2007 World Series: Doing it for real

My wife long ago made me give up the "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" view of life. For a guy who spends his life bouncing from one gambling town to another, loving the one I'm with could be dangerous on a marriage. I even gave up on fantasizing about stuff. Too tiresome.

However, there are a lot of people out there who are in search of some way to toy around in the fantasy world without getting in too much trouble. No place here is that more clear than the carnal convention down the hall. It is Fantasy Central Station and I--a good little boy--have avoided it like a half-naked plague.

Alas, I had a package waiting for me in the Rio's business center and rushed to pick it up during the first break today. To get there, I was forced to elbow my way through the Gaming Lifestyle Expo happening here in the convention center. As I rushed passed the erotic dancers and come-hither beckoning of some hostess hawking a strip poker game, I caught sight of a 60-ish man playing a new Xbox 360.

Guess the strippers don't do it for him anymore, I thought, but, hey, fantasy is fantasy. Then I took a look at the game he was playing. It was some new World Series poker game. As it happened, this man had chosen to sit down at a final table with none other than Joe Hachem and Greg Raymer.

Virtual championship poker

I'm not even sure of the guy knew he could be doing the same thing--for real--300 yards down the hall. Sitting under the TV lights of the ESPN featured table sat 2005 World Series champion Joe Hachem (Raymer plays tomorrow). This is the second year in a row ESPN has chosen Hachem's starting table to feature on TV. No real question why. Hachem makes for good TV. He's a good looking guy, a great player, and generally a fun player to play with.

Real championship poker with Joe Hachem
Credit: Image Masters

These kinds of fantasies don't come cheap, for sure. The buy-in here is a down payment on a car. However, for the chance to face off against the best--not a virtual reality version of them--ten grand almost seems worth it. And in comparison to the experience of playing a virtual reality of playing against some Hachem AI, I'll take the real thing every day. Still, the game looked pretty cool. Not as cool as being a PokerStars qualifier and playing against a world champion, but still cool.

A PokerStars qualifier laughs with The Prince of Poker
Credit: Neil Stoddart

I watched the video game guy play for a few minutes. Hachem ended up stacking him and sending him to the virtual rail. The poor old guy's wife laughed at him.

Yeah, I'll take the real thing every day.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in