World Series memories: The Randy Meisner incident

wsop2009_thn.gifThere is a live version of the Eagles' Take It to the Limit that ends with the former bassist Randy Meisner hitting every high note with perfect pitch and then mellowing out to the crowd's cheers. As the instruments go silent, one of Meisner's bandmates pulls out his best John Wayne impersonation.

"Pretty good, Randy," he drawls.


The 2006 World Series was the last of its kind, really. There was something end-of-the-world-ish about it that only people who were there could truly understand. The power brokers on the the right coast had been fooling around and within a few months the players and qualifiers would be wondering if they would ever see a big WSOP again. With the future in flux, the 2006 Series was one giant poker party that nobody wanted to miss for fear of it ending without them.

They were heady times to be sure. It was the first time we saw one of PokerStars' signature player suites. It's still one of the best I've ever seen. All day long, the top PokerStars players would mingle with the Team PokerStars Pros and whoever else managed to find their way inside. The latter made for one story we didn't tell at the time, but is fun to remember now.

That year, PokerStars had a beautiful Fender Telecaster sitting sitting at the back of the room. It was going to be up for raffle at some point, but for the moment, it was just there to covet. No matter how disinterested in music a visitor was, he had to step back and have a gander at the six strings of Fender sweetness.

One such person made his way into the room one afternoon and paid special attention to the guitar. I was in the Amazon Room when my phone rang.

"The guy from the Eagles is in here looking at the guitar," someone said.

"Which guy?"

It was Randy Meisner, the man who had provided the bass line for the Eagles all the way from 1971 to Hotel California.

I expressed my regrets, but couldn't go down to meet Mssr. Meisner. I had tournament coverage to look after. While I wasn't in the room at the time, Meisner's appearance started to draw crowds. The glad-handing began. The picture-taking commenced.

Now, it wasn't as if Hendrix or Jerry Garcia had risen form the dead and started working the PokerStars suite, but Meisner was a celebrity of sorts, or at least he had been. That was reason enough for people to crowd around and gawk.

If you've spent any time around the World Series, you know there are people with semi-famous faces who hang around and eventually get bought into the Main Event for promotional purposes. I'm not going to name any names, but you know who ends up on television. It was logical to think Meisner might have picked up the poker bug.

Then again, we really had no way of knowing, did we? To figure out if Randy Meisner cared a lick for poker, we would've had to have actually been in the presence of Randy Meisner.


In 1989, an Atlanta, GA man named Lewis Morgan started doing something no one had apparently ever thought to do.

Morgan traveled through California and Nevada impersonating Randy Meisner. Unlike the dealertainers at the Imperial Palace, Morgan apparently had no interest in playing the bass or singing at octaves high enough to make dogs whimper.

Nope. Morgan apparently was only looking for the perks of being Randy Meisner--parties, women, booze. The act worked for a very long time. The act worked until...well, until it didn't anymore. A cop got wise and Morgan ended up in the pokey for a bit. That whole story was chronicled in a San Francisco Weekly article titled "Fake It to the Limit" in 1998. One would've thought Morgan would've learned his lesson.

But this was 2006. This was Las Vegas. This was the biggest World Series of Poker in history. You couldn't fall out of your poker chair without landing in some massive party. How could Morgan/Meisner/Whoever miss that?


It would fantastic if I could tell you that the guy was, in fact, Randy Meisner, that we hung out, played some music, and drank beer in the PokerStars suite. That's not what happened.

Before long (and before anything disastrous happened), we figured out that the man taking pictures with his fans was not the old Eagle. To be fair, we have no idea who he was. It might have been Morgan. It might have been somebody else. Who knows?

Though the con man never convinced us he was the old Eagle, he had some success elsewhere. The Meisner impersonator did manage to party it up on other peoples' dime during his 2006 stay in Vegas. If the stories read correctly, he made off with some good booze, lobster, and party time before disappearing again.

Pretty good, Randy...or whoever you were.

This summer will mark the fifth consecutive year the PokerStars Blog has covered the World Series from the Rio. This week, we're looking back at our time at the World Series--on the table and off.


2005 World Series memories