(Photo: At the 2002 World Series of Poker….with no grey hair yet)
Here’s another sampling of my private collection of poker photography.
All of my snapshots were taken between the years 1997 and 2003. They were locked inside a file cabinet for more than a decade. Now I think is a good time to share these images with those of you who enjoy looking back on the game’s history. With the 2014 world championship November Nine as well as the Poker Hall of Fame announcement and induction ceremony coming soon, let’s now take a look back on some of poker’s best.
Yesterday, Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns and operates The Venetian Luxury Hotel Resort Casino in Las Vegas, appeared as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Global Gaming Expo, which is the world’s largest casino industry annual convention.
To put it kindly, Mr. Adelson’s 50-minute talk received what I would classify as a lukewarm response. Unlike the Sands Expo Center’s main ballroom which was filled to full standing-room only capacity the day before, when fellow casino mogul Steve Wynn spoke to a similar gathering, the allure of Mr. Adelson’s appearance filled only about two-thirds of the seats in the room, despite ideal placement as the prime time speaker on the show’s biggest afternoon (Wednesday). Some attendees boycotting? Mass disinterest? Perhaps those who didn’t bother to show up to see the man who rules his mighty kingdom in the flesh already realized what most of the rest of us didn’t — that Mr. Adelson is a selfish, rambling bore. Despite this, one might have expected this far-more controversial public figure and political lightning rod to draw a significantly bigger crowd, but that didn’t happen (see photo evidence at conclusion of this article).
Day One at the 2014 Global Gaming Expo — otherwise known by the trifecta of letters “G2E” — included the following activities: 145 handshakes, 12 hugs, two kisses, 35 conversations, two meetings, one lunch, one dinner, 4 glasses of draft beer, 1.5 bottles of wine, 3 seminars, one question to a panel, and a brief argument with someone who works for the American Gaming Association. Plus I got to hang out with Lisa Tenner and learn about a new gambling television network. Other than that, nothing at all happened.
All this week, my mission is to see people and be seen. Not that I care much about either. We writers are oblivious to public persona. It’s trifle. Meaningless. Illusory. I’d much rather spend an hour crafting word to page than struggling to fit in at some social gathering everyone will soon forget about 15 minutes after it’s done. Cynical? Perhaps. Truthful? Absolutely. That’s what all trade shows are basically — a annualized ritual of Vanity Fair in the flesh, a giant cocktail party decorated with convention booths and girls in hot pants.
I arrived promptly at 9 am this morning at the Sands Expo Center, a progressive’s version of North Korea, otherwise known as enemy territory behind the Iron Curtain, given the evil presiding landlord who collects from his fiefdom. By 2;30 this afternoon, I found myself in the worst possible trade show dilemma since I’d burned through an entire stack of business cards. Which makes me now wonder — what exactly should I do with another 62 business cards that were handed to me today? I guess I’ll just toss them into the drawer atop the 282 cards I picked up at this year’s World Series of Poker, sitting atop the 312 from the year before, and the 309 the year before that. Surely, something will come up which renders these business cards useful. Perhaps, kindling for a fire.
By the way — if someone out there is reading this who handed me their business card today, be advised — I’m keeping yours. I’m talking about the slugs who I’ll never see again. No, not you. You’re special.
(Photo: Announcing final table action at the 2002 World Series of Poker)
It’s a privilege to be one of the 42 voting members for the Poker Hall of Fame.
This year’s class of ten nominees makes for one of the toughest ballots choices in history. The decision of voters is difficult, since virtually all those selected by the general public and the nominating committee are worthy of serious consideration. Looking at these names, I do believe that a majority of the nominees on this year’s list will eventually be inducted into poker’s most prestigious fraternity. For most of the people on this list, it’s just a matter of time.
One of the perks of working in poker for so long is being acquainted with many of the top players in the game, including quite a few poker legends. Over the years, I’ve managed to take a great many photographs. This was before camera phones existed, when you had to buy rolls of film and ten carefully choose the best shots. Most of these photos have never been published before, in part because I’m a lousy photographer.
That said, in the coming months ahead, I’ll post a collection of photos that I’ve snapped over the years, taken between 1993 and the present. I’ve probably accumulated 500 or so interesting photos, which is a decent collection, but nothing on par with past WSOP photographers including Eric Harkins, Larry Grossman, or Ulvis Alberts. They have thousands, if not tens of thousands of images.
Today, I’m including a mix of poker players connected in some way to the Poker Hall of Fame discussion, along with my memories of what was going on when the photo was taken.