for poker.
At age 88, he doesn’t quite get around as well as in his younger days. But Mr. Hale remains mentally sharp as a tack and personifies the prevailing wisdom we all should follow that one doesn’t ever retire from the activities he enjoys and values in life.
Earlier today, Mr. Hale gave his usual opening remarks just prior to the start of the Seniors Championship, here at the 2015 World Series of Poker. These festivities tend to be considerably longer than normal since there’s some period of reflection, including a poignant moment of remembrance for all the poker greats who are now gone, as well as patriotic fanfare connected to an age group sometimes best described as “the greatest generation.”
What’s the most annoying string of words that stream from the human mouth, other than “Can I borrow money?” Consider these three words: How are you? Other variations of this persistent irritation include the following — How’s it going? What’s going on? You doing okay?
Quit it. Just stop. I’m begging you.
What’s the point of all this worthless time-wasting drivel? Do you really want to know my current state of affairs — about how furious I am right now with Nevada State Bank for hitting me with those overdraft charges, the car leaking oil, my plantar fasciitis killing me, the bookies wanting their money, and current the state of affairs in Syria?
How am I, you dare to ask? Look at me. I’m working from noon until 3 am every day inside a building that’s so cold it could refrigerate meat. I’ve got bronchitis and it’s 109 degrees outside. Oh, and one of the companies I work for is $22 billion in debt and in bankruptcy. How the fuck do you think I am?
Fact is, you don’t really care. So, don’t ask. Clam up and snap it shut. Unless you have something really important to say to me, stand clear and keep quiet. Got it?
When you do approach me, there are certain rules and procedures to follow.
A few months ago, I attended the iGaming North America conference in Las Vegas (thanks, Sue Schneider), where I was interviewed by Rebecca Liggero, from CalvinAyre.com.
Ms. Liggero asked me about the present state of online poker in the United States and called upon on me to speculate on the chances that we’ll see major changes one way or the other, whether that be restriction or expansion.
The short clip can be viewed below.
Thanks to Rebecca Liggero and CalvinAyre.com for the opportunity to share my perspectives.
Trivia question. Identify the following individual.
Who’s ranked in the top ten of most cashes in history at the World Series of Poker….and who has won two career WSOP gold bracelets….and who’s earned more than $5.5 million just in poker tournaments alone….and who’s cashed in the Main Event Championship four consecutive years (then, a record)….and who made the world championship final table the same year Stu Ungar won his last title….and yet, who plays poker only part-time, with the bulk of his actual winnings as a full-time professional gambler coming from not from cards, but rather from sports wagering and horseracing?
Here’s another hint: He’s one of the least conspicuous players in poker, seemingly invisible inside any cardroom, yet is a giant among gamblers because he’s not only overcome the odds and prospered for so long in such a variety of different endeavors — somehow managing to support himself by one holy virtue –which is looking for edges and then pouncing on opportunity; Just as impressive, he’s always conducts himself with pure class.
So, who is this person we may have seen but probably don’t know? The correct answer is: Chris Bjorin