The world was on tilt.
We were in a field--a bivouac for souls simultaneously lost and found--under a Florida moon and looking at the world through glasses you can't buy on eBay. We were headed for shelter, a place where we would gamble but never once open a deck of cards. Gambling was as inevitable as morning, but the method was a matter of choice. It would become a test of endurance, of will, of sheer stupidity.
For the moment though, a beat had diverted our attention. At 40 yards, the tent shimmered and shocked and beckoned our crew like no light in Las Vegas could. It made no sense, and yet it was the only thing at the moment at that mattered. It was the last thing we expected to see, save perhaps Bill Frist.
Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot turned his head, like a dog that hears a bag of food being opened in the next room.
"Is that Michael Jackson?" he said, and started walking in the other direction.
I protested quietly. It wouldn't have mattered if I yelled, because Neil was already halfway to the big white tent. My wife was trailing him. Pauly, Uncle Ted and I plodded along and wondered what silliness we were about to get ourselves into. When we breached the flaps of the tent, we heard some Jackson 5 quickly morph into some late 70s female funk. How we'd stumbled into a 70s dance party, I don't know. All I know is that everyone in the tent was suddenly looking at us like their drugs had finally kicked in. They smiled, they screamed, the jumped with elation like we'd not seen in a long time. Why? Well, the men in our group were dressed like this.
We were the party.
"Thank you for coming to my wedding reception," Neil screamed, "I love you all!"
For the next half an hour, we danced like 70s white boys. Women came from across the tent to grind and slobber. It was everything we never knew we wanted coming down on us like a truckload of polyester. The moment reached its zenith when the only pair of fake breasts on the entire Indian Reservation climbed Uncle Ted and treated him like a stripper pole. The irony was enough reason to let it happen.
When we finally made it back outside, a blonde girl ran up to us.
"I want to be your manager," she gushed.
Dr. Pauly looked at her straight in the face and didn't crack a smile. "We don't need a manager," he said with a little more force than I expected. "We need a choreographer."
We walked away without another word.
Why do I bring it up today?
Well, Human Head and the LasVegasVegas boys posted a list of their top five poker blogs. This blog was on the list. Being among the others on this was humbling. And that's not just smoke for your ass. That's the truth.
Every one of the blogs and/or authors on the list have come a long way in just the last five years. It's sort of amazing to consider what has become of everybody. Some have gone on to become rather famous in the industry. Others have gone on to work for major companies in the business. Others have started up their own companies and have done pretty damned well for themselves. In large part, it all happened because they started a poker blog. It still doesn't make sense.
Still, that's not really the point. The point, at least as far as I'm concerned, is the friendships I've made as a result of this silly little effort. The story above was just half an hour of my life, but it was a half an hour that never would've happened but for meeting Pauly through the blogging community. I have countless more moments like it.
There was the time BG, Al, Eva, and G-Rob showed up in the Bahamas to party with me on my first live blogging gig, the time Pauly gave me a personal bar tour of his own city, the time I woke up in my own house and found Iggy and Daddy begging for bacon.
Of course there was also the Louisiana roadhouse experience with BG, G-Rob, and Badblood; the entire crew of people who came out of nowhere to show up for the last Bradoween; spending a week watching zombie movies with Absinthe; eating gelato with Wheaton and Absinthe and feeling vaguely effeminate for it; and, ah, hell, you get the point.
There are tons of Vegas experiences I could write about the dozens of people who have befriended me over the years. Each one of them is memorable and fantastic. Regardless, it's the real life I've had outside of poker and Vegas that make me feel great at the end of it all.
I don't make friends easily. I don't know how much longer this poker blog will be around. I don't know how much longer I'll be playing poker. Hell, I don't know much of anything about anything. I do know, however, that if the blog dies, if I go broke, and if I never go to Vegas again, I'll still have a lot of people I can call friends because of this thing. Even if there is no more success in poker, that's reason enough for me to believe this is one of the top five poker blogs. It's paid off dividends I'll never give up.