WSOP Main Event Day 2B: Winners and losers
It being Friday every square foot of the Palms hotel was heaving when players made their way back to their lodgings last night. The Palms, where PokerStars players and qualifiers are lodged, is a primary target for anyone with a young mind and the patience to wait in line for a half hour. The hours that passed between then and now remain blurred for some.
In Las Vegas the success of a night out is often judged by what time you declare that it's probably inappropriate to be still drinking. Again this is a matter of personal choice and pride. Washed, combed and ironed you may be on Saturday morning, but those girls that just sloped by in sparkly dresses holding yards of red drink are not yet done with Friday night.
The same can't be said of the players making their way back to the Amazon Room today for their Main Event day two. Here you're judged by different criteria - the time that passes before you're required to make the long walk back up through the cold corridors of the Rio.
One of many shots of the Pavilion Room from this week
Poker is unique in that defeat comes with very little ceremony, particularly in these early stages. There's no handshake across the centre court net, no three cheers for the opposition crew, no shirt swapping and back slapping hugs. Instead when busting form an event like this you're lucky to get a "good game". There's no official to come over and thank you for playing, no one to commiserate and wish you a safe journey home.
Suddenly Las Vegas, a town where it's very difficult to be alone, becomes the loneliest place in the world. It's why tragic cases are unable to come to terms with their elimination. While the smart ones get out of here, others stand awkwardly on the rail, displaying classic trauma symptoms, trying to still be part of things by watching the guy who knocked them out, or the table where they once sat. But, like the guy who's just been let go and is now standing by the office elevator clutching a cardboard box, no one wants to talk to them for fear that whatever bad luck struck them might get them next.
The only way to avoid this is to play the poker of your life for the duration of the day and put aside the easily discouraging thought that even then you're still several hundred eliminations away from anything considered a success.
To those remaining that's all still a possibility. To everyone else, sitting in McCarran departure lounge, the bus station or at a bar wishing the bar keep would show more attention to your bad beats, tomorrow will feel a little better.
Time once more to shuffle up and deal.