Thursday, June 05, 2008

Greetings From Las Vegas and the SOS Convention
Hello from Las Vegas to all my loyal readers. As much as I would like to give you the latest updates on what I am here for – up-to-the-minute up details on our annual Salami and Other Sausages (SOS) convention, I feel compelled to write about the crowd with whom I’m sharing my Las Vegas experience: this wild, crazy group of card players who have come to Sin City for their big event of the year, the World Series of Poker, or WSOP.

Talk about strangely dressed people … young tough guys (and they ALL wear sunglasses) with baggy pants and caps twisted sideways, guys wearing the funniest looking Hawaiian shirts you’ve ever seen (won’t find those at our local Wal-Mart!), women with … well, you know … hanging out all over the place. Wow – it is quite a scene.

I think that there are some religious overtones to this poker group, for just as I was about to leave my home base at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, a crowd gathered around some guy who everyone called “Jesus.” I must admit, the guy looked like every picture I have ever seen of Jesus, but I don’t think the Lord would come back as a poker player … do you?

I spoke with a rather friendly fellow from Arkansas who was here for the poker extravaganza. He regaled me with stories about colorful characters nicknamed “The Mouth,” “The Prince of Poker” (is that the musician who was renamed a symbol or something like that?), “Devilfish,” and other unusual names. I do think that there are some well-educated poker professionals in the crowd, however, since one tall player was referred to as “The Professor.” Maybe he was just here to lead a seminar – I don’t know.

I was irked to find that our SOS convention did not get prime convention space this year since the poker crowd is taking up all the normal ballroom and convention facilities. Instead of being in the Amazon Room, we were forced into small meeting rooms and told that the Rio was sorry, but they were “all in” for the poker convention. Some of the boys got a little frustrated and had some drinks in a place called the VooDoo Lounge. I did not go there myself since I do not believe in that sort of thing, but I do hope that they got free voodoo dolls and stuck a few pins in the managers of the Rio who have made us play second fiddle to the poker players.

Aside from the frustrations and inconveniences, it has been a tremendous learning experience for me. I had been known as a pretty good poker player in the war, and a gentleman working for a business called Full Tilt Poker pulled me aside and taught me how to play this game that everyone loves: Texas Hold Em. I just might try my luck against some of those guys wearing sunglasses. They can’t really see the cards anyway, can they?

Look for business to be back to normal tomorrow as I give you the latest updates from the braunschweiger and knockwurst caucuses, and the progress of Jenny McFadden, our nominee for National Kielbasa Queen.

This is Herman Goodfellow saying goodbye and good evening. May all your sausages be spicy, and may all your deli pickles be crunchy.


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