The hardest part of the job
As I write this, the EPT Malta event is winding down. Niall Farrell has just won the main event (and about €530k), the confetti gun has covered him, runner-up Alen Bilic (€440k), and a handful of others with metallic chaff, and the camera crew are packing up and tearing down.
The EPT roadies are getting ready to load it all into the "lorries" (as they call them) and move the whole circus to Prague in a few weeks.
The bloggers and media folks are furiously getting their last reports out, and the tournament staff and dealers are still seeing to the needs of the last couple of side events.
EPT staffers in the "office" are keeping the logistical details humming, even as the IT people begin to pull up cables, and talk about how they're going to do it all over again in the Czech Republic.
Weirdly, in the webcast suite, it's still Daylight Savings Time. Because the webcast is on a one-hour delay, inside those doors, it's as if the tournament hasn't ended yet. Hartigan, Stapleton, Broughton, and a host of guests are still watching and breathlessly commentating on events that transpired an hour in the past - it can be a little disorienting walking through that door.
In short, a lot of people are working very hard, as they do day in and day out. But I'll tell you what, we're being reminded of what is truly the hardest part of the jobs that we do.
In the aforementioned EPT office, Victoria "Tid" Sinclair is wrapping up a five-year run at PokerStars. She's been an events coordinator and the hub of EPT organization for longer than many people can remember - if you've ever enjoyed an EPT, Tid was responsible in one way or another.
She's headed off in a new direction after this, for a different career in a different industry. I mean, we all get it. Companies have arcs and individual lives and careers have arcs - sometimes those arcs diverge, and nobody expects (or really wants) somebody to stay on the company's arc when his or her personal arc needs to bend differently.
But man, it's hard to say good-bye to somebody with whom you've worked, shared meals, and even the occasional jog, from the Bahamas to Barcelona for a bunch of years. And it's not just Tid, of course. It's literally an occupational hazard of the working world that you end up having to say "so long" to people you've come to admire, respect, and appreciate. The longer you to work, the more names you add to your list. Quoting the eminently quotable Lyle Lovett, "And there are more I remember, and more I could mention, than words I could write in a song".
I guess the only thing sadder in the professional world would be imagining what it would be like without those people you've come to know and love. So we have our good-bye dinners, share hugs and a few tears, and wish each other well, hoping that maybe your paths will cross further down the road. Tid, she said, "We haven't done our last run together."
Man, I hope she's right, 'cause saying good-bye to awesome colleagues is definitely the hardest part of the job.
"But I feel them watching
And I see them laughing
And I hear them singing along..."
Lee Jones is the Director of Poker Communications at PokerStars and has been part of the professional poker world for over 25 years. You can read his occasional Twitter-bites at @leehjones.