"Greg, I need to keep you a bit longer for some overtime today, if that's alright," said the shift manager. Normally it would be... but it was nearing 7 pm and I had to be at my next job at 8 pm. I told him that quietly, and he made arrangements to get my out the door on time. I walked briskly through the back of the house and cashed out my tips at the satellite cage, and then sprinted to my car. Peeling wheels out of the employee parking garage, I took a right on Industrial and sped to the RV park at Circus Circus. Luckily for me, my good friends are camped out there for a month. I asked Bree to borrow a towel and then grabbed the toiletry items from my "crash kit" and walked over to the shower. 10 minutes later, I emerged in just the towel and headed back to my car that I had parked next to their RV. This must have been the 3rd or 4th time this month I have had to do this. I must look like a high-class hobo that is living out of the back of his BMW. "This is what I signed up for," I told myself. Bree allowed me to change in the RV, and I hit the road moments later.
At about 2:30 am, while dealing the last 3 tables of the $2500 Limit Hold-em (6 player max) event, I hit a wall of fatigue unlike anything I have experienced in some time. At this point I was on the tail end of a 19 hour day that began with me waking after only 3 hours sleep from the previous nights work. Evidently, I had totally spaced out and several players at the table were trying to get my attention to put out the next card. I don't know if it was a few seconds or sixty. When they finally got my attention, I had no idea where I was or how I had gotten there. This lasted just a moment or so. I put together the pieces in my head...
Ok, I am at the WSOP. I am holding a deck of cards. Ok... got it...I am dealing. (this is literally my thought process) There was money in the pot. There were three cards on the board, yet two burn cards. Finally I figured out that I must have burned a card, and then been transported through a black hole into a state of complete numbness.
The players were annoyed and confused. The losing ones acting grumbly and irritated. The winning ones just looked at me curiously like one might examine a piece of modern art. "Right..." I said aloud, in a FUCKING ENGLISH ACCENT of all random things and put out the turn card. The rest of the hand proceeded as normal and play continued. Everything came back to me and I got my bearings. While preparing the deck for the next hand, I took a deep breath and exhaled loudly. The player immediately across from me asked me if I was ok.
"I think I'm gonna make it," I said, with a kind of longing desperation in my voice that expressed the exact level of uncertainty in my mind that I actually would. I looked at the dealer sign-up card in the chip tray and saw that I had signed it 5 times already, indicating that I had been at the same table for 2.5 hours. I really thought I was on the verge of complete mental and physical shutdown...something I hadn't experienced since fraternity hell week over a decade ago.
But I did make it. Around 3:00 am the tournament director told us to deal 3 more hands and then we would bag and tag the chips. It took about another 30 minutes to perform those tasks before I was dispatched back to the Pavilion room and to my dealer coordinator. It would not have been unusual at this point for her to have me deal a few downs in the live action area, but she had been made aware of the situation in the tournament and could probably see the 20 lb. bags under my eyes. "You ready to go?" I smiled and nodded emphatically. "Good night," she said.
I grabbed a small cup of coffee on the way out just to make sure I didn't pass out on the drive home. I made it in one piece. When I get some time after this month is through, I will detail some of the more exciting experiences of this little life experiment. Right now, I have to focus on just making it.