Vegas is just about as far removed from Gozo as you can get but that’s where we’re headed at the end of the month, returning to the US on May 27 and sticking around until July 19, when we’ll hop on a jet plane and head back to Gozo (with a pit stop in London in between both ways).
For the last five years I’ve spent a chunk of the summer in Las Vegas working at the World Series of Poker doing blog updates and photos for an online poker site; it’s that work that’s taken me to all sorts of countries around the world and was a big factor in us moving to Gozo last fall.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is by far the biggest poker event of the year, with more than 60 different tournaments held from late May until the middle of July with many millions of dollars awarded in prize money throughout the series.
The $10,000 buy-in Main Event is the capper to the WSOP and serves as the unofficial world championship; if you want to win one poker tournament in your life, that’s the one to win, with the winner taking home $8-$9 million in cash and carving their name into poker history.
Every other year I’ve been out for just the Main Event, arriving at the end of June and leaving around July 20 or so. This year is a bit different, though, as for the first time I’ll be out for the entire WSOP and I’ll also likely have a much different work experience, as the company I previously worked for (and still sort of work for) has scaled back on their marketing efforts so there’s no money to send me out this year to work just for them as in past years.
I do work for a few other poker companies as a freelancer, though, so I wasn’t sure what to do, as there’d be some work for me if we headed out to Vegas but no guarantees as in past years of 14-16 hour days for 2+ weeks of poker action — hard work but also really god money.
The tipping point for us was the chance to attend a family reunion/memorial for a week in June in New Mexico; since we’d be heading to the US anyway it made sense to roll the dice and head off for the WSOP, gambling a bit that, you know, things will work out.
It’ll be very nice to see family regardless and I should be able to scrape up enough work to at least pay for the trip, so while I won’t be returning home with bags of money this year it’ll hopefully be a more relaxed, enjoyable experience and we’ll have time to do the tourist thing in Vegas again together, something we haven’t been able to do for years and years as when we’ve been there lately I’ve been swamped with work.
We’re also planning on stocking up some things — including a new laptop and iPad for Sarah — and catching up with friends, as it’ll be our first time back in the US since last September-October.
Vegas is going to be a pretty drastic change of pace from Gozo but it’ll be nice to have a taste of civilization for awhile and see old friends, recharging the travel batteries a bit before our next big adventure.
Below are some of the photos I took at last year’s WSOP, which is one thing I’m really looking forward to this year as I’ll have much more time to spend on personal photos and writing, instead of trying to chase down and count chips for 50+ poker players as they sit there and play among a field of thousands and thousands of players.[Gallery not found]