Vegas Virgin Diary: WSOP here I come

We join poker reporter William Powell for his first ever WSOP, where he will be sharing what it's like to be a Las Vegas virgin.

// poker player dreams of going to Las Vegas to play in Word Series of Poker and I’m no different. With the winner of the Main Event guaranteed $10,000,000 there are over 70,000 players heading for the desert city to chase bracelets and life changing sums of money. This year, for the first time, I will be joining them.

I’ve been fascinated by poker for nearly ten years now, playing, reading, watching and writing about it, but I’ve never been to the centre of the poker world. Ever since I read Big Deal by Anthony Holden I have wanted to go and experience the thrill of being at the biggest and best poker tournament in the world, and now at last I have my chance.

Playing the Main Event will have to remain a dream for now though as I will be in Vegas to work as a tournament reporter. Seven long weeks of long days charting the progress of some of 65 events on offer lie ahead. I’ve covered a lot of big tournament in Europe but the World Series is something else entirely. While I’m in there I’ll be sharing with you my first impression of Vegas right here on

Not a good town for psychedelic drugs

// WSOP is celebrating ten years at the Rio this year having previously been held at Binion’s. While some of the history and romance of the legendary tournament may inevitably have been lost since the move, in the opinion of Seth Palansky WSOP VP of Communications, “The Rio has become the heart of the WSOP while Binion’s Horseshoe will always be its soul.”

I’m feeling really excited about my trip from London to the States but with all the stories I’ve heard about Vegas there is a little trepidation mixed in there too. I’m expecting my senses to be assaulted from every direction, strange sights and sounds arresting me around every corner. The Rio has already promised a Frisbee and dogs act to accompany the cry of “Shuffle up and deal.” As Hunter S. Thompson put it, “No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted.”

A walk down the Strip at night is high on my list of priorities to begin with. I plan to indulge in some people watching as I sample the nightlife and look on in awe as the ballers splash thousands of dollars on bottle service at tables crammed with impossibly glamorous women. Perhaps I may even make it past the velvet rope with the help of some connections and a few greased palms.

There might also be a trip to fire off some badass guns in the desert to see if I can understand the obsession with guns that Americans are so notorious for. My fear of dying in a helicopter crash may have to be overcome to fly over the Grand Canyon.

And what about the seedier side of Sin City? A visit to a strip club has been discussed by some colleagues and if I get dragged along it may be my duty to go, purely for research purposes you understand.

Will seven weeks in Vegas break me?

// have heard mixed report of the food on offer, but the news that Hash House a Go Go is now open 24-hours a day has created tremendous excitement among some of my colleagues. I can only wonder what delights await me there.

I may not be playing any bracelet events but that doesn’t mean I won’t be playing any poker though. That would be madness. I’ve been advised of a number of good places to play so I’ll be trying my luck at some of the cash games and maybe throw in a tournament or two on one of the few days I’m not working. From what I’ve been told the games can be pretty fishy so I’m sure I’ll fit right in.

I’m expecting it to be a long hard grind. I’m expecting to have an adventure and to return battle scarred with some tall tales to tell. Over the course of my time in Vegas I hope to relate to you what it’s like to be a first-timer at the biggest poker event in the world, the fantasies fulfilled and dreams crushed on the turn of a card, as well as some of the other bizarre and beguiling sights this glittering city throws at me.

Will seven weeks in Vegas break me? Will I fall in love with the glitz and be seduced by the 24-hour lifestyle, or will I end up a disillusioned and broken man, chewed up and spat out by the glittering machine like so many before me?

In a city that worships Lady Luck I hope you’ll wish me some.

William Powell Poker JournalistWilliam Powell is a freelance journalist and live tournament reporter for poker tournaments around the world. Primarily a live low stakes player he occasionally donates to the online poker community. 

This is his first time in Las Vegas and he will be reporting on what other Vegas newbies can expect from the City of Sin. 

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Comments (3)

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  • bennisboy


    Make sure you go to some of the pool parties. They are the shiz!
  • Marta


    There will be more updates coming from our Virgin. Who knows what Vegas holds for him.. ;)

    Stay tuned!
  • junfandan


    I still remember my first time - ah memories :)