Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Barry Greenstein made me cry

Not that it takes much. If you haven't read this story by now, you're probably not a poker player. So maybe this will change your opinions of poker players. This is from Pauly's writeup from the WSOP, when Barry Greenstein - the Robin Hood of Poker - won the Pot Limit Omaha Event and dedicated to Charlie, a poker player and blogger with terminal cancer.

I wish I could say that I was paying attention to the hand that Barry beat Paul Vinci with. I was distracted because all I could think about was Charlie and Spaceman.

A few moments after he won, Barry spoke to the audience and officially dedicated his victory to Charlie."This one is for Charlie," Barry said as a round of applause filled the room.Barry couldn't say much more because he was also playing in another WSOP event, the Pot-Limit Hold'em tournament, in the far corner of the poker room. On the way to his table, he barely spoke about his win to the media because he was all choked up.

Barry is one of the best poker players in the world and he always has his feelings in check at the table. For a brief moment though, he was overwhelmed with emotion and exposed his vulnerable side. I think a lot of us involved were a little teary eyed. I had to excuse myself and go into the hallway because I was about to cry. At that moment, the events at the World Series of Poker seemed meaningless compared to the battle that Charlie was fighting.

Situations like this make you reassess what's really important in life. Las Vegas is a city built on greed. Poker is a game that often attracts some of the lowest forms of life. However, in the past two weeks, there have been a small group of professional poker players who have earned my respect and admiration. Amidst all the darkness and debauchery, I have caught a few glimpses of the bright side of humanity. The hearts of some of the biggest sharks in Las Vegas are filled with compassion.Tonight was a special night at the World Series of Poker and Barry Greenstien made sure that we would all never forget a guy named Charlie Tuttle.

It brought back a lot of memories for me of when Blair died. Blair is my directing mentor who died of a staph infection brought on by his lung cancer. Blair at least touched many lives of his 27-year career as a college professor and leaves his legacy that way. The thing about Charlie's deal that really pisses me off is that he's only about 26, which is just cosmically fucked. Cancer is a motherfucker and it drives me batshit that we can fight wars halfway across the globe on the whim of some dipshit jug-eared moron and we still have millions of people dying across the globe each year from cancer and AIDS. Pisses me off. Makes me sad, and the standard redneck response to things that make you sad is to be pissed. And I am from South Carolina, after all.

Thanks Barry. Thanks Pauly. Thanks Spaceman, you've got the hardest gig of all.


1 comment:

JasonSpaceman said...

You take the gigs you're given and play them the best you can - not much else you can do, right? :-)

Thanks for your sympathy.