Musings on Poker and Other Stuff
I remember when I did one of my first tournaments on my own and Kristy Arnett saw the blooper reel, she asked me, "why can't you let a little more of that show through in your interviews?" We talked about it briefly and she said she couldn't figure out why I was so sarcastic and fun in real life, but as soon as the camera came on I got all tense and acted like the nice, dumb girl. I was like a deer in headlights when the camera lights turned on. My personality turned off. People said these all these mean things about me. And then as soon as the blooper reel would come out people would be like, "that chick is hilarious."
But I was still having a hard time figuring out how to put that bit of me into what I considered 'serious' interviews. But slowly and surely as I gaged the reactions from players I realized it actually made them feel more comfortable when I was being myself too! I relaxed and add libbed a bit more. Listened a bit more instead of trying to remember my planned questions and ended up with some silly interviews.
Instead of trying to plan I let things evolve more naturally. And it just makes things more fun. I realized when you are having fun, so is the interviewee and so is the viewer. And so, in honor of that, here is us at our best from this years WSOP. My favorite moments, the authentic ones where we get to be us! And the players get to react.
Hope you enjoy. I'm enjoying two days at a winery in California with the slowest internet ever! Hope it actually goes up.
Horses scare easily. So man invented blinders to keep them from seeing things in their peripheral vision which might unnecessarily spook them. It is a very basic analogy, but we all have this. We all have the things which keep our focus in front of us or else we might go crazy with all the amazing things this world has to offer. The coolest thing is when something new comes into your field of vision and it joins the sight you have created.
Four years ago I didn't know anything about poker. Obviously I still have tons to learn, but with each passing year my understanding of the games and its players grows exponentially. The first year I feverishly studied the blog to get an understanding of all the players I would need to know to cultivate my interviewing skills. There is no amount of studying however that can surpass the knowledge that comes with time.
Now during the Main Event some non-professional poker players who often have other skills find their way into this little poker world. Of course with their mass appeal it is important to cover them as well. This year I heard there was a hockey player in the main. So, I read his Wikipedia and headed off to his table. Minus the fact that this hilarious guy with a goblet walked right thru our shot, I thought it went okay for an interviewer who maybe has 10 mins of prep time.
Someone mentioned to me yesterday that there was some article with the video in it on a Yahoo site. Honestly, at this point in my job, I've gotten pretty used the the whole internet troll thing. I never read the comments. Everyone has an opinion. But since everyone was talking about it I figured I better read it. The big complaint is that I don't know who he is. To which I reply, "okay sports writer, do you know who Chris Moorman is?" Am I supposed to know everything about everything. I mean come on! My job is to report on poker, not hockey.
It is interesting because I think in some ways I am guilty of this also. The poker world is so isolated and I don't even realize it. I will be talking to people and mention Vanessa Selbst or Jason Mercier and they will just have a blank stare. It is so hard to see the world outside of your own tinted vision.
The amazing thing is that your own vision is constantly evolving. When I was living with no electricity in Thailand my family thought I must be on drugs, because when you come to rely on all your amenities, you think you can't exist without them. But, humans have such an amazing ability to adapt. Given two weeks I think almost anyone could adjust to almost anything. It is part of how we are built.
The difficult thing is to learn empathy. The essential thing is to at least try to look at the world through the eyes of someone else. Everyone can not know everything about everything, but we can at least try know each other.
Furthermore I can say from my own life the more judgement you put out there, the more you get. Every time I gossip about someone or say something shitty about someone, I end up spending more time wishing I didn't and regretting it than I did in the actual moment. Conversely, when I chose to extend forgiveness and kindness to people I am apt to dislike, it is actually ME who ends up feeling good. It is a decision we each make moment by moment. I probably deserve tons of ridicule for plenty of poison I've spewed in my own life. But, because it is a decision every moment, I am making the choice to pull my blinders off and see the world in its complete awesomeness. And of course try to be patient with everyone else so I might actually learn something from them!
As anyone who knows me knows, I am a downtown rat. I don't like to play poker very often if I can't walk home when I'm done. This gives me the opportunity to drink if I want, blow off some steam on the way home, not have to wait for my poker playing buddies, etc. I'm also pretty rigid about work things. If I am responsible for working than I will never feel comfortable playing. And thus, over the last few years, I had avoided the Ladies Event and been the dutiful worker bee. However, this year the ladies fell on my off day and after a big debate about the merits of $1,000 I decided to go for it. I didn't sell any action, I just went full steam ahead.
I prepared for my very important day by utilizing my Casa Don Juan groupon.
I arrived for Day 1 just in time and found my table draw pretty nice. I had a hyper-agro girl, two extremely passive gals, couple of cash game players, a luck box, and finally came Team Bodog Jay Tan. Now I love this girl. We had our wake boarding virginity together.
Anyways you don't start with very many chips. You can pretty much play only a few pots early in the game. I hit a crucial double up when I flopped a set against Jay's top pair. She turned two pair so she woulda got it in there anyways probably. The day went pretty good until I called an all in with KK and obv A8 spiked an A and I was down to around 8 BB. But I hit my flips and took down the blinds a few times. And I made Day 2, 29th in chips.
I had a blast! I even had a rail that got in trouble 4 times. I was like OH GEEZ, If I final table this thing it is gonna go CRAY! I was super amped up after bag and tag around 3am and by 4:30am I still hadn't managed to fall asleep. #amateur mistake for sure. So I took a sleeping pill around 5:30am. I don't think that was the right choice for sure. I felt groggy and not great starting Day 2 and I basically donated my stack with 10 4 off to a woman who final tabled the thing.
But, I did manage to get a poker photo.
Yes, one small victory at a time. And I did cash my first WSOP event. It was an awesome experience and even though I was so mad at myself for the subsequent three days, I think I got a bit more confident. I shipped the Golden Nugget tourney I played right after that because it seemed like small ball compared. Even though I made more at the Nugget than cashing the Ladies!
And after that win. It ended where it started...I gave a shot of Tequila just one more try. Yep, it's still gross.