One of the weird things about Vegas you won’t know if you’ve never been is that when you sit in your hotel room behind your hermetically sealed windows it’s totally silent. I’m looking out now from the 17th floor down the length of the strip and it isn’t garish or brash or loud it just sits quietly – it’s sparkling shimmering self. It looks completely peaceful and I’ve always found a strange calm here that I don’t in other places.
I’ve had some of the happiest times of my life here and some of my most important life experiences. It’s been my escape from real life and the place I’ve always come to when nowhere else made sense.
It isn’t as special as it once was and there are too many memories here now of different times and people that tend to crowd out what I do each day here. I need another rest from Vegas – I need new places and experiences. But there’s one experience left to have.
Tomorrow I’ll play in the ‘world championship of poker’ for the first and maybe only time. It’s something I’ve dreamed of doing for almost 20 years and it’s the last thing I have left to do in poker that I want to do and haven’t.
Sitting here I have no idea if it will last a couple of hours, a couple of days or – please baby Jesus – 4 months. There are many better more experienced players than me in the field. There are also many many more who are worse. Like every one off poker tournament for every individual player my experience of it will be mostly dictated by luck.
I hope I play my best and play hard each hand. Of course I hope I cash and go super deep. But really the most important thing for me is playing it. I always say poker is about money but this is different for me because it accidentally has become the one big thing I have left to do.
I know when I bust out I’ll be sadder than normal – whether it’s tomorrow or in November it’ll be like the end of a journey that started the first time I read about Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar and Johnny Chan nearly 20 years ago.
Of course when the cards are in the air and I’ve got chips in front of me it’ll be just like any other game – just me and the 8 idiots unlucky enough to have drawn my table. I intend to enjoy every minute of it as I don’t know when it’ll happen again.
In the meantime I have absolutely no idea how I’ll get to sleep.
For more of Nick's writing and to download the UKs favourite poker podcast visit www.ontherail.co.uk