WSOP 2013: Contravening the laws of averages, the jungle, and Las Vegas
Rules are there to be enforced. That's my view, and when the breaks in play come every two hours it's also the view of the security guards whose job it is to clear the tournament rooms of spectators. This allows players space to vacate their tables and make their way out into the hallway, where they clog up the exits for 20 minutes having discovered they have nothing better to do.
There are rules all over Las Vegas, from the seedy ("Don't touch") to the common ("Don't smoke"). Another stipulation is to not cross the street at any point other than at a designated crossing, common across the United States, and known as jaywalking.
This is an infraction of the Uniform Vehicle Code in which a pedestrian crosses a road in a reckless manner. In the United Kingdom pedestrians are entrusted by the Highway Code to use their judgement when crossing the street. Transported to America they forget that the locals here take a stricter line.
But when you're walking to work from the Palms to the Rio the temptation is always to take the shortest route, to cut tangents, particularly when the 110 degree sunshine has already turned your skin to saddle leather and your shoes to dust.
So I, like many others, take the shortest route, crossing South Valley View Boulevard, between the parking lots of the Gold Coast and the Rio, slipping first across the four southbound lanes before attempting the three headed northbound. It was at this half way point today that the police arrived.
Instinctively I raised my hands to surrender. But while Professor Fernandez-Armesto was famously wrestled to the ground in Atlanta by five police officers some years ago, having his peppermints confiscated in the process, the good men and women of the Las Vegas Police Department took a more forgiving line, simply suggesting that next time we use the crossing.
My colleague Brad Willis immediately thanked them for their advice and then was gone, across to the other side before you could say "identification please." Meanwhile I, guilty, swung between surrendering myself at the nearest police station, and making a run for the British Embassy in Mexico City - or Ecuador, which seems to be more popular these days.
On the plus side there's nothing like a brush with the law to put some spirit into your day. So when it came time for spectators to clear the Amazon Room at the break I joined them.
"If you are on the rail watching, that makes you a spectator," said a loud voice. I could have held up my press pass, which gives me the right to roam as I please, but I joined the slow trickle of people leaving the room.
Rules are to be enforced
But not everyone wanted to budge. Some stayed put, contravening a directive from people of authority with badges and utility belts and in some case many, many years of experience. Rules are there to be enforced. Newly chastened, and reformed, I'm on the side of security.