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.”
Writer’s Note: With about half of the gold bracelet events on the 2015 World Series of Poker now completed, here’s a look at the record pace being set by this year’s spectacle, taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas, through July 15th. Note the increase not just in tournaments and prize money, but secondary events such as Daily Deep Stacks. Each and every year, the WSOP always seems to include controversy and some well-deserved criticism. That said, I think these numbers bode well for the future of the series and the state of poker overall. This press release was released by Seth Palansky of the WSOP and Caesars Interactive Entertainment.
2015 WORLD SERIES OF POKER REACHES HALFWAY MARK ON RECORD PACE
34 of 68 Events Complete, Entries up 48%, Average Entries per Event up 38%
Still Plenty of Poker Left with Exciting and New Events on Tap through July 14, 2015
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.
I hate small talk.
I fucking loath it.
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.
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