April 08, 2010

If a Chainsaw Whines in a Forest (and There's No Tournament Director to Hear) ...

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

—George Santayana, in "The Life of Reason—Vol. 1, Reason in Common Sense"

Waking up at 5:00 am with a 50 pound puppy laying across my legs, I made the only smart play and let the sleeping dog lie.  So, I grabbed the iPhone and caught up on a bunch of blog flotsam and jetsam that had built up in Google Reader (my iPhone and Google Reader are the two tech innovations I once scorned, and now am addicted to after two months of use—keep me away from that infernal iPad before I'm fully assimilated into the coming Apple/Google Borg!).

Now, I knew from his Tweets that F-Train was on the East Coast to cover the NAPT event at the Mohegan Sun casino.  Lacking any blog updates from the lazy and shiftless F-Train, I was forced to resort to ESPN.com, of all places, to get some poker news.  Apparently, there is trouble right there in River City, with a capital "T", that rhymes with "C", that stands for ... "Chainsaw".  As reported by Andrew Feldman, tournament directors apparently underestimated the number of entrants for the Main Event.  So, those who had registered earliest (online qualifiers, satellite winners, and sponsored entrants) had seats in the 600-person tournament room, while later entrants were relegated to extra tables set up in the poker room.  Apparently, this led Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler—a notorious whiner once described as "like Larry David" but "more annoying" and "not as funny"—to complain about being seated in the overflow tables in the poker room:

For those professional players traveling across the country for the event, registering early Wednesday left them in the same room with and competing against those they knew best. Allen Kessler brought up the issue on Twitter, stating, "What a fiasco. Mohegan [NAPT] $5k sat all online qualifiers in ballroom, all pros buying in directly are in poker room."

To clarify Kessler's thought, the qualifiers and PokerStars Pros had their seats in hand before their arrival here at Mohegan, so they were part of the original grouping. Although he might have believed seating the pros and satty winners together was done intentionally, that clearly was not the case. It was more a case of an underestimate of attendance and, thus, a mistake in seating.

—Andrew Feldman, on his ESPN.com "Poker Blog" (8 April 2010).

This "you're being mean to the late registrants" mewling instantly reminded me of the carping from last year's WSOP Main Event, when the fourth (and final) "Day 1" seating was sold out, leaving a few hundred entrant-wannabes out in the cold (errr, technically wandering the blast furnace of Vegas in July).  Never mind that there were three other "Day 1s" available, any one of which could have accommodated the players who chose to wait for the last possible moment to enter the Main Event.  Nope, those players felt they had an absolute right to waltz in at the last minute and be guaranteed a seat, despite knowing there were limits on the seats available for each session.

These two incidents really highlight the "the world revolves around me" attitude of a significant percentage of poker players, particularly the poker tournament subculture.  Tournament structures suck, the buy-ins suck, the breaks suck, the schedule of events sucks, the way tables are broken sucks, the payout structure sucks, the dealers suck ... heck, I'm not sure there's anything that's actually done right in tournament poker, at least if you ask the players (Chainsaw's Twitter stream is, with apologies to Allan Bloom, a nonstop masturbational orgy of poker moaning). 

Well, I hate to break it to Chainsaw and his not-so-merry band of procrastinating poker pros, but out here in the real world, waiting until the last minute sometimes means you miss out:
  • If you wait until Christmas Eve to shop for Christmas gifts, you may find that the hot item of the season is sold out.  But, I suppose the merchant should have saved a few in the back, just for you.
  • If you arrive just before a movie starts, it may be sold out.  But, I suppose the theatre should have held back a few tickets, just in case you decided you wanted to see a flick.
  • If you wait until the week before a major holiday to make travel plans, flights and hotels may be sold out, or prices may be sky-high.  But, I suppose the airlines and hotels should have kept seats and rooms reserved for you at discount rates, just in case you decided to travel.
To be blunt, I really have no sympathy at all for people who decide to cut it close on deadlines for their own convenience, and expect—no, demand!—to be accomodated the same as those folks who planned ahead.  As an unknown wit so pithily observed:

"A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine."
So, to Chainsaw and his fellow whiners, y'all registered after the tournament was technically full.  You knew when registration opened, yet you got registered after 600+ other players.  I don't care what "excuse" you have for registering later than 600+ players, whatever your reason, you took a gamble by waiting.  The tournament had no obligation even to let you into the field at all, and did you a favor by adding tables to another room.  So stop whining about being in the auxilliary room with all of the supposedly tougher players.  You're fortunate to be in the field at all.

"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."

—Abraham Lincoln


  1. amen. I dropped complainsaw from my twitter feed cause he drove me so crazy!

  2. I wish the entitlement attitude was limited to poker players, I'm afraid it seems to be more prevalent throughout society today, but I have no facts to support this, just observations. It is irritating wherever it's experienced.