WSOP 2012: Brokedown palace

wsop-130x100.pngWalk with me friends through the palace that was the World Series of Poker. For seven weeks, it was more than a tournament. It was a temple. It teemed with a temporary civilization. Now, we watch as that temple crumbles and its foundation of monied-players is reduced to fewer than 200 people.

For weeks we have shown you the bright lights of this space age temple. Today, those lights still burn in the Amazon Room, but elsewhere they dim. Where the WSOP once needed hundreds of tables, it only needs 21 now. It once produced enough food in its poker kitchen to feed thousands of people a day. Now...well, this is what we found when in search of a grilled shrimp salad.


The food is always the first thing to go

The Poker Kitchen is shuttered. Anyone in need of food must buy from the snack stand outside the Amazon or make the long, desperate walk to the casino (there there be meatloaf). While I'm sure it's unrelated, we saw people pulling up curtains and digging though the detritus of the sponsor booths in the hallway. It won't be long before the looting begins.

Meanwhile, the biggest room in the entire building, the Pavilion, looks like an ancient manmade marvel, a place where kings rose up from the commoners. We look at it now like a crumbling Colosseum.


Being the biggest room in the building also makes it the emptiest

This was a society that drew its light from ESPN. Every table at the WSOP bathed in the soft glow of the overhead bulbs. Now those bulbs and their suspended soft-boxes have fallen. The Brasilia Room is empty. A society with no people needs no light.


ESPN lights only thing sitting on the Brasilia Room tables

And finally, we look the the Brasilia Room's stage. The eight-foot, lighted WSOP Monster still stands, glowing into the vacuum. It's Stonehenge, forgotten, still to be discovered by a future society.


The WSOP lights still burn, but no one is there to see them

By the end of the night, workers will begin removing tables from the Amazon Room. Within 48 hours, only three tables will remain. And in a few days, there will be no sign the WSOP was ever here.

In our dreams, a man from Peoria at a vacuum cleaner sales convention will someday find a stray poker chip and wonder what it is.



@VanessaSelbst: "Lost a big one. 1.6MM now. Avg is 1MM"


Shown on the television screens around the tournament area: competitive cross-fit, following on from ladies billiards.


Jan Heitmann just won another pot and is up over $1 million.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker