Finally allowed to wake without the aid of the hotel staff, I call April and I head back over to the Rio around 1am. When I get there, they’ve opened up the main room to spectators again and I walk around looking for anybody I know. Striking out I call April again and she tells me she’s in the media room. I waltz right past the crack security and back into the media room where it’s a blogger convention going on. Otis, Pauly, CJ, April and a whole host of foreign journalist.
April and I go back inside and sweat Ryan some. She even lets me borrow her pass so I can mingle between the tables and say hi to Ryan.
I let Ryan play, April write, and I go try to find something to eat. Everything is closed though. I’m walking all over the Rio and there’s only one joint open over by the sports book. I buy hotdog and chow down a few bites while walking back to the main event hall.
As I pass the Shutters bar I notice something that seems a little strange but doesn’t quite register with me. Perhaps I’m dizzy from lack of food or something but I see an awful lot of couples who just seem off. You know that weird vibe you get when you see a couple and you know they didn’t come together? He’s dressed up in nightclub fashionable and she’s looking a little too ghetto. As I passed one couple I couldn’t help but think she looked like a prostitute.
So I get back just as their about to break for the night. I hear the tournament director treat everyone in the room like children as he barked out orders and all but called the players ignorant for not following his instructions. I somehow miss Ryan but text him and the responds that he’s at the hooker bar.
Like I said, it didn’t register. I had read stories about the hooker bar but didn’t put two and two together and had to call Ryan and ask where the hooker bar was since I highly doubted I would find it on a casino map labeled as such.
We call up Otis and he meets us in the hooker bar and we decide to grab a snack. Only place open is the Sao Paulo CafÃ© so that’s where we end up.
I remember the party after the blogger tournament I won at the Aladdin. I felt like I was in this totally different zone. People were talking to me and I was interacting with people but my mind was so fried that I felt like I was only observing myself operating in auto-pilot as my mind tried to spin down a bit.
I could see that look in Ryan’s eyes. He was there and he was talking but you know that his mind and completely exhausted. Hands are still playing in his head. Bits and pieces of the tournament are showing in a 24 screen theatre in his almost subconscious.
The three of us ordered beers with steak and eggs and enjoyed a wonderful meal that didn’t include crayons eating at 4am in the morning. When we got up to leave, the sun was rising.
I didn’t really spend any time thinking about it until the ride home but I really, really, really think Ryan could cash and even go pretty deep into the money in the main event. The way Ryan described his logic in some of the hands and the concentration he had to remember little details from hours prior in the tournament really wowed me.
I’ve been there at times. Not enough but I’ve been in that zone. Ryan can stay in that zone for long periods of time though and as I thought about it I had a mixture of newfound respect for him for having gotten his game to this level as well as a level of complete disgust at myself for the fact that I haven’t taken the game seriously enough in a long time to play at that level. I can cash. I can win limit games up to about $20/$40 but it feels so mechanical for me.
To some sick degree I feel like I can beat the games I play without getting into that zone so why even bother. Many of my losing sessions are directly attributable to the fact that I don’t care and I get bored. I decide to play marginal hands to liven things up a bit and unprofitably chase draws just because I think it might be fun to hit a long shot.
Talking to Ryan that night really put some motivation into me to get back in there and start working on my game. I saw in him the thing I started playing this game for in the first place and now I’m hungry to get it back.
Seeing Miami Vice with Ryan: A film review