He drank in the elixir of sights and sounds that made this city special. He was finally in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, something he’d dreamed about for years. His arrival marked the beginning for him. It was the beginning of the new Bob, not the loser of the past. However, fate doesn’t always abide by our plans but has its own twists and turns to make the trip interesting.
He was a quiet man with a slight almost frail build. He had a raging drive to participate in sports and the keen sense of competition that should have made him great but because of his stature and lack of confidence, he stayed on the sidelines through his high school years and never found his niche. That all changed when Chris Moneymaker made the news winning the World Series of Poker. The idea of a legitimate sport anyone could play with millions of dollars in prizes enthralled him.
You didn’t need to be agile, strong or swift to play. You needed to be smart and competitive. He knew he had these traits. He studied for months before he entered his first tournament and was pleased when he almost made it in the money. It was a true accomplishment for a first timer.
Bob loved poker and he loved tournaments. He’d registered for every live tournament in his area but never managed to make it in the money. Someone always knocked him out right before he qualified for a minimum prize. In fact, it happened so frequently, everyone started calling him Bob, the Bubble Boy. When it came down to one before the money, players would scan the room and if they saw Bob, would be comfortable knowing, their position in the money was secure.
Bob’s reputation followed him to every tournament and even Bob believed it. If it weren’t a bad beat on the river, he’d make that one fatal error every tournament that prevented him from making the money. He seemed destined never to win. That is, however, before he found the world of Internet poker.
He took the online name of “The Bubble Boy 68” and found the anonymity of online poker improved his game tremendously. He learned to play far more aggressively, something he’d lacked that always was part of his downfall. He savored every tournament and instead of living up to his name, began winning.
One day, he noticed a $3.30 satellite to the World Series of Poker Main Event. It was a long shot. You had to win two satellites to get to the final competition for the ticket. A win on the $3.30 tournament gave you a ticket to the $33.00 satellite and finally, if you won that one, the $330 competition to win your $10,000 ticket to Las Vegas. He knew the chances were slim but worth trying.
Bob didn’t win on his first attempt. He made it to the second satellite and then bombed. However, after several attempts, he found himself competing at the final table for his ticket and heads up against one of the most aggressive players online, “BITEMELOVER298.” When the last hand ended, his A6 beat the pocket 4’s of BITEMELOVER298 and he’d won his ticket.
He booked a room at the YipeeKiyaa Casino and Hotel. It was a western themed casino with a mechanical bull in the center of the gaming area and cowboy memorabilia everywhere. Bob wanted to be fresh for the tournament and his flight was a long one. He was preregistered and scheduled for the first flight of the series. Rather than burn all his energies seeing Vegas, he decided that he’d eat supper, walk from the Strip to the Rio to check how long it took and burn off supper. Then he’d hit the sack.
The Chuck Wagon Buffet had every type of dish you could imagine, but focused on foods associated with the old west. He helped himself to a serving of Campfire Beans, one of the specialties. There was corned beef and cabbage, something Bob hadn’t had in years and remembered fondly as a dish his Irish mother loved to serve. He took a small portion of steak and smothered it with sautÃ©ed mushrooms and onions. There were all types of cheese and he took one of each, some broccoli, cauliflower, and a little bit of sauerkraut with sausage. He topped it off with some soft serve ice cream. There were all types of beer if you wanted to order it. Bob chose Mexican beer he’d never heard of and a bottle of Millers as a chaser.
After supper, the walk to the Rio seemed far less appealing. Instead, he decided to go to bed and leave early enough in the morning to have breakfast there before the tournament. He had one more beer for the road to help him sleep, left instructions for the wake up call and dozed off.
Was it the jet lag or the beer that made him sleep so soundly? Bob awoke with a start to the sound of a phone. He answered and instead of a recorded message, it was the desk clerk he’d talked to the day before.
“I noticed you never answered the recorded wake-up call and I know how important this tournament is. So, thought I’d try it one more time myself. The tournament starts in less than an hour.”
Bob was suddenly awake with the realization that he’d overslept. The WSOP started in 45 minutes and he knew it would take at least 25 to get from his hotel to the Rio. He’d have to grab a cab and even then, rush. He showered quickly, put on the shirt with the online logo, and headed out the door.