November 12, 2002

THERE! On the horizon, see it? You squint into the rising sun, shade your eyes, and stay glued to the vision as you approach. A small group of atolls appear, growing larger as the current and wind carry you closer. Just as you reach the first one, the tide changes, the water races across the atoll, sending up a spraying shower that’s filled with life. The sound and sight over run your senses.

You see a meek little “YOU-u-u-”, fall out of the spray. Left stranded on the atoll, it scurries frantically for any crack or hole that will carry it back into the spray it came from. It finally gives up and cowers in a crack, with closed eyes and bowed head, it shakes and trembles each time the surf hits the atoll.

Without turning your head, you witness another “YOU” jumping far above the surf that’s turned into a boiling, mass of foam, spray, and twisting writhing life. This “YOU” is a predator. Teeth gnashing and snapping with every leap, protruding eyes search every crack and pit in the atoll and the surrounding surf, before it falls back into the water, bracing for another hungry leap.

On the edge of the atoll, appearing torn between returning to the boiling surf or staying, another “you” looks longingly at the surf, then back across the atoll, peering intently at the life beginning to teem across its surface…suddenly its gaze jerks back to the surf and then slowly returns to the atoll, time after time. The “you” scratches its head…decisions, decisions, decisions.

One “y-o-u” perches calmly on a jutting ridge in the center of the atoll. This “y-o-u” watches all the other “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you” and you. There is no emotion or spark. Calm, observing eyes that never blink or look away, keep slowly searching every “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, and”you” as it appears.
Another “yOu” comes in airborne, landing in a sliding heap, it jumps up and runs to the center of the atoll. Never slowing down, it walks, back and forth, poised on the tip of its feet, ready to jump in any direction at any given second. It feigns indifference but its stance and continual walk tell another tale.

A set of shifty eyes that look in all directions and keep rotating, precede a “yoU” that rolls up out of the surf. This “yoU” does a slithering slide to the center of the atoll trying to keep up with its eyes.

Now they come, all the “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you”, “yOu”, “yoU”, and some that you didn’t even know were there. They hustle to the center of the atoll, perching on protruding rocks and crags that would bust your butt, forming a circle.

Oh wait! It’s not an atoll, it’s a poker room and the whole bunch is converging on a table where a game is just starting. That’s carpet under your feet, not surf, and your sails were trimmed at valet. You’re here to join all the “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you”, “yOu”, “yoU”, in a friendly game of poker.

The only thing you have to decide, is which “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you”, “yOu”, “yoU”, are you and which group of “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you”, “yOu”, “yoU”, you want to play with.

*****

This post by Chanzes when Linda was taking a break.

About Linda R. Geenen

The easiest way to begin is to start at the beginning. But where is that? At what point does one suddenly decide they are going to spend the rest of their life involved in the intricate art of the dance? What is the art of the dance? A game about people - played with a deck of cards. Poker! I stepped into the poker world in 1980 in Missoula, Montana. I didn't know anything about poker, couldn't tell you what the difference was between a bet and raise, or if a straight beat a flush. I had three boys to feed, needed a job and a dealing spot was open in one of the local bars. I played my first hand of poker in a 5 Card Stud game (with the help of one of my bosses) and that was it! I was hooked. I lived, breathed, slept, dreamed, ate, and talked poker. I eventually ran my own games (licensed by the County) in several different bars in Missoula, and at one point, managed the games in the bar where I started my first dealing job. In 1987 I traveled from Montana to Nevada to deal major poker tournaments, returning to Montana at the end of each one. In 1989, I opened The Mirage – along with 6,400 other people. In 1993, I moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and opened Grand Casinos Poker Room, returning a year later to Las Vegas and The Mirage. In 1998 I opened Bellagio - along with over 9,000 other employees. In 2003, I dealt the final table of the Aruba Ultimate Bet Poker Classic event. Hey…I’m on TV! I had the privilege of being chosen as the dealer in the Howard Lederer videos that have been released on No Limit Holdem. I play poker on a regular basis and I deal to every name brand player that is still above ground and breathing air, the elite, the freaks, the ne’er do wells, the rich, the poor, the illiterate, the educated, the beautiful, the ugly, the superstitious, the rational, the sane, and the insane. Perhaps I am the one that is insane but if I am, I fit right into the game plan. Five nights a week I walk into the greatest, social melting pot known to mankind. I no longer dream about it but the art of the dance is prevalent in everything I do - see you there!
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