Surviving the dinner break

More from Europe (the jinx is passed on), Hartigan's Audio Blog, and a survivor's story from dinner

It's just after 8:30pm in Vegas and the room has taken on a comfortable air. Just nine hours ago, the room fell nearly silent when the cards went in the air. When the first runner busted out, a rowdy exuberance took over. Now, the players are comfortable. Now, it again sounds like a poker room. The chips riffle. The room buzzes. It's standard tournament poker on a non-too standard scale.

While my good luck aura seems to have waned for some (Shirley "Siren" Rosario busted just before the break), I'm pleased to report that my fellow blogger Howard Swains has inherited my curse. If you're reading from Europe, you'll want to be sure to read the European version of this humble news port.

Audio blogger James Hartigan is back at work. With Greg Raymer mounting an impressive comeback, you might want to hear what Greg thinks about any player's chances in this event. Save this file to your computer and have a listen.

Finally, a story from dinner.

I ran into Patrick Morrison, a PokerStars player from the Gulf Coast. He had a wild look in his eye. I figured him for a player who had just spent the past eight hours in the trenches of this poker warehouse.

"What table are you at?" I asked, sure that he was big-stacked and wild on $10,000 adrenaline.

"I don't play until tomorrow," he said.

I thought that would be the end of it, that I would wait until Friday to prod him for stories and tales. Instead, I heard the best story of the day.

Just a few days ago, Morrison was hundred of miles offshore on an oil platform. He knew that in just a few days he would be sitting at a ten-seat table in Las Vegas, vying for a world championship. He'd won a $33 qualifier on PokerStars and was bound and determined to win the whole thing.

Only one thing stood in his way. Her name was Cindy. And Morrison's wife, a beautiful lady, is not named Cindy.

Cindy was a bit of a tropical storm that built and built and rolled into the Gulf of Mexico. Her ferocity wasn't as frightening as many of the big storms that have rolled in to that part of the country. Regardless, she caused a problem.

The original plan was for a helicopter to fly in, land on the deck of the oil platform, and fly Morrison inland. Instead, Cindy grounded the chopper and Morrison was stuck. He waited and waited and finally stowed away on a supply boat that made it to the platform.

That should've done the trick. Instead, Cindy trapped the boat offshore, then blew a bunch of shrimp boats into a brige Morrison needed to cross.

Undeterred, Morrison pressed on, finally made it shore, where his father drove him home, to his beautiful wife, and eventually to an airport where Morrison finally flew to Las Vegas.

Tonight, he had that wild look in his eye and he had yet to play a hand in the main event.

"After what I've been through," he said, "if somebody tries to check-raise me..." He trailed off and looked toward the casino.

"I'm here to play some poker," he said.

If there's a survivor's story in this room, it belongs to Patrick Morrison.

Good luck tomorrow, Patrick.