WSOP 2014: Requiem for the adult onesie
You've met the guy before. He's the one who has just gone bust at the table. He looks forlorn, lonely, and lost. Everyone looks at him expectantly, but no one can summon the courage to say, "Sir, it's time to go."
Today, the WSOP Main Event field will lose more than two hundred players. Most of them will have the wherewithal to stand and leave. If not, a member of the staff will help them up and guide them compassionately across the floor to the payout cage.
There is no such person to help the vendors in the Rio Convention Center hallway, a place where that kind of compassion may be needed much more.
See, vendors come from far and wide to tap the poker market during its biggest annual convention. The walk to the Amazon Room takes players past sunglasses, tax services, ion bracelets, Bluetooth headphones, phone cases, books, and just about anything else a poker player might want.
The experienced salesman in the vendor community knows one thing: there is nearly no reason to reserve and pay for space in the Rio after Day 2 of the WSOP. After that day, the crowds die down, the hallways get quiet, and the chance of walk-up-traffic having its interest piqued by an adult-sized onesie gets pretty small.
Don't take my word for it. Go get yourself a burrito in the WSOP Poker Kitchen and...oh, you can't, because the Poker Kitchen closed last night. So did the snacks kiosk near the exits. The WSOP knows there are only so many mouths to feed, and there won't be enough to justify the cost of employing men to make tacos.
Still, there are rookie vendors who remain. There is a young man dressed in a green onesie looking down the hallway on the off-chance someone will walk in off the street and need head-to-toe warmth and coziness on this 101° day. There is another guy who holds up a phone case and says softly, "Case for your phone?" when a person walks by holding a phone in a case. After weeks of making passers-by try to balance on one foot with an ion bracelet and without, the bracelet sales people have just given up and don't say anything. The fantasy poker guy literally has his eyes closed and his head in his hands. It's over.
But, still they remain. One can only assume they rented their space long in advance of the WSOP and now--like a father forcing his kids to enjoy another day on vacation at the Museum of Lost Causes--the vendors feel compelled to ride it out to the bitter end.
Bear in mind, none of these vendors are have the kind of title sponsorship access that the big companies do. You won't see an American flag onesie hanging above the featured table area alongside Ruffles and Natural Light. The dealers on the TV table won't be wearing ion bracelets, and you can be damned sure they aren't going to be standing on one foot while somebody tries to tip them over.
No, these vendors have a hallway, and it's just about all they have.
Someone with a heart needs to approach these lonely people, offer a warm hand, and say, "Sir. Yes, you in the onesie. It's time to go."
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging