Large collections of people of a certain age coming together for a special event is a sight to see. Anyone who's been at Fry's on Senior Wednesdays (1st of the month; you've been warned) can attest to this.
But it pales in comparison to what will go down today in the Rio Convention Center in Las Vegas, where a likely field of more than 40,000 cards-loving men and women compete in the Seniors No-Limit Hold'Em Championship at the World Series of Poker.
The 2012 version of this event drew more than 4,100 entrants willing to pony up $1,000 — and admit they were 50 years old or above — and resulted in a $603,000 first prize. Three of the 423 people to cash in the tournament were from Tucson, among the best performances for local rounders during last year's WSOP.
Several Tucsonans are expected to enter today's tourney, which was set to begin at an early-for-most-poker-players 10 a.m., and the Rio even shuffled around its restaurant hours to accommodate the droves of early bird special lovers.
Among the locals in the field are a quartet of old friends who all share a love of poker. Nick Adamakis, 52; Fred Adler, 52; Mark Crawford, 50; and Bruce Schulman, 54, guys who have played at many of the same tables for many years. Each was an integral part in the well-regarded Monthly Poker Tour that was held at several Tucson homes during the 2000s, and each has made the trip to the WSOP before.
For Adler and Schulman, though, they've taken their love of poker to the extreme this year with what they call a 'life lasting bet' to be the first to make the final table of a WSOP event. The winner of the bet must foot the bill for the two to vacation in Hawaii for a week, while the loser ... they get to be the winner's butler.
If that wasn't kooky enough, each man has already pre-selected the, ahem, outfit the other would be required to where as they, um, buttle.
"Last year, I told Bruce that if I win the bet, his outfit would be fluorescent bow ties with matching thongs every day he was the butler," said Adler.
Schulman has apparently also chosen for Adler to don a banana hammock if he were to be the winner, a look he tried to have Adler psuedo-model at Crawford's 50th birthday party last week ...
No, you can't unsee that.
Any cashers from the Seniors tourney from Southern Arizona will join a list of seven locals with a combined nine cashes in WSOP bracelet events through the first two-plus weeks of the series. The leader is Sean Getzwiller, a 2011 bracelet winner who has cashed three times so far, while Anthony Mender's 26th place finish in a $1,500 Omaha 8-or-better event earned him a 2013 local-best $8,377.
There are also three locals alive in a $1,500 no-limit hold'em tourney that began Thursday. Among them is one of Tucson's top female players, Raena Janes.