It’s hard to believe that, just over two weeks ago, I sat at my laptop and published my Destination WSOP post.
During my routine daily life, two weeks go by in a flash. They’re usually full of commuting, my regular job, family time, some housework, work on this poker blog, sleep, a home poker game or two, some exercise, etc.
These last of couple weeks, I savored; every day presented a new adventure. There was no commuting (just traveling), no work to be done, no chores or errands to do, not much sleep, and a heck of a lot of poker being played. Days like those are rare and precious, and I feel like I truly made the most of my time. Each day felt rich and full, and I enjoyed experiencing so many exceptional things.
Aside for attending my first World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, I also had the chance to visit with my extended family over the two weekends, in Atlanta and Los Angeles, respectively. My trip basically consisted of day after day filled with quality time spent with family as well as building and strengthening relationships with friends that were for the most part forged – and that are maintained – over social media. I always say that “people enrich my life” and this proved exceptionally true over the last couple of weeks.
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 20, 2016
As I promised myself in the aforementioned blog post, I wouldn’t allow myself to “waste time writing and producing content”. I knew I could always do the writing later; after the trip.
Indeed, aside for a couple planned exceptions, like interviewing Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton, I just allowed the experiences to come to me. Originally, I had told myself that I’d try to visit as many casinos as possible, specifically wanting to visit some downtown Vegas hotels, the Mirage and Treasure Island (resorts where I used to stay as a kid), as well as Caesars casino, which was marking its 50th anniversary with some special events. Instead, I just “went with the flow” and drifted where the desert winds directed me and my little rented Toyota Yaris. I ended up playing poker at the following resorts: MGM, Monte Carlo, the Mirage, Harrah’s, the LINQ, and the Orleans, while also visiting the Aria and, of course, the Rio.
Each night during my time in Vegas, before my head hit the pillow, I made sure to jot down notes of everything I had experienced and everyone I had seen and met over the previous 24-hour period. I knew that those notes, combined with the pictures and videos I took, wouldn’t allow me to forget the details of the wondrous time I was having.
How Will My WSOP Stories Play Out?
To be quite honest, documenting the trip for all of you is somewhat of a daunting task. So much happened, and I have so many stories to tell that it’s hard to know where to start. I also know that I’ll need to do my best to recount all the details while simultaneously not getting too bogged down in them.
Hopefully, over the next few weeks, you won’t tire of reading the tales I have to tell. I promise not to bore you with hand histories or anything like that. Rather, I hope to entertain you as I recount what it was like to walk the hallways of the Rio and take pictures with legends. I hope to properly convey the awe I experienced while standing at the edge of the Pavilion Room and while having dinner with some poker legends. I hope to inform future WSOP visitors with some valuable tips about what to do and not to do while in town for the ultimate poker festival. I hope you can somehow be as enchanted as I was when I tell you about some players I faced at the felt, or what it was like to play in my first live poker tournament in almost half a decade.
Of course, there will be plenty of images – and hopefully even a special video that my friend is helping me with – that I’ll be able to share with you as well, which will hopefully complement my “coverage”. I’ll also be drawing from my WSOP experiences on upcoming episodes of the Top Pair Home Game Poker Podcast and in video segments for PokerUpdate.com.
Part of getting back into my regular daily routine is realizing and accepting that my free time is limited, so it will take a while for all the stories to pour forth on these pages. Some of them may only perhaps see the light of day in the more distant future; I suppose time will tell how the stories will play out.
While it may have taken me 13 years to finally make it to the World Series of Poker, I sure hope I get to keep on attending in future years. I felt a tremendous sense of belonging and “being among my people”. Regardless of what the future holds, however, I will cherish the memories of my first WSOP forever.
My trip in a nutshell ? pic.twitter.com/mjQ92my8ci
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 26, 2016