Day 2 – I … See … Famous People

Still no air conditioning here and my place and I’m still feeling like death warmed over (pun intended). But, I was back in the office today, so I suppose I can finish off a post here before I collapse.

After not getting to bed until about 10am, I knew I wasn’t going to make the start of the 2nd World Series of Poker event like I planned. I decided I’d sleep as long as a needed and I’d catch up to people after that. For better or worse, my body decided that three and a half hours was plenty of sleep, at least in Vegas, and I woke up with a mild hangover that actually got fairly painful before I got some food into me.

As for the food, my buddy and I went back to the MGM to eat at the Grand Wok. My friend is vegetarian, so he thought we’d be safe at an Asian restaurant and while they didn’t have many options, he was able to get some decent food. A nice big bowl of pho was a good cure for my hangover and I was soon ready to hit the strip. To reduce cabfare I decided we’d walk up to Flamingo St. and then hop the cab out to the Rio. It took a lot longer than I expected, but I did manage to wander around New York, New York and the Bellagio for a while. The Bellagio poker room was hopping and we spent a bit of time watching the 30/60 games. I could actually pick out a few tells on the players at the table, but I don’t really think I’d be calm enougha t those stakes to take advantage.

But looking in at the big games at the Bellagio just whet my appetite for the bigger games happening at the Rio. We found a cab and headed on out to the Rio.

The first thing that strikes you about the event …oh wait…where is the event? Oh, there’s a sign. Let’s head that way. Hmmm…there’s another sign. There’s a sign every 20 feet on the ten minute trek to get to the room where they are hosting the event. But once you get there, it is a marvel to behold. Two hundred plus tables are packed into a cavernous convention room and every where you look is green felt. And everywhere you look is a famous poker player. I’d recommend taking a look at the excellent photo gallery at to get an idea of what it is like.

Two tables from the entrance was Greg Raymer, sitting at a table and chatting on his cellphone. I explained to my friend that this was the world champion and he went over to sweat him for a little bit. I continued my journey through the wonderland of poker to see who else I could spot. There’s Matusow, looks like he’s in pre-meltdown mode. Oh, that looks like Scott Fischman, he’s smaller than he looks on TV. And David Williams, yeah, he’s still in it too.

Of course, it was almost 6pm so many players had long busted out, and I was a bit disappointed to hear that I’d missed Negreanu, who is a bit of a hometown hero for me. But, Toronto was still represented, as I spotted – ok, maybe oogled – Evelyn Ng seated at a tournament table. She probably had one of the larger crowds around her table and I felt bad with all the picture taking she had to endure. I’m sure few of the pro players had it much better. But she wasn’t paying them much mind, actually pulling a magazine and reading at the table – while listening to her iPod, no less. Of course, she never lost focus on the game and used her big stack to accumulate more chips. I was a bit astounded when she started applying her makeup at the table, shortly before the dinner break. I guess she knew she would be mobbed when the tables broke and she wanted to look her best.

After sweating Evelyn for a little bit, I finished my lap of the room, spotting Howard Lederer and Dave “Devilfish” Ulliot in the process. I watched for a while as the ESPN crew set up the final table for the next day’s play. But, I was still trying to find the bloggers. I was hoping that at least one of them was still in this thing.

And there was, but only one. I eventually ran into Pablo and he showed me where Otis was sitting. I met a few other bloggers and chatted for a bit, but Otis was the real show, even though he was short stacked and folding most hands. I saw he win a couple hands, but it wasn’t too long before his table was broken up and he was moved elsewhere. The blogger gallery followed – after a short detour to see Phil Hellmuth – and we got to watch Otis struggle against the rising blinds.

The Rio was also running a significant number of side games as well (and began announcing a mega-satellite for the main event) and some of the bloggers decide to go see if we could watch one of the no limit tables. The Rio was organized enough to have all the games listed on a giant screen, so it wasn’t too hard to find. But after watching thousands of dollars change owners all in the space of a few hands, we decided that watching Otis might actually be a bit less stressful.

On the way back we passed James Woods chatting a mile a minute on his cellphone. A few people stopped to talk poker with him and it was great to see just how enthusiastic he is about the game. I’d apparently missed Tobey Maguire earlier and he was not nearly as outgoing. Woods wasn’t the only famous grey-haired railbird I saw either, as TJ Cloutier passed by Otis’ table a little bit earlier

Unfortunately, all the blogger support wouldn’t save Otis. He ended up all-in with AK vs. TT and got no help flop, turn or river. Still, from all that I saw, Otis played a great tournament and can hold his head up high after lasting longer than 80% of the field.

But that was enough spectating for us. The collected bloggers decided it was time to head to the Excalibur a little early to try to find us a poker game.

Next: dinner with a midget, spinning the wheel, mmm…donuts

O, Canada
Canada has no dollar bill but instead has one dollar and two dollar coins in regular circulation, called the loonie and the toonie respective – there is an image of a loon on the dollar coin and we weren’t all that creative when the two dollar coin was introduced. On my first night playing at The Plaza, I was confused to see a Canadian dollar at the table. Apparently one of the bloggers met a couple of Canadians in a game in Atlantic City that were having a great old time and he ended up buying a loonie from them to use as a chip protector. At the time I was extremely confused as I tried to figure out how I dropped a dollar on the table after being relatively certain I’d left all my Canadian money in my bags.

The Las Vegas series:
Day 1 – A Grand Ol’ Time (part 1)
Day 1 – A Grand Ol’ Time (part 2)
Day 1 – Sunrise at The Plaza
Day 2 – I … See … Famous People
Day 2 – Storming the Castle
Day 3 – The Main Event
Day 3 – A Bucket of Nickels and the Shrimp Sundae
Day 3 – Nugget Poker
Day 4 – Finally, A Win!
Day 4 – Komol O
Day 4 – A Night in ‘The Suite’
Day 5 – Goodbye Las Vegas

2 Responses to “Day 2 – I … See … Famous People”

  1. TenMile says:

    Enjoy your posts.

    Enjoy the O Canada spots.

  2. tp says:

    Thank you. It’s ending up taking me a while to put these together, so I appreciate the encouragement.