The last few days have been pretty sedate, and given me some time to take stock and recharge my batteries a bit. The recharging was a very good thing, since the long days playing in the Colossus event had drained me pretty badly, and that's coming from someone who's very used to an erratic sleep pattern and 10 hours sat in a chair, which is actually a bit harder than it sounds. The taking stock bit is maybe not so good, since I'm a bit of a thinker, and if I'm not kept pretty busy my thoughts when I'm here all alone can often turn to the down side of life, and I pretty easily can get sad about any number of things, currently about six off the top of my head. There always seem to be an array of daily problems for me either here or in the UK ready to spoil my day. I've kind of accepted that as the way life is, and I just plough through them or decide that they simply aren't worth letting get to me, as this trip is supposed to be important, and in several ways a fresh start for me. One day at a time and all that and try to be upbeat more than not. Ho hum.
Tomorrow the campaign continues for me with the WSOP $1500 Shootout event. I've taken things pretty gently so far as regards playing my tournaments by comparison to how it normally is for me here. I just feel that I've got around another 5 weeks in the United States, and there are plenty of chances ahead to put the budget into action. My WSOP events timetable is pretty much cut and dried, although I could still swap one or two about if I needed to, but everything else meaning the smaller events is just a matter of seeing what offers good value in terms of player numbers and prize pool guarantees, and also if I'm feeling fresh and ready from not being over at the Rio, which in itself is a pretty depressing and gruelling experience. Onto that now...
People tend to have mixed feeling about Ceaesars (formerly Harrahs) as a corporation. They own the WSOP and all rights to it, and though organisationally it's admittedly a huge job, nobody can deny it's also an enormous cash-cow for them every year in terms alone of the rake they earn from cash and tournaments from registration fees.
Poker players generally tend to bitch and moan about stuff far more than normal people would. They have the freedom to play when they want, often own a few expensive toys as the fruits of their labours, have disposable income when winning, and get to travel the world doing something that is far more enjoyable than digging up holes in the road. Yet most will still find a reason to drip about things. The reasons for their unhappiness could include but are not limited to such examples as:
"We don't get enough starting chips".
"We have too many starting chips".
"It's too cold in here".
"It's too hot in here".
"The prize distribution is too shallow".
"The prize distribution is too top heavy"
"Break times are too short".
"Break times are too long".
Get the picture?
I cashed in the Colossus for $6300. Not a fortune but I'm happy to have made a score. It took me three days and four visits to the payout room at the Rio to actually get my money. I know the Colossus was a huge event to run, the clue is after all in the name. However when I first went to collect my winning I was met with a line of players literally 300 deep all with the same idea. We were told we had to expect to wait around 2 hours to be seen and paid. I thought "screw this, I'll come back at 3am when it'll be nice and quiet". Back I went at 3am. There were now about 200 people in line all with the same bright idea. Onto plan C, let's give it a day or two, and come back once the hullabaloo of the Colossus has died down and its far quieter. I gave it a day and a half and again rolled up at 2am. Another line 200 deep. What the actual fuck? Today I went over to the Rio and in the afternoon was lucky enough to be in a line of about ten people, so thought this was running good. 45 minutes later I was still stood in the line looking quizzical.
Once I got into the payout room part of the reason for the delay became apparent...
This is absolutely beyond unacceptable. It also displays a pretty cut and dried corporate attitude of "we've already got your buy in money, so we'll do whatever the fuck we like and you can just put up with it or go without". Hardly making winning a good experience. We were joking in the line that it's probably far less traumatic to simply bust out of the event without cashing, thus avoiding the stress of trying to actually get paid out. I joked with the girls at the payout processing terminal and the cashiers window. It isn't their fault, they're just spokes on a wheel, so being a dick to them about delays would be neither nice nor productive. They all smiled knowingly, and pretty much expected to be greeted with a complaint or veiled insult the second each new disgruntled person sat down with them. They were nice enough when I was being paid out to let me buy into my three remaining WSOP side events there and then, thus avoiding more queueing and stress for me in the upcoming weeks, so at least that's something else taken care of. Thank you Delia ;o)
There's lots and lots more to say on Caesars and the Rio, but I'm just scratching the surface. We didn't even have final player numbers up on the screens until half way through day two of the event, with people having absolutely no idea if we were into the money, near the money or still 700 off the money. Once it was up on screen, I had 2 showing completely different player totals for the same event, and a third that just crashed completely, thus making it a whole new fun game in itself to know what on earth was happening. Considering the amount of money they make off the WSOP, I'd have thought that by now they'd have stopped using what appears to be Windows XP to run and organise a multi-million dollar poker event and upgrade to something that is man enough for the job. There's a ton already online about how most people expected the first prize in the Colossus to be well in excess of $1.2 million, yet Caesars decided to make it $600k, with a very flat payout, whilst quietly pocketing over double first place in reg fees for themselves. I don't have such a massive problem with the winners payout per se, but I do take issue with them basically doing whatever they want repeatedly, treating poker players like cattle, and making a shedload of money out of it at the same time, whilst showing total indifference and arrogance when confronted with their shortcomings.
Most poker players really aren't too bright. And they seriously love a bitch and a moan about everything under the sun (aren't you all terribly glad my updates contain none of that?). However it will surely reach a point where people say enough is enough and start to vote with their feet. Sadly the WSOP still has a massive degree of prestige every year, even though personally I think winning a bracelet would be nice, but is also seriously devalued over the last few years with so many events now running. Caesars do some stuff right that's for sure, and they should be applauded for the few steps they take to make this massive circus run better than it has in past years, however they still manage to make fundamental mistakes repeatedly, and were they not making a shit ton of money from every single entry it might be a bit more forgiveable. They do, and quite frankly, it isn't.