Sunday, May 07, 2006


It took several days to convince myself that I really, really wanted to go out to Las Vegas again in early July to catch the World Poker Blogger Tour, be there to support Saeko-san and any other Japanese players who are entering the earlier WSOP events, and generally get some more Vegas time in.

The biggest hurdle was getting over the guilt about spending money and vacation time to go out to Las Vegas again when I was just there in December. Sure, it's fine for those of you who live in the States but when I have to fly a third of the way around the entire goddamn world, I have to fight that nagging voice in my head about if it makes sense. The scary part is when the nagging voice insinuates that if I'm so willing to spend my time, vacation, and money to fly off to Vegas instead of relax on the beach in the sun of Koh Samui, I must have some sort of gambling problem.

My dad has been a regular smoker since well before I was born. I respect the hell out of my father - extremely intelligent (he was a rocket scientist [no shit] for aerospace companies his entire life), ex-marine, very reasoned, fit, and self-disciplined. But I remember many times when I was growing up he would try to force himself to quit, either cold turkey or to wean himself off a little at a time. For a while he switched to pipe smoking, which I gather isn't as amazingly bad for you as cigarettes, and which smells a lot less disgusting to boot. He never managed to give them up. He's addicted to this day.

The thing that really sits like a cold stone in the pit of my stomach is the thought that my father, pretty much my hero growing up, strong, smart, disciplined -- he fought against his addiction to tobacco, and he lost. Tobacco controls him, and until they eventually kill him, he spends some part of his life not doing what he wants, but what they want.

I have fun in Vegas, and I enjoy low-stakes gambling, poker and other games as well. But I never want to find my life being controlled by gambling.

So after a lot of questioning myself and justifying my motivations, I realized I really wanted to go out not for the gambling, but to be there for the experience, to meet Cinci Sean and Brent Stacks from the Lord Admiral podcast, to hang out (hopefully) with some of the bloggers whose amazing work I read and appreciate every day, and to see my friends and the people I play poker with every week or two out there in the goddamn World Series of Poker. It would almost be worth it if I didn't have any chance to play anything myself.

Of course, as long as I'm out in Vegas, I'm going to play. Let's be reasonable.

I still need to run this by my manager at work and confirm the time off - if there are no concerns, then making the travel arrangements should be straightforward. I'm actually thinking of renting a car and maybe getting out of town for a bit, to go see the stars in the clear desert air. And I could visit some of the outlying casinos, and even save some money by staying at a non-strip hotel. If all works well, I'm hoping to rent one of the Honda hybrids - there's a firm in LV that handles environmental-friendly car rentals, and I'd love to try one of those guys out. Hell, gas might be up to $4 a gallon in the States by then.


Ignatious said...

damn man, i sure hope you show up! :)

James said...

If I make it, I'll be looking for you, man. You're really short, right?