WSOP Main Event: Forgive me Poker, for I have Sinned.
by Wil Wheaton
For a room filled with over two thousand people, it is eerily calm in the tournament area today. The clatter of shuffling chips creates a white noise that reminds me of water washing over rocks, and the roar of media, fans, and hapless tourists clogging the hallways outside the Amazon Room recalls waves pounding on a not-too-distant shore. As I walk the floor and this image fills my mind, I glance at players shoving chips into the middle, staring each other down, and firing the first shots in a war for over ten million dollars. I think of Bikini Atoll.
I walked into the room to check on Greg Raymer and Tom McEvoy (who are both in search of their second bracelet today,) and the first thing I noticed after the eerie silence was the sea of PokerStars players. Some are clad in baseball jerseys, others wear T-shirts or football jerseys, but they are out in force.
In fact, CJ came back into the media room just after the cards flew into the air and said, "Is it just me, or is it an army of PokerStars players in there?"
"It's not just you," Pauly said.
"Yeah," Otis said, "we are out in force today."
It was nice to have a day off to enjoy my birthday yesterday, but it's even better to be back to work with these people; I feel as close to "at home" as I have since I got here three weeks ago.
Down the desk from me, Otis and CJ are attacking the monumental task of tracking down all the PokerStars qualifiers, while Howard, Pauly, and Mad all work on player profiles and stories. Ali just came in, and is unpacking her equipment. We're about to come together to form poker's Voltron.
I looked at my calendar and said, "Hey, I just realized that I've been here twenty-one days, today!"
Pauly and Otis looked up at me like the greenhorn I am, before they turned their bloodshot eyes back to their laptops.
"You're looking really great," Pauly said, dryly. "You haven't put on any weight, you don't have that one thousand yard stare . . ." rookie.
They all laughed.
Yeah, it's good to be back, and I'm really looking forward to writing for the remainder of the 2006 WSOP.
And speaking of writing . . . they say confession is good for the soul, and I hope they are correct, because I need to exorcise some poker demons now.
Forgive me, poker, for I have sinned against thee. It's been too long since my last confession.
I got eliminated from the main event because I got stupid. That's really what it comes down to. I got stupid, made two total rookie mistakes that I know not to make, and didn't even make it to the third level. I was the sucker. I was the dead money. I was the idiot who shouldn't even be on Celebrity Poker Showdown, because he fell in love with top pair -- twice -- early on in a deep stack tournament. And called off all his chips. Twice. Complete. Idiot.
The worst part of the whole thing is that I completely beat myself. I wasn't trapped, or tricked, or masterfully outplayed; I just got stupid and made two completely idiotic donkey moves. I played like a stupid celebrity poker player.
Every time it mattered in this year's World Series, in every event I played, I choked. I'm disgusted with myself. I let myself down, and I feel like I let PokerStars down (even though my friends who I work for and with will tell me that I shouldn't beat myself up about it, we all know I screwed up.) I'm sorry, everyone. To everyone who believed in me: I'm sorry. I sucked, and I blew it.
Okay, I can say fourteen Hail Harrington's and seventy-six Our Sklansky's, and after I get the Do not fall in love with top pair, stupid, tattoo on the back of my right hand, all should be forgiven.
Tom is at table 145, conveniently just inside the door and right near the rail. Greg is another story: he is at table 36, deep in the room and just a few tables away from my disastrous showing at table 20 two days ago. I'd better get that tattoo quickly, so I can get in there and bring you the story.
That's football with a round ball that you can't touch, unless you're a keeper. I understand that there's another kind of football, but I'm not sure if I believe those rumours.