"So close I can almost touch it" we be a good way to describe just about everything thats happening at the moment. I'm sure on a much bigger scale that's what Tom "Durrrr" Dwan felt like earlier in the week when he was just a few deals away from changing the landscape of the poker economy. If you haven’t got a clue what I'm talking about you should go and read the Durrrrr and WSOP Coverage over at the free and fascinating Tao of Poker.
My tales of close aren't nearly as big as the Dwan story but in my world they're still worth blogging about.
Tomorrow the World Cup kicks off in South Africa, the greatest sporting tournament on earth that we have to wait every 4 years for is back and we get to marvel in all it's controversy, emotion and beauty. It's easy to forget how good a World Cup is, especially during the first uninterrupted 20 days of football. One can reach the 10th straight day of football feeling completely saturated and exhausted. But the World Cup is rare, special and to be savoured so plan your appreciation of it carefully. It's becase the World Cup begins tomorrow that I know the last time I was in Las Vegas was 4 years ago this summer, waking up each morning at the Mirage, turning on the TV and spending the first 6 hours of the day watching the competition taking place in Germany and laughing at the US commentary. We watched England play badly but win their group, then on our return to home saw them get as far as the quarter finals before losing with 10 men to Portugal. In two weeks and one day I'll be back in Vegas. It's so close I can taste the scented air conditioning.
A lot has changed in the time in between. Englands expectations of their team winning the competition are perhaps lower than they've ever been, which one hopes will actually help the players have a better chance of getting further than last time. I've become a long-time blogger and better poker player. English commentary on one of our channels (ITV) has become worse than US commentary. I've bought a flat, and got a 'family' of two cats. The USD-GPB rate has tumbled as has the world economy. My hopes for this trip include seeing the WSOP mayhem for the first time and maybe even taking part in it. Meeting bloggers for the first time and learning to play craps. Avoiding exotic bets on sprint horses that don't even know they're in a race and avoiding the sucker bet of the 'private' dance in strip clubs. Older and wiser this time, but get a few too many beers in me and I'll still think a quick pop on a roulette table is a genius idea.
Last weekend my friends and I flew to London for a glorious day at Epsom watching the fastest ever time recorded in the Derby. It was incredible. The day before (Oaks day) I had a little exotic bet on the results that day. I selected a horse for each of the 6 races that day and did a combo so that if any 5 of them came in I'd win an obscene amount of money for a £2 bet. I was looking at 17-20k if this lottery hit. Bushman won. Tartan Gigha won. Fame and Glory won. I was beginning to hope. Thin Red Line streaked to the front two furlongs out but had gone too early and finished 3rd by a length. Aviate was a favourite for the Oaks and did absolutely nothing. My wager was dead. I still went to watch the 6th and final race on TV, just to extend the anguish. Shakespearean won. Meaning I'd successfully predicted 4 out of 6 winners for the day but not bet those combinations. A Shakespearean tragedy.
I've returned from that little trip feeling refreshed and revived and so online poker has made a welcome return. My first attempt back at the $3 rebuy saw me finish 340th for a cash, the second attempt last night a very similar 323rd. An attempt at a Sunday Million ticket which payed 2 tickets and $12 for third with 60 runners saw me finish as close as you can get without winning the seat, 3rd. Everything is so close lately I can taste it. Only the future knows if it's a mirage getting closer to reality or something just out of reach and slipping away.