Photo taken last week which shows the Mike Sexton book before it was stolen
Mike Sexton should be proud.
Someone ripped off the new book Sexton personally gave to me, right off my desk, out in the open, at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Someone out there is a thief!
The backstory goes like this: I’m at the Rio working the 2016 World Series of Poker for 51-straight days and nights. Since I’m toiling away inside a casino, just about every square inch of the property is covered by the watchful eye of surveillance cameras. It’s almost impossible for someone to steal something and it not be recorded on video.
For this reason, I often leave my humble possessions completely out in the open, in clear public view. I realize there are some risks at doing this, since not everyone who walks through a casino is honest. I know — such a pessimistic outlook on humanity. However, it’s way too much trouble to lock away everything at my desk each and every time I have to leave the room for whatever reason. So, I leave most of my things at the desk which no one seems to bother with.
Just moments ago, a stranger came up to me at the Rio, here at the 2016 World Series of Poker. He said some nice things and after exchanging a few pleasantries, I assumed the short conversation had run its course.
Then, right as he was about to leave, he pulled a small piece of paper out of his pocket and showed me something that I found quite inspiring. The man’s name is Ron Elkins.
Now before going much further with the story, let me make it clear that I have no aspirations of winning a bundle of money at the WSOP. I work on the house side. So, I have to live my dreams vicariously through others. Yes, I’m impartial in my writings and coverage. But like anyone, I also cheer for my friends and the people I like.
Ron showed me a piece of paper, perhaps 2 inches by 3 inches. What captured my attention were the words written on the back side of a worn out business card.
Out of the 47 series which have taken place since the first small gathering at the old Binion’s Horseshoe back in 1970, I’ve attended about half of them — at least in some capacity as either a player, writer, or executive. My first WSOP was in 1985.
For the past 15 years, I’ve worked under the official title of “Media Director,” which has in recent years become something of a nom de plume. Let’s face it. The media can’t be directed. The last thing I have is any control over the media. It’s like herding cats.
I think most of us would agree this is a transitional time for poker, as well as for the WSOP. Then again, the game is always in a state of transition. Everything’s changing constantly. No two years, nor two series, nor two tournaments are ever comparable.
Mike Sexton has arguably done more for poker than anyone else in the game.
The longtime high-stakes cash game player and tournament champion, tireless promoter, writer, industry consultant, and popular television personality who’s probably best known to millions as the beaming host and commentator for the World Poker Tour hasn’t merely witnessed poker’s long and colorful history during all the times of boom and bust. He’s also been one of the integral piston rods driving the poker engine. Unlike many others who have chronicled the game’s most memorable moments from afar, merely as post-game observers, Sexton has actually sat in the most memorable games, played with all the legends, and been privy to secrets and many of the most intimate conversations which took place at many of the game’s most crucial junctions.
Joe Giron might be the hardest-working man in poker that few people ever see. That’s because he’s always “behind the camera” — literally.
He’s been covering poker’s biggest events for more than a decade, spending night and day staking out the tables to find the perfect shot to capture that glorious moment of ecstasy or the agony of crushing disappointment. Getting that perfect image within the frame of the lens might take minutes or hours to set up. Like a hunter seeking its prey. Giron waits. He waits as long as it takes. Then, he pounces and snaps an image for posterity at just the right instant.
Last night, I attended a local beer tasting here in Las Vegas.
I’m not really much of a beer guy. Oh yeah, I went through that childish phase some time ago. Okay, the childish phase lasted two decades. Maybe three. I admit it — I used to love my beer. I still do. But, the truth is, I can’t slam down cold pints of golden brew like I used to, because it makes me fat as all fuck.
Screw you people for confronting me with the truth.
I have a lopsided love-hate relationship with beer. I love it. I love it. I love it. But, it hates me. Beer makes me bloat like a puff fish. After I drink 3 or 4 or 12 beers, I feel like a beached whale. I’m Tony Montana all powdered up like a coke fiend drunk on his own supply. Let me tell you something. It’s embarrassing as shit when you have to poke a screwdriver into your leather belt to punch one more notch so your pants will stay up instead of drooping down to your ankles. The beer-drinking fatties will likely get that reference. We all done that, haven’t we? The rest of you — please carry on.
Daniel Negreanu played in a big poker tournament last week, which was on the Eureka Poker Tour.
Such a occurrence normally wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. This is especially true for Daniel — who travels all over the world playing poker and speaking out as the game’s premier ambassador. The news from Europe probably wouldn’t have caught my attention at all, except for one rather significant fact.
The poker tournament was held in Bucharest, Romania — a fascinating city where Daniel and I share some common bonds and a very different set of roots. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that, in contrasting ways, Romania was and shall always be an impressionable part of our lives. To some degree, that faraway place in Eastern Europe made us into what we are today.
Sports betting is one of two things. It’s either fool’s gold or the holy grail. In reality, it’s likely both, depending on how you’re running at the moment.
Anyone with that ill-advised delusion of trying to beat the oddsmaker will at some point certain as the night is long find sports gambling to be a most humbling, even a humiliating experience. It doesn’t care about our feelings. At least in this regard, the beats we’re dealt are indiscriminate. It’s nothing personal. Indeed, I’ve been humbled. I’ve been humiliated. And yes, I’ve even gone broke a few times — once right here on these confessional pages in front of your very eyes.
I’m not what you’d call a baseball fan. Hell, I don’t even like baseball.
However, I do bet on baseball games. I bet on lots of baseball games.
Having no rooting interest in any of the major league teams — nor any desire to watch games, either in person or on television — this somehow keeps me on a much more even keel emotionally than watching pro football, which for me is a severe mental and emotional strain. Yes, I’ll admit to having serious difficulty dealing with adversity when betting on football. That’s because so much of the final outcome depends on motivation and is influenced by mistakes…a fumble here, an interception there. By comparison, I have much less of a “tilt factor” when betting on baseball games, because fundamentally it’s a sport predicated on two things — (1) statistics and (2) percentages. Remaining dispassionate about baseball comes easy because I don’t give a shit about any of the teams, except that I usually cheer against any team from New York, Boston, or Los Angeles. I simply make my wagers, then check the final scores at the end of the night. If only the rest of life were that simple.
That said, this week has been an emotional and financial roller coaster. For the first time, I’ve decided to chronicle my wins and losses over several days. Hopefully, those of you who bet on sports will enjoy the ride.