I made my first mistake of this year’s WSOP about a month before we came here. I booked our flight on American Airlines rather than Air France. I like American Airlines but confidence is what this game is all about and Air France inspire a lot of this by not asking for details of your next of kin.
On the first leg of the trip, Veronique was preparing for battle in Binion’s by reading Harrington’s cash game book. As I know everything already, I don’t have to bother with that shit so I contented myself by studying the NBA playoffs in the newspaper – if you can call USA Today a newspaper. I was rudely interrupted when Vero asked what “treacherous” meant. I patiently explained that it was a word invented several hundred years ago by the Irish to describe the English when it transpired that they were only having a laugh when they signed the Treaty of Limerick. Surprisingly, despite his Irish ancestry, that wasn’t quite what Dan had in mind. He seemed to think it could be used to describe weak kickers. I let it go. We arrived in Chicago two hours before our scheduled flight to Vegas. No problems there. Except when we got to immigration there was a queue a mile long. Obviously, we weren’t expected. Vero was surprised but I explained to her that in all probability the joker who was responsible for the six hour lines at registration for the first event at the Rio last year had had a career change. Two hours later, we were still in line and I had a panic attack when I got to thinking that if Harrah’s were involved in this mess maybe ESPN were as well, in which case our new connection mightn’t get us to Vegas until November. The immigration guy was a nice lad and couldn’t wait to tell me that Chris Ferguson had been one of his customers. He was particularly impressed by Chris’s ability to inflict unspeakable cruelty on assorted fruits from a distance. I told him I also thought that this was indeed marvellous. Vero was next up and the guy was now really getting into the swing of things and hit her with two poker stories. Apparently he’d lost two big pots when he had the same hand as the other guy, except there was a slight difference in the kicker department. Luckily Vero didn’t use her new found knowledge on treacherous kickers to impress the guy or we’d probably still be in Chicago.
The next day, I went to the Rio and my suspicions re Chicago were confirmed. There was no line to get a player’s card so I got one. There was also no queue at registration so I assumed this was a sign from the Gods and registered for the first $ 1500 cavalry charge. It wasn’t. Three levels and one treacherous kicker later, I was on my way back downtown to see if I could get a quick read of Dan’s book without Vero noticing. This wasn’t a problem because having read the book, she was still in action in Binion’s.