Imagine sneaking up behind Jules Verne, clocking him with a lead pipe, and stuffing him into a freezer. Then thaw him out almost two hundred years in the future and show him videos explaining the fax machine, the atom bomb, and Paris Hilton. Now look at that expression of slack jawed, bewildered disbelief on his face. That was the expression that I wore for about 43 minutes the day before the final event of the World Series started. That was when I first laid eyes on the 1st annual Poker Lifestyles Exhibition, a convention hall full of vendors that you had to walk through to get to the tournament area in the Rio.
Now it may come to pass that in the far future my reaction will seem very confusing. Not so many people find it bizarrely jarring to walk into a Foot Locker store and see Michael Jordan sports jerseys and other NBA merchandise. Perhaps my initial reaction to all this poker marketing will seem very dated very shortly but for me the Poker Lifestyles gig is still a little disorienting.
Sure there has always been a "poker lifestyle" but it just wasn’t really something that you wanted decent folk to even see, much less ask them to buy. Not very long ago the poker lifestyle was somehow being able to scrounge up enough money to play Twister with hookers in your hotel even though you were living out of the back seat of a ‘92 Lincoln. Now, believe me, I’m not saying there’s anything intrinsically wrong with that. I’m just saying I didn’t think it was something for which you would get your own bobblehead doll.
Anyway, here’s a couple quick snapshots from the inaugural Lifestyle exhibition:
In case you were wondering what you would get if you applied the acute aesthetic sense of a poker player with the stylish world of high fashion I imagine it might look something like this.
As promised: bobbleheads! I just checked the website and the Mel Judah bobblehead has officially sold out. The funny part being that I’m not kidding. Way to go Mel.
Here I am actually standing next to Mr. fancy pants acclaimed author PETER ALSON. Or as we used to call him at the club in New York: Peter.
Here’s Peter researching his upcoming book on this year’s WSOP, a book about trying to win the money he needed for his pending wedding and the life he’s starting with his new wife. What does that have to do with playing poker with trade show hussies? I haven’t quite figured that out myself but since I think the readership of this blog consists solely of my parents and you I don’t imagine Peter’s wife will see this.
Now having this at the poker show actually made a lot of sense. When you think of poker lifestyle what do you think of? Exactly, you think of filthy tax cheats. Sure you could put stacks of hundred dollar bills in a safe deposit box at a bank but who wants "The Man" knowing you’ve got a box somewhere that could possibly have something in it. That’s where the Sovereign Solution comes in. The only I.D.ing that they do is through biometrics. Instead of giving them an address and driver’s licence you just go through a retina scan. No paperwork to link you to whatever you want to lock away in the Sovereign vaults. Of course if you’re ever in a horrible Lawn Jarts accident and lose your scanned eye I’m not quite sure what happens to your vault.
Ans speaking of taxes, this is an actual picture of my actual accountant at the Bodog booth. I can smell the audits from here.