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.
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.
I can’t say where and when exactly my infatuation with games of skill and chance first began, but it probably happened inside the crib. That wasn’t a baby rattler I was shaking. It was a pair of dice.
This baby needs a new pair of shoes. Seven out. Line away.
From my earliest childhood memories, I just sort of always knew the standard rules on how to play poker. I can’t even recall who it was exactly that taught me this hand beats that hand. Seven-Card Stud, High and Low Chicago, Mexican Sweat, and of course, Five-Card Draw weren’t just friendly card games played for nickels and dimes. To me, they were genetic markers, part of my DNA.
I didn’t plan on taking two weeks off from my writing.
But I did.
The mechanics of writing a daily column come easy. Natural even.
Conveying genuine enthusiasm for subject matter is what has become far, far, far more challenging.
Mustering up motivation, particularly when faced with the creeping reality of long-form narrative’s indisputable decline has become a mental gauntlet. Market realities are an inhibitor of the creative process. Ask any writer worth a damn. Why toil over a keyboard when 250 viewers might click the content, on a good day?
Meeting Alex Singer for the first time gives me plenty of good reasons to be optimistic about the future.
The 29-year-old native of Portland, OR and now a proud resident of Las Vegas is running for a seat in the U.S. Congress, in Nevada’s highly-contested 3rd district. He’s one of six candidates in the already-crowded Democratic field. Republicans are fielding a similar number of candidates, making this into one of the most unpredictable races in the state.
I’ve been friends with Alex on social media ever since he announced his candidacy last year. I’d also seen him speak briefly at a political rally here in Las Vegas. However, until yesterday, we had never met face to face.