WSOP 2014: What did Bob Acri ever do to you?
What does the poker world have against Bob Acri? Nothing really, except he never wrote a song that had any reference, vulgar or otherwise, to money.
There was an almost relaxed atmosphere to the Amazon Room this morning as players, having achieved a degree of success by bagging up on day one, returned to unpack for day two. While Albert Lineses had worked his magic for the openers, today's music was piped over the loud speaker, a way to pacify the nervous and stimulate the senses ready for what could be a difficult day.
It started with "I need a dollar," by rap artist Aloe Blacc, which unless you knew the reference to currency would pass you by as a pleasant backdrop to your arrival.
After Blacc came Acri, the now evidently little known American jazz pianist (currently playing Stokie, Illinois), with his piece "Sleep Away", the sort of music that's capable of splitting up fights, soothing worldwide bitterness and creating a sense of gentle reverie in even the most tormented of minds. Obviously then this had no place in the preamble to a poker tournament. There was no money theme. It had to go.
Back came the money music, this time Dire Straits' Money for nothing. This was more like it. No ambiguity at all. For this was "money for nothing". It even has the word "chips" in it (ok fair enough "chicks), which are free. Money. Chips. Free. Perfect.
But it wouldn't last forever, certainly not long enough to see the players through to the start. Another money-filler was required. Cue Junior Mafia, a musical ensemble specialising in rap and children's parties, and their song "Get Money".
It's a simple mistake to make. The title "Get Money" could easily have been a song about a polite reminder to a spouse to go to the ATM, or maybe advice from one friend to another as to how to redirect their ailing career.
Few middle aged gentlemen in sports shoes and baseball caps expected what came next. The Junior Mafia, and their guest DJ Cut Killer set to work "******* *******" to get money, and "******* ******" to get money (repeat this three times).
Theirs was a point made bluntly, but in the noise they might have got away with it had the second verse not featured so many words ending with "ick" and "uck", which the human ear finds easiest to pick out amid general noise.
A staff member noticed this too and -- presumably running to reach the record player before Lil' Kim expressed her thoughts on what goes on between two people who love each other very much - managed to stop the music. The sound of the needle scraping across vinyl heralded a round of applause from the section of the field old enough to have frisbee'd this same CD from their teenage daughter's bedroom window.
In its place came L'estasi Dell'Oro by Ennio Morricone, better known as the music from The Good the Bad and the Ugly. It might not have had an obvious money theme in its title, but it did at least accompany the scene in which Tuco (played by the late Eli Wallach) searched for gold buried in the ground. Anyone making the connection would have appreciated this dose of almost medicinal subtlety.
This finally gave way to the introductions, again nicely presented by Ty Stewart, rocking a white linen suit, who introduced reigning champion Ryan Reiss to start the day. But not before showing a clip of his victory last November.
The Amazon Room turned as one to watch, with only one exception. Jay Farber, runner-up to Reiss, was now being forced to watch everyone else watch the worst moment of his career, a kind of double torture.
"**** *** Ty!" yelled Farber, managing a grin but using words he could only have learned from DJ Cut Killer. Stewart good-naturedly made light of Farber's uncomfortable position, but it was a great moment for Reiss, who then took to the podium and gave the order to shuffle up and deal.
Time again to get money.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.