Monday, August 11, 2008

My vicarious life


I know the feeling. My friend Stuart Pfeifer got in his car in Los Angeles and headed toward Las Vegas, $1,500 in his pocket ("money that could be spent on something useful") and dreams of the World Series of Poker dancing in his head.

"The odds were so bad," Stuart writes, "that I might as well roll my window down and toss my hard-earned money into the blazing desert."

Except that he doesn't do that. He goes through with it, as I did last summer, entering a World Series event and taking his chances against 2,700 players including some of the pastime's biggest names. Happily, he fared much better than I did. He not only lived to tell about it, in an excellent first-person story in Saturday's LA Times, but he finished in the money, for a profit of about $7,000. Awesome.

I'm happy for him, and also unaccountably proud. I had nothing to do with his success, of course, but Michelle and I played with Stu in a home game a couple of times, and introduced him and another LAT colleague and friend, Joel Rubin, to the addictive, stressful (at first) fun of playing poker in a casino.

Safe to say they've both gotten over those early-days jitters. Stu and I played at the Commerce in April on an early Pie-in-the-Sky stop (he cleaned my clock; I snapped the above photo moments later), and Joel recently sent a hilarious recounting of his bad-beat exit from a tournament at Hollywood Park in LA. "My nemesis?," he said in an email. "I am told later his name in Sam Simon -- one of the creators of 'The Simpsons.' Worth, literally, a billion dollars. He cashed at the 2007 WSOP and was married to Miss January."

Anyway, I'm happy for Stuart. Great finish, great story.

Maybe next year Michelle and I and Stahlberg and McCumber and Sam Skolnik (our P-I friend now working and winning in Vegas) will meet Stu and Joel at the final table.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Loved Stuart's story.......even made me want to head for the Muckleshoot.