Friday, June 15, 2007

Live from the WSOP VIP Lounge!

As I type, I am waiting for prime rib.

I'm working on a profile for the Boston Globe of Annie Duke and Howard Lederer, the Venus and Serena of poker who were raised in Concord, N.H. That's part of the Globe's New England readership. This sibling success story has fascinated me for years and I'm finally getting to write it, so earlier I supervised a photo shoot (above right) at the ESPN Final Table and then I was brought into the World Series of Poker V.I.P. Lounge for a leisurely, fascinating interview with Howard Lederer. (I had interviewed Annie about two weeks ago by phone.) Both of these interviews will likely be available on the podcast feed in coming weeks as the World Series of Poker heats up.

Anyhow, the VIP Lounge is an interesting place. Each poker player who has entry privileges paid $1,000 in a donation to the Nevada Cancer Institute. It's not a large room -- maybe 40 feet by 20 feet, but it has a pool table and a putting green, free Wi-Fi (obviously) and a buffet furnished by Del Frisco's Steakhouse near the Strip. The hostess just told me as I foraged for a snack that prime rib would be out in mere minutes.

Howard Lederer, (holding court on a couch at left) tells me that the VIP Lounge is like a de facto casino in its own right. Phil Ivey, he claims, was betting $10,000 a putt last night. I was putting earlier with Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, boyfriend of Jennifer Tilly, who surprisingly remembered me from the interview I did with both of them last year for Vegas Magazine at the CPK at the Mirage.

Fortunately, Laak didn't insist we bet. It's hard to believe sometimes that I am the son of a man who, in lean years of my childhood, made his living betting thousands on his golf game. He'd be so disappointed.

Prime rib's here! Yum!


Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to be a part of the WSOP. Guess I should schedule my next gambling trip to Vegas before the event.