Whenever I tell people that Mike is in Las Vegas, they invariably ask if it’s for business or pleasure. I never quite know how to answer. “Kind of both?” I usually reply.
True, he eats a lot of In-N-Out Burger, spends some time at the pool, maybe even catches a Ke$ha/Pitbull concert. So yes, he does pleasurable things in Las Vegas (but not too pleasurable, or I won’t let him go back). The main reason is to play poker, at which he is all business. Or so I thought.
June in Las Vegas means World Series of Poker time. Anyone can play, as long as you’re 21 and can pony up the entry fee for the tournament. Mike did play in the Main Event one year – this is the tournament you’ve probably seen aired on ESPN. The Main Event is $10,000 to enter and is Texas Hold’em – the game of poker most people are familiar with. There are actually 62 events over 50 days in the WSOP, with many different variants of the game being played. Mike is partial to Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better. Is that a mouth-full or what? If you’re cool, you just call it PLO8.
A few weeks ago, he played in the $1500 PLO8 tournament. I can’t speak to his experience, but for me, it’s always a roller coaster of emotions. The days and hours leading up to the event are filled with daydreams of what would happen if he won big. Once the event starts, I wait nervously for tweets and phone calls updating his status. There are the highs of knowing he’s doing well, which can all too quickly turn into the ultimate low of hearing him say, “I’m out.”
He did well in this year’s tournament, just not as well as he would’ve liked – making the final table and raking in all that cash would be nice. Still, he finished “in the money,” which means he lasted long enough bring some money home. It’s been two weeks since he played in the WSOP, but he’s still rehashing his final hands that led to his tournament demise. From time to time, Mike will recount specific hands like this or talk to me about strategy. I’m not sure why he thinks I’m qualified to offer anything remotely helpful. I can’t even come up with a decent strategy to win at Go Fish.
And then he showed me a series of official WSOP pictures that were taken of him during his tournament and I came up with a brilliant strategy that is sure to make him a bracelet winner next year …
When playing in the World Series of Poker, refrain from napping during tournament play.
Yup, that’s definitely his strategy next year.