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New York, Concrete Jungle where WSOP Dreams are made...

1 comment ● 2010-06-20

Rounders (1998) - “First prize at the World Series of Poker is a million bucks. Does it have my name on it? I don't know. But, I'm gonna find out…” I could hear that in my head, Mike McDermott’s thoughts at the end of Rounders as he leaves New York for Las Vegas and the WSOP.

“JFK please” I said getting into the cab on 34th Street.

“You got it pal… So where ya headed?” the driver asked.

“Vegas” I replied.

“Vegas, huh? Good luck man.”

“Thanks” I replied as the cab drove towards the Queens Midtown Tunnel to leave New York.

Like most Aussies, I had played poker all my life and this was just the next turn along my poker road. I didn’t have 3 stacks of high society like Mike McDermott did, but I still felt what Matt Damon’s character must have been feeling, the feeling we’ve all had, the excitement, the anticipation, the dream we never want to wake up from. That’s what the WSOP does to all of us poker players, it makes us dream big.

It seemed strange that I had those thoughts, as this particular Vegas trip was not about playing the WSOP. I was heading to Vegas to party with my fiancée and 5 girlfriends, I was only planning on conducting a bit of WSOP reconnaissance at the Rio. Instead of playing the WSOP, for 6 days straight I was clubbing and partying hard in Vegas (which anyone that visits Vegas knows, is WAY too long to party that hard).

I visited the Amazon Room just once, but 2006 was the peak of the global economic boom and nowhere was the excess more apparent than the WSOP. This was Jamie Gold’s year and the Main Event (Event #39) had built the largest prize pool in tournament poker history, a cool US$82,512,162.00. First prize was US$12,000,000 for just 1 of the 8,773 players. Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem made us all believe that could be us.

As the cab pulled up at the Rio, I felt like I was entering that alternate poker universe on ESPN that is the WSOP. Once I entered the Amazon Room, I would be, as you will be too, forever changed. This is where all our poker roads ultimately lead…

When you first set foot in the Amazon Room and gaze across the sea of poker tables and players (something like 2900 for a Main Event Day 1), your mind races, your heart skips a beat and straight away you start dreaming of making a Final Table and taking down a Bracelet.

With that WSOP dream in my head and rolling like a Mac Daddy with my girls 6 deep round the nightclubs of Vegas, that trip changed me FOREVER. Most importantly, I’m thankful to my Wife and Girlfriends for making it the trip of a lifetime. Paris Hilton at Pure, the Foundation Room, “Bad Things” at Ghost Bar, David Copperfield at the MGM, Spearmint Rhino’s, Thunder from Down.… err, anyway, that part of the trip is another story.

Since that trip, my poker road may lead me all over, but in June it always leads back to Vegas.

Peace out and see you at the WSOP fellow poker degens.

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