by Wil Wheaton
It's really hard to get close to the tables on the tournament floor, so I haven't been able to follow Greg and Tom as closely as I could in earlier events. According to the Intertubes, Tom has 4100 and Greg has 15200. It's been an up and down day for Greg, who really needs a pile of chips to play his aggressive game and beat the crap out of his opponents, and a pretty standard day for Tom, who is more steady and methodical, and doesn't take too many risks early on. If the cards come his way, he'll have chips, otherwise, he waits to pick his spots.
Without the ability to even get close to them on their breaks, I've been left adrift today, in search of a story. Of course, I found one, and as usual, Barry Greenstein was responsible.
I found myself in the expo, which is much more crowded today than it was last time I was in there on Friday. Like all trade shows, there are the obligatory booth babes, the thumping music and the piles of giveaways that will end up under the passenger seat and stolen by a car wash guy months from now. The difference between the relative tranquility where players are competing for their share of over eighty-six million dollars, and the chaos where online poker rooms, magazines, T-shirt vendors and others are competing for their share of a billion dollar industry was striking. With so much at stake, it's remarkable to me that anyone can be calm in any of the rooms here.
Aside: I've just found out that there's a monkey playing poker in the expo right now. Apparently, some genius tried to enter the monkey into the Main Event, and they were -- wait for it -- denied. Shocking. I'm not going to go back in there and watch for two reasons: as far as I am concerned, there is only one monkey who plays poker and, as one of my colleagues here just said, "Why play a monkey? If you win, so what; you beat a monkey. But if you lose? Dude, you lost to a monkey."
I saw my friend Chris on my way in.
"How are you doing?" He said.
"The same," I said.
"I'm sorry to hear that. Barry Greenstein is signing his book in the PokerStars booth, though, so you should go see him and get one."
I thought that was a great idea. If you haven't read Barry's book, and you have any intention of playing poker seriously or for a living, you must. If you enjoy poker and would like to see the most beautiful poker book in the history of life, you must pick up Ace on the River. If you are the kind of person who does what a blogger tells you to do, then you must send me a dollar, then pick up Barry's book.
I made my way to the PokerStars booth, just as Barry was finishing up his signing. In fact, I was the last in line.
I sat down and Barry asked me how our team players were doing.
I said, "I think you're the only member who is already through to day two, and Greg and Tom are in today."
"How are they doing?" He said.
I told him.
"Greg really needs to get chips to play his game," Barry said, "so I'm not surprised that he's up and down."
Barry picked up one of his books, and opened it up. Before I could say, "It's Wil with one 'L,'" he put pen to paper and began to write.
"This guy is a great writer," he said to the photographer, a pretty twenty-something blond girl who blushed and said, "can I have my picture with you when you're done? I had a huge crush on you when I was a teenager."
"Of course," I said. "It will be my pleasure."
Barry finished signing my book, and we posed for a picture. Then I stood up and posed for a picture with the photographer before I headed out of the booth and back onto the expo floor.
I made it about three booths away before the curiosity took over, and I opened up Barry's book. Inside the front cover it said,
Wil,I'm having a copy of Just A Geek sent out here, so I can write back:
Thanks for all the great write-ups.
Barry,The players are on the first half of a staggered break, so I'll see if I can grab a word with Greg or Tom before they head back into their tables.
Thank you for all the great stories, and for spelling my name correctly.