Woody violently shakes me awake at 6 o’clock in the morning.
Hours ago, I passed out on three aluminum folding chairs placed side by side. Now, dazed and still inebriated from a dozen gin-and-tonics and at least as many Coronas, I squint to get my bearings. We appear to be on the dark periphery of a crowded hotel function space. I make out metal bleachers filled with a far-too-animated mass of humanity. On the other side of the bleachers is a brightly lit poker table.
"C'mon, wake up," Woody implores. "It's down to just Steve and the Australian."
The fog in my brain slowly lifts. Las Vegas. Downtown on low-rent Fremont Street in the Glitter Gulch district. We arrived yesterday and have unexpectedly spent hours here at Binion's Horseshoe (now Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel), for the last day of the main event of the 2005 World Series of Poker, aka WSOP.
The action has played out through the night and if I understand correctly, our friend Steve Dannenmann and Aussie Joe Hachem are now the last two players left alive after a seven-day tournament.
"Get up," Woody hisses. "You'll miss it."