Monday, June 26, 2006

WSOP time...come on down

Yesterday I watched a world cup match between Portugal and the Netherlands, then I walked over to my neighbor’s house to watch his paint dry.

But back in the real world, I’m starting to get more than a little excited about Vegas. The World Series of Poker is starting as we speak. I’ve decided against driving cross country and booked my flight for July 6. The blogger get together is that weekend. I play the $1,500 on July 18 and the next week some friends are flying into town and we’re driving to L.A. for a week and hopefully a spot on The Price is Right. (More on that in a minute.)

When I return it will be time to gear up for the main event. I haven’t received confirmation of my registration so I don’t yet know which day I will play. I asked for day two since I figured more weekend warriors will be in the field in an effort to cut taking many vacation days.

For now, I look at it as a lottery ticket, albeit a $10,000 one. Playing poker may not be quite so simple as pulling six ping pong balls out of a hopper, but to make it through a two-week field of 8,000 or so takes a lot of luck, skill often be damned. I have no unrealistic expectations of how I will fare. I would be plenty happy to make the dough and to make it any deeper would be a dream. All I can do is give it my best. It was always my goal to play the main event in 2006 so any success is icing on the cake, though a nice win would be a great financial help. I tell friends that $150,000 dropped in my lap post taxes would be all I need…pay my house off, send my parents back to Italy and buy me a new car.

To explain that second part – my dad was drafted back in the Vietnam days of the mid 1960s and was training at Fort Benning, Ga., when a particularly harsh drill instructor marched his boys a bit too hard and my dad was among the casualties with a broken foot. It was quite to his benefit as instead of preparing for a trip to the hells in southeast Asia, he was instead sent to a NATO base in Naples, Italy. He lived there for two years in an apartment and my mother lived with him for a year. I can only imagine being newly married and in love in a place like that. They’ve never been back, and I’ve secretly wanted to win enough money playing poker to send them there. So far, I haven’t come close. Did I really win $9,500 last August? It seems like a dream it was so long ago.

Anyway, back to the L.A. trip. Five summers ago, my friends Brian, his wife Heather and Mahn booked our first trip to Las Vegas and we planned to drive to L.A. for a day to try to get on TPIR. It’s been Brian’s favorite game show since he was a kid and it was always his dream to become a contestant. But back in the stone age of 2001, TPIR didn’t offer the e-ticketing it does today so we had to write for our tickets. Forty-five days after writing and the day of the flight having arrived, we still had not received our tickets so the side trip was scrapped.

The tickets came in the mail the next day.

This time was can print our tickets so that won’t be an issue. I’m hoping to audition for Jeopardy! while we’re out there as well and take the daunting quiz they give you.
My former boss sent me this interesting NYTimes article about potential TPIR contestants you might enjoy:

I always thought an interesting follow up book if I ever get this first one published would be to write about TV game show contestants and their efforts for big money, big prizes...

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