Walking the Halls at the WSOP, Part One

This might look like a photograph of a third-floor hallway at the Rio in Las Vegas, where I am living for a couple weeks, at the World Series of Poker. But it’s more than that. It’s where I go when I want to feel like I’m not going anywhere, but it’s hard to, because I’m always on the way to somewhere, or am I? See, I told you it wasn’t just a hallway.

Curious as to just how much walking I was doing, I did some pacing off. I happen to know how to walk so that each step is very close to one yard. I did that, while counting. Here’s my data:

My hotel room door is at the end of the hall. From my door to the elevators is 120 yards.

From the elevators to table 225 in the cash-game area – which is right in the heart of the $5-10 no-limit hold’em area, which is where I camp out – is 250 yards. Most of that is walking down a long, wide hallway to the convention area.

Total yards from door to table: 370.

I typically play three sets of poker per day. A set is about 100 minutes of playing. In between sets, I walk the halls. I go back to my room and dawdle and yoga and then walk back to the poker room. After the last set, I hall-walk back to my room. That’s six one-way walks per day.

370 yards x 6 = 2220 yards.

That’s 1.25 miles. Not bad, for a stationary activity. I’m going to add this on to my list of things I love about poker at the WSOP. It provides exercise!

It was delightful to play lots of poker with my good friend Matt Flynn. We had not played together for years, after playing together for years. Last week we played $5-10 NLHE several times, followed by leisurely debrief sessions about the hands, just like old times!

At the start of the first session, I pulled out my chapstick – the basic black and white kind – and balmed myself. I looked at Matt. He had the smuggest look on his face as he somewhat flamboyantly reached into his pocket. We didn’t make eye contact. I knew he would come out with his own classic chapstick and get balmed. A day or two later, when we played again, we did the same ritual. And then, last Thursday, at the DeucesCracked home game, we got in the same game, and without a word or a look, we exchanged our secret salute. Poker is fun.

One more Matt story. Our first session together was a magical day. We sat at either end of the table, and we played for seven hours. We both played our best and ran well and scored well. This one hand, I had 85 offsuit, and I folded before the flop. I am a graceful, efficient folder, and I had been stylistically folding all day long, showing off for my buddy Matt. When I folded the 85 offsuit, it was one of my standard moves where I lead the dealer’s swooping hand – like a quarterback leading a receiver – so that my cards disappear under the dealer’s moving hand without the hand needing to change course or speed. But something went slightly wrong this time, and my cards flipped up.

Matt said, “Bad fold.”

The guy next to Matt said, “Huh? He folded 85o. What’s bad about that?”

Matt didn’t reply. He knew that I knew what he meant.


  • Greg Amaro Posted July 15, 2011 11:11 am

    Dear Tommy, any advice for frequent Omaha folders? I find it impossible to get all four cards to land neatly, even with the one finger flick. Having long arms, I often end up stretch placing a neat stack as close to the dealer as possible, but this is getting old! Any advice welcome.

    “Frequently folding in Fresno”

  • Tommy Angelo Posted July 15, 2011 12:58 pm

    Hi Greg,

    “Dear Tommy, any advice for frequent Omaha folders?”

    Nope. You’re screwed. At least you’re not playing draw. 🙂

    I like the “stretch placing” description.

    Consider the serving platter fold, where you lift the cards (as slightly as possibly) off the table with your fingers underneath, thumb on top, palm facing 3/4 skyward, and graciously toss the cards with a horseshoe-like spin toward the dealer.

  • Lulugh Posted December 14, 2015 11:57 am

    Hola! I’ve lived in the Mission for 17 years as of this month, except the year I spent in HAFC rehab on Treasure Island (which is still in District 6). People were takilng about how much the Mission had gentrified when I moved here in 1995, and by now I bet there’s not a single joint on Valencia that will give you food poisoning for free. You probably spend more on coffee each week than I make in an hour, but I worked for Netscape, so you’re welcome. I was probably a hipster until I quit drinking, and yes, the Mission is still a great place to live even if you don’t enjoy hangovers.

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