Sunday, November 9, 2008

A reflective pause

Thinking I’d get out and find some carpets of fallen foliage to explore, I loaded my photo gear into the truck and headed down to the river. I found myself following a truckload of harvested Christmas trees and immediately decided that I should change subject matters for the day. The tree harvest is a pretty interesting process involving lots of workers scurrying around cutting trees, others wrapping the trees in mesh for shipping, and in some instances, helicopters shuttling the trees from the field to awaiting trucks. I would need to get some gas if I was going to drive around and find an active harvest site. Yet, no sooner had I driven into town, the rain started. They’d still be working in the fields, but I wasn’t too excited about getting my old Canon A-1 wet. I headed back home.

And back down into the basement to figure out how to make the rest of my day productive.

One sure way to avoid making such a decision is to go online. I started to cruise poker blogs and came to Pauly’s Tao of Poker. (See my sidebar.) He’s live-blogging from the WSOP ME final table. A small circle began to take shape in my mind.

I followed along last summer as Pauly gave us a rundown of the action that led up to this day. I enjoyed his writing style, and refreshed his page many more times than he had entries each day. His was also the first “professional” poker blog that I had ever read.

Pauly has a sidebar that lists about 60 other poker blogs. In between his updates I clicked on several and read. If Pauly mentioned another blogger in his WSOP updates, I hit the link. I started to recognize that there was a rather small group of “intimates” bloggers that clearly knew each other, hung out together, and went back several years. Some, while still blogging, covered poker for Poker News, Poker Stars, Full Tilt, etc., yet their blogs no longer had much poker content. They were writers first, apparently, poker players second, or third, or fourth. Some of my clicking led to blogs that hadn’t been updated in two years.

So, I’m reading Pauly’s accounting of the final table and I realize that I have no clue about the players except for what he has written. I haven’t watched any of the ESPN coverage. I’ve read about what it was like to cover the event, and about the shenanigans and intrigues in and around the event, but that’s not quite the same. I don’t watch poker on TV much anymore. I used to, quite a bit five or so years ago, just like every other schmoe who had an inkling of an idea of how to play what he was watching (I had played poker in the Navy, 25+ years earlier, but had long since forgotten if a flush beat a straight) but knew it was exciting. And I watched a lot of it, hooked into a spectator sport more like NASCAR for the thinking person.

I downloaded the last episode that led up to the 2008 final table and was reminded why I have tuned out. I am all too familiar with the excitement and heartbreak. Eventually sucked in by the edited presentations, I have been experiencing the roller coaster firsthand for close to three years now. I have no need to watch others go through it.

But watch it, I did. More out of dedication to Pauly’s writing than to the event itself. He doesn’t know it, but I owe him. I started this blog on July 14, the 7th day of the ME.

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