I’m not even sure how to try to write a review on the DCC. I can summarize it easily: AWESOME. But to go much beyond that could prove quite the challenge. …
I just dont think I could wrap it up any better than listing things I experienced or thought as they happen, so… here’s my review of the DCC:

Two of my league-mates and I rented a car and made the short 4 hour drive over to the Horseshoe Casino Thursday morning (Jan 31st). Once we got there and checked into our rooms, I was giddy with excitement. In the lobby, we stood behind John Brumback and my “holy crap there are PROS here!” amazement began. I think it’s a first-timer thing. I generally don’t get all star-shocked when I see pros or musicians out and about; but the sheer number of them was a bit overwhelming. My leaguemates aren’t as up on the pro scene so they were entertained by me walking and pointing and listing off who’s who.

I didn’t bother anyone though. I never knew who was about to play or who just lost or what their opinion of being approached was – so this time around, I just amused myself by observing. With one exception. Friday night, after a few drinks, we were waiting for the finals of the Bifoot 10-ball and Billy Incardona was alone for a moment, I walked over and introduced myself and then thanked him for all the commentary he does. I explained how informative it is and how much I’ve learned by listening to him talk about one pocket strategies. We chatted a few minutes longer about the event and then I excused myself so as not to overstay my welcome. He was incredibly cordial and I relieved by that. Rumors and all. Sadly, I never got a chance to tap Danny DiLiberto for the same conversation. He was rarely alone though.

Aside from watching all the action, I spent some time playing on various 9-foot Diamond tables. Which is always a good time. I never really played all that well, but it was with friends, so it’s all good; even though I went home with lighter pockets. The highlight of my playing though was when we got to play on the 10-foot diamond. I have about 3 hours of footage of us playing a 10-ball ring game. Here’s a short little montage I threw together just for fun:

I averaged about 3 hours of sleep, it felt like for the 3 days I was there. Each night I crawled into bed just after sunrise and woke just before noon to try to hit the last of the breakfast buffets and see the first round of the day. I felt like I was there for a week. The hotel/casino had enough space and variety that I didn’t have to set foot outside the building (except to smoke in the garage if I didn’t want to walk all the way to the casino-proper after the smoking restaurant closed). I realized sometime during the 2nd day that I hadn’t had a hot meal yet. So far, my diet had been coffee and Cliff bars I brought along. I was avoiding the snack bar in the tournament area; while also avoiding the $50 steak option at the nearest restaurant. I love steak – but I am on a limited budget. :/

On the trip back home we tried to pick a favorite moment from the trip. It’s tough to do that with so many awesome things happening everywhere. For me, it was entering the tournament room the first time. Seeing all those tables, each with a player I knew by name on it. Getting to feel like I was finally part of the event I had watched online for 3 years, read stories about, heard stories about. It was such a surreal deal, I can’t imagine what actually playing in it would feel like. I have a year to prepare for it. heh 😉

Watching Corey Deuel finally win a Derby title was really amazing. Watching Dennis Orcullo play Neils Feijen on the bigfoot table for the final was simply incredible. The 9-ball finals with Alex and Shawn was just awesome. So many little caveats everywhere. I didn’t spend any time in the action room – mostly because it was standing room only and I had already been standing for 12 hours by the time the tournament finished up. I did see some regional players, Joey Gray, Liz Lovely, Nicole Keeny, Chip Compton were usually together on the action floor somewhere (and I’ll see them all this weekend at Olathe); but I only saw Nicole in action, never the others; which seemed extra odd – but like I said, I wasn’t there a lot. Meeting Jeanette Lee and watching her do her thing was as entertaining as I had heard.

I already can’t wait for next year; and while my game didn’t automatically go up ball from being surrounded by champs, I’m highly motivated to earn that ball on my own. I’m going to make it a personal goal to get to where I want to be this year. I’ve been stagnant for too long.