In fact, nothing is real here at the Rio Hotel and Casino. It's all a dream. A dizzyingly intoxicating dream. And every fiber of my being is still trying to absorb it all, still trying to catch up with the craziness that started five weeks ago. Today was the Media/Celebrity event, a tournament for charity where us media folk tried our hand at No-Limit Hold'em among a scattered array of celebrity notables.
Over 400 entrants sat dispersed amongst the World Series tables and competed for a grand total of $10,000 to be donated to the charity of the first place winner's choice. No matter how you finished, you weren't going to see any cash (there was no buy-in) but it was for a good cause, and did I mention we were sitting at the World Series tables? I was sweating in the same seats that had cupped the derrieres of Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. It was too unfathomable to believe.
If I thought that a chimpanzee with the $10,000 buy-in being denied entry into the Main Event due to lack of I.D. was the most unbelievable incident so far, I was truly mistaken. Before that, it might've been when Men "The Master" Nguyen followed me on my pee break and asked me to find a "song" in the women's washroom ("Song" turned out to be the name of the lady Nguyen was looking for, whom I did find behind bathroom stall number two). But all this was trumped by today's Media/Celebrity event, where Elvis sat at one table serenading the dealer and porn star Ron Jeremy chatted up the ladies at another.
But Ron Jeremy wasn't the only sex industry celeb to grace the playing field. Sex symbol, Cindy Margolis didn't need to worry about having a revealing poker face as she kept her opponents easily distracted with her great orbs of female...wisdom. Not surprisingly, Margolis did pretty well, lasting until there were only four tables left. Boy, were they sad to see her go.
As the celebrities got knocked out and the battlefield got smaller, it dawned on me that I was still playing, that I was still alive. We were down to two tables. I looked out into the crowd gathered along the rails and saw Wesley Crusher from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (actor Wil Wheaton). We made eye contact and he smiled. Like a big sci-fi geek I smiled back feeling like I'd just been transported to the holodeck where my fantasy of making it to the final table materialized.
But it wasn't a hologram in a spaceship. I actually did make it to the final table. Sure there was no money for me, no bracelet to be had, and yes, I busted out pretty quick (seventh place), but it was still a final table at the World Series of Poker. And nothing, not even Ron Jeremy propositioning the poker playing chimp for his next movie, can beat that.