#WSOP #poker #writing

It’s disheartening to watch Democrats cower in the corner again. Democrats can’t flex their political muscles even when in power. They let GOP get away with the most atrocious behavior, while attacking their own for some minor offenses. It’s just too depressing. I don’t understand the logic behind this cautious posture. You’re not going to get any brownie points for good behavior from GOP or the public. Is American left innately incapable of playing hardball?

I write and play poker just to distract myself from this clusterfuck. Both of these activities don’t work at the same time. If I cash in tournaments, I have a total writing blockade. And vice versa: when I’m in the middle of a writing breakthrough, I can’t cash in a tournament. I’m now in the middle of finishing up a short story that’s been progressing very smoothly. As a result I couldn’t cash in any WSOP tourneys I played in last week. I can, of course, blame it on being card dead the entire time. I missed all my draws and flips.

Like politics, poker is a cruel, unjust game. Just because you run badly for days, doesn’t mean that the next day you’re guaranteed a deck finally hitting you.

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WSOP tournaments take place in three hangar-sized conference halls at the Rio casino. There are hundreds of tables and thousands of players at one time in the same room. As the tournament progresses and the field winnows out, around 9-10 hours in, a certain late game lull sets in. The buzz and chatter is gone, the tiredness is palpable, and everyone is counting minutes to bagging (that is bagging chips for the next day). The room, still holding hundreds of players is quiet, only interjected with the sound of shuffling chips. Amid the calm, there’s some big action at one table, manifested by several players standing up from their seats. They look, intensely, at the community cards, still to come, which will decide the players’ fate.

“I hate this game!” Finally one of the players exclaims, as the cruel deck announced his fate. His cry and frustration echoed around the hall and found immediate heartfelt solidarity with every single player in the room. The whole floor broke into applause and laughter, for they, too, hated this game many times. They, too, have been ahead, only to be busted by a one or two-outer.

That guy will be back and everybody knows it. That’s why everybody laughed.

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