The Miscellaneous Rantings of Marie-Lizette
It was set to start at 2:00 p.m. on August 9th, 2011, but it wasn't the inaugural Epic Poker League event. No, it was the Bicycle Casino's 2011 ]Legends of Poker Mega Million Dollar Event Final Table. (Wow...say THAT five times fast!)
The Big Game - Last Hand Since the first Live at the Bike tournament final table was webcast back in March of this year for the fake-NAPT "Big Event" main event, The Bike has webcast several of it's key event final tables. However, although I covered the fake-NAPT final table, I was a member of a reporting team. Matt Snoddgrass did all of the hand recordation and was in charge of the final table report and I was the social media consultant and photographer. Back then, we used the overhead camera to show the cards on the television behind the dealer for the audience to follow along, so there was no need for an announcer. Moreover, PokerNews.com had a full team of reporters do to live up-dates and interviews. The entire final table was carefully documented and would be available on the web for years to come.
This time was different. For the Mega Million Dollar final table, I arrived at The Bike around 1:00 p.m. to start setting up. There's always red-tape that needs to be addressed when doing a live broadcast, so I had to make sure all the paperwork was in order before the Live at the Bike webcast began. We had our full liveatthebike.com camera crew and, as required by the gaming commission, a Bicycle Casino Floorman was on the stage, but I was the only "reporter" on scene. Also, due to some feng shui designer's advice, the television behind the dealer needed to be left off for whatever reason. Accordingly, it fell upon me to document each and every hand, call out the action to the casino audience (and the commentators in the booth), take pictures, update the Twitter and Facebook networks (on a 1 hour delay), conduct player interviews and publish the final table report summary. No biggy, right? Well, it shouldn't have been, it was just one table - buuuuut, I had never, ever, ever done tournament reporting before. Oooops.
Taking pictures, well that was the easy part (kinda). My camera is out-of-commission at the moment so I had to use a small quickshot camera for the majority of the photos. It takes a while to get comfortable with a camera and learn all its little nuances, so needless to say I have very little to add to my catalog from the final table. It took about an orbit before I found a tablet to write on and develop a system for annotating the action, of course by then we had already lost a player. Yeah, I know, it was live-streamed so the video will be available on liveatthebike.com, why take notes? Because if there is a glitch in the system, we will have to take the larger files off the server and a 10+ hour video is a very large file. It is such a large file and take up so much data, that we had to reset all the servers mid-way through taping; so needless to say, it would have been fool-hearty and unprofessional to solely depend on being able to go to the tape for the report summary later on.
Then there was the whole interview issue. Up until the Mega Million Dollar final table, I had only done one pre-recorded interview in my life and it kinda got away from me. I've been tasked to have done several interviews by now, but find myself backing out at every opportunity I get. But, the Legends of Poker is the Bicycle Casino's signature tournament series, and when nobody else did - - The Bike believed in me. With Black-Friday having shut down much of the internet gaming in the U.S., all of the brick and mortar casinos are competing for internet players. SEO is king in this industry and one of the best ways to go viral is with video. They want player interviews to promote on their website and YouTube networks, so I finally jumped in, feet first, and did my inaugural live interview with Greg Sessler. I think given that I've casually known Greg for a while, it was a bit easier for me - but I was soooo nervous and I flubbed so much. I was able to do a total of four interviews (at 3:11, 5:19, 7:38 and 7:47) that day and got a little more comfortable with each subsequent interview, but I have a long way to go before I can add "Interviewer" to my resume.
By the end of the 10+ hour event, I was exhausted; completely spend in every way. I learned a lot though, knowledge that can never be taken away from me. I am actually looking forward to doing the next final table. I will be doing each of the Live at the Bike final tables for the Legends of Poker series, although I'm hoping to get a microphone so I don't have to project my voice across the Plaza Floor. Who knows, maybe someday I'll be promoted from young grasshopper to panda master. What?!?!? It could happen...