Monday, July 28, 2008

A Day In the Life

My friends and family continue to ask what exactly it is I do every day when I am working. Considering most of them have little to no understanding of poker, the task of explaining a typical work day becomes markedly more difficult. However, I am going to try to give it a go.....

11:00AM - Arise. The other P5ers will attest that I generally get up earlier than this because I am a bit of a freak, but I am going to say 11AM to convey to you how late the day starts. It is fantastic and one of the best things about the gig.

11:15AM - When I was with P5s, we would usually leave right around now to drive to the Rio. At WPT I was fortunate enough to stay at the Bellagio, so I literally just took the elevator down to the "office".

11:30AM-12:00PM - This is the time right before play starts for the day. I will set up my laptop, gather pen and paper, etc. At P5s, we had the text phone to deal with and, since I adopted this task as mine, I would go through the texts and figure out where people were seated. The logisitcs of preparing for the WSOP are much larger in scope than the WPT. At Bellagio, a good glance around the room and I was ready to go in terms of knowing where people were sitting. At WSOP, we had to figure out if people were playing in any of the other rooms like Brasilia or Tropical or even if people had been seated over in the casino, which was about 1/3 of a mile away.

12:00PM-2:00PM - Now, depending on what day of play it was, this time would vary drastically. If it was the first day, at P5s we tried to go and get pictures of players to upload to a gallery. Sounds simple, right? ::snicker, snicker::

Photos are an unbelievably time consuming process because they must be uploaded, edited, cropped, resized, named, uploaded, and named once again. Several other steps have been omitted from the process, but just trust me that it was always a major pain in the ass. I actually LOVED taking photos and felt like I got to be a decent photographer by the end of the summer, but I also felt like I wasted away several hours of my life I won't be getting back seated in front of my laptop, missing the action, trying to edit the countless cans of All-In Energy Drink out of the frame of a picture.

As an aside, if you ever look at the photos on P5s Live, you can easily figure out who took which photos. Jill's are the beautiful, almost artistic looking ones. They are of a quality that shames the rest of us and I am super jealous of her mad skills. Mine are the ones that are quite closely cropped. They also tend to have all sorts of crap like water bottles, food, etc in them, because I am so short that my angles are a little low sometimes. Adam's, God love him, are usually of people looking down or not paying any attention to the camera nor the action at the table, and Brett's, because he is so tall, look as if they have been photographed from space =)

Anyways, this is the time I usually just figured out who was playing and where they were sitting. I would try to catch a couple of big hands to report on and tried to do one chip count as well, but this was usually when I would do more non-poker related posts about what is going on around the Rio since the hands and pots were generally rather small and less than thrilling.

2:00PM-Dinner Break - This was the time where we would start to catch more big hands, eliminations, early chip leaders, etc. As the WSOP progressed, this part of the job got much easier because players began to recognize and get to know us. Oftentimes, if we missed a big hand, they would tell us about it to report on versus us returning to their empty seat and wondering whatever happened to them.

During breaks, especially at the WPT, I would try to snag the guys who were doing well and chat with them about how their day was going that way I could provide some sort of explanation as to how someone went from having 100 chips to having 150,000.

Dinner Break-End of Play - At the WSOP, often several events would be running at the same time and we would just try to divvy up the workload by events with each of us taking two that were being played in close proximity to each other. It was also the time where things got to be a bit more exciting. For those who have never watched a poker tournament before, it is fascinating to me to watch how the demeanor of the players changes as play progresses and this was the point in time where it would start to get really nervewracking as their would only be 4 or 5 tables left and you began to really think someone you were covering was going to win.

For the WPT, we actually started Hand-For-Hand coverage when there were only two tables of players left. To quickly explain, Hand-For-Hand coverage is detailed descriptions of what occurred during every single hand played at the table. It is great for those following the event over the net because they are able to see trends and patterns in the way people are playing. For example, if you look back at coverage of Bellagio Cup, you'll see that once we were down to 7 or 8 players, Per Ummer went nearly 30 hands (which is quite some time) without voluntarily putting a single chip in the pot.

I would imagine this would be a great way for players to review their play too, much in the same way online players review hand histories provided by the poker sites. I have never asked anyone about it though, so I could be wrong.

In terms of logistically how we as reporters were able to do Hand For Hand Coverage, when it was down to 2 tables, we split into teams of two. Jeff and I would trade off and watch 5-6 hands and return to the computer to type them up while the other person watched play. Once it got down to one table, Andy and I traded off transcribing each hand and bringing it to BJ, who would type it up on the computer.

Wow, this is very quickly getting uber-long, but that is basically the gist of my day. On early days of play, we would get done at a relatively reasonable hour, but some events at the WSOP had me staying until 5AM and 6AM (mostly the shootouts). Once again, thank goodness for the noon starting time.

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