Monday, August 21, 2006

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Diaries, Chapter Four: It's 'The Steve and Louie Show!'

Time for another tale from the floor of the WSOP Main Event, where a harmonic convergence on Day 1-C placed Steven Dannenmann and Louie Anderson on tables kitty-corner from one another, in the southeast quarter of the Amazon Room. I'm not sure which of the two drew the greater crowds; I'm going to go with Anderson, but only because he drew one of that day's first F-bomb penalties, being sent away from the table for the proscribed ten minutes. It happened quite early, so it had no real effect on his chips.

Just his demeanor.

Or, as he said when asked, "I'm watching what I say now." But Anderson was still being the card, playing the hall, waxing irreverently about this and that and the next. But how's the poker going, apart from the slip of the tongue?

"Well, I played a hand dumb, and a hand smart," starts Anderson, "but I lost both of them."

Thanks, Louie.

I ask about his chips, since they're a bit messy in front of him. "Well, here, let's count 'em up."

A quick count. "11,900," I say.

"11,900. A little above par, then." Par, or the starting chip stack, was $10,000. "And how's that doing?" Anderson asks.

It's a few hours into play, and a few dozen players have been sent to the rails, but not many, really, considering the 2,000-plus who started that day's play. "A little above par," I confirm, "so I'd say that's just about par." And I smile at him and wander off. Over to the Dannenmann table, where other crews had been filming until just a few moments before.

I take a photo. Dannenmann's having the blast that you'd expect, and even the dealer can't help her grin. I move for a better angle, and Dannenmann looks up at me, calls out, "Hey, are you from Australia?" Maybe Joe Hachem's threatened a posse.

"Nice try, Steve!" I offer back. "I'll let you know if they're around." And he's off into another of his stories, and then another --- the WSOP is just one giant home game to this guy.

I wander back down the aisle, past Anderson. Just then a loud, anguished groan comes from a player a couple of tables away. It's Louie's cue. "Good night everybody, and thanks for playing."

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