Jennifer Shahade, a two-time United States Women’s Chess Champion, and now the winner of BARGE XXV
This past week, I attended BARGE 2015, held in Las Vegas.
B.A.R.G.E. is actually an acronym meaning “Big August Recreational Gambling Excursion,” a name sounding a bit pompous and pretty like a weekend gambling junket, which I’m told is precisely what it once was when it first began 25 years ago. This eclectic group comprised of both men and women skews somewhat older now than when it was initially made up of lots of Silicon Valley types in their late 20’s. Today, BARGE includes loyal attendees ranging from 21 up well into their 70’s. It’s an astounding makeup of highly-interesting and supremely talented people from all over North America, who also know how to have fun both at the poker table, and just about anywhere else for that matter. BARGE attendees never ask where the party or the action is taking place. They are the party and provide the action, wherever they go. Make that — wherever we go.
In today’s column, I’d like to tell you a bit more about BARGE, including some of the unique history of this group as well as my personal experience from this past week. Unfortunately, lack of time and space makes this a writing exercise in futility since I’m hardly scratching the surface. Indeed, what follows is merely one card from a far more extensive full deck loaded with memories and stories.
Writer’s Note: Following PART 1 and PART 2, here’s the story of my favorite dinner of the 2015 World Series of Poker, in other words — my top choice out of 51 such engagements. There’s also a brief interlude of thanks to some friends who presented me with various gift bottles of wine and assorted liquors, which sufficiently swayed me enough to write positive things about them here.
Is there anything Trent Lott won’t do for a fast buck?
The former U.S. Senator and ex-Majority Leader from Mississippi announced last week he’s joining forces with anti-online poker zealot Sheldon Adelson as a paid shill and sock puppet for the loathsome billionaire bully who appears willing to go to any lengths to keep this floundering non-issue with the general public alive in the tainted legislative corridors of Washington, where throwing enough money around can buy just about anything. Adelson, so utterly desperate to enlist allies on Capitol Hill to do his bidding, previously hired other burned-out flunkies to magpie his easy-to shred talking points in support of a federal legislation to outlaw all forms of online gambling/poker. The glassy-eyed gauntlet includes former Sen. Blanche Lincoln, former Mayor Willie Brown, and even ex-Gov. George Pataki. And now, Trent Lott.
Seems like the only time most of us think about poker dealers is when one makes a mistake.
Think about it.
In my twenty-plus years in this business, I can’t remember too many players coming up and saying, “you know, the dealers in this tournament were wonderful.” But if there’s a mistake or a misdeal, the controversy can generate a 50-page thread on 2+2.
Millions of hands are dealt out at the World Series of Poker every year. When you add up not just what happens in the gold bracelet events, but all the satellites, sit-n-go’s, and cash games running 24-hours-a-day across 400 poker tables, that’s almost an incalculable number of cards pitched and pots pushed.