Thursday, June 09, 2005
Vegas Part 2: Storming the Castle
2:35am Saturday, June 04, 2005 (Friday night)
So, I get on the plane in St. Louis and find a seat. Towards the end of the flight, the attendants were getting a bit goofy. We had a horrendously turbulent flight, so they were trying to lighten the mood. They decided to hold a contest. All interested women would put on lipstick and kiss a napkin. Then the pilots would choose who the best kisser on the plane was.
The winner? A woman named Maudie up in the first couple rows.
I hadn’t participated in the game, but when I heard the name “Maudie” my ears perked up. Wha??? Who??? Could it be??? I don’t think it was “our” Maudie, but… definitely got me anxious to get off the plane to find some bloggers!
I finished reading Harrington on Hold’em, Volume One on the plane from St. Louis to Vegas. Thinking about poker put me in a much better mood. By the time I got to the airport in Vegas, I was ready to have a good time J The airport taxi line didn’t take as long as it looked like it would take, though took longer than I had expected. With the traffic, my ride to the Plaza cost me $30 – OUCH! Forty with tip. Figured I’d start out the good karma ASAP.
In keeping with Randy’s thing with asking all cabbies how they like their job, I chit chatted with my cabbie. He’s been driving for about 10 years, likes it. Once we got on the topic of poker though, it was mostly that. He’s playing in the WSOP main event this year, for his fourth time. Won a satellite to get the buy in. He’s looking forward to it, and said I should definitely check out the Rio, as all the pro’s are out and about. He also asked about my Philadelphia Flyers jersey. Ends up he’s from Lancaster, PA – not far from Philly. Cool. His sister lives in my old Jersey hometown. So we talked about the Walt Whitman bridge, the excellent location of Philly, its history, etc. Good stuff. Good cabbie – and I didn’t fear for my life. That’s why he got the good tip. (Well, that and I’m shooting for some positive mojo out here).
I checked into the Plaza, got to my room, unpacked, and took a shower. I was totally bummed to discover there’s no internet connection in the room. (Well, I think there’s a data port for a phone modem, but of course I’m ill equipped for dialup. I live in the broadband world now). Aside from that, the room is OK. I have to stop staying in nice hotels, because then I expect them all to be nice. This room isn’t bad – it’s a bit worn, but it smells good (non-smoking) and seems clean (though I did find a pubic hair that was definitely not mine in the tub prior to showering… I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that though). I have a feeling the bed is not going to be comfortable, but… the price was right, and I’m not supposed to spend much time in the hotel room, right??
After unpacking and freshening up, I headed downstairs to find food. I was thrilled to discover a Subway, McDonald’s, a deli, and a pizza place, all right in my hotel. Woohoooo! I can eat on the cheap!!! There are restaurants too, but considering I’m alone, no sense wasting a lot of money on fancy meals. I had intended to eat at Subway, but got a hankering for Mickie D’s French fries and couldn’t resists. Sweet – five bucks for dinner!
After my meal fit for a queen (Big Mac n fries), I decided to kill some time and check out Fremont Street. I’d been here briefly with Randy in March and saw the light show, but it was all Nascar themed since the race was in town. Blech. This one was rock n’ roll – Zeppelin, the doors, etc. Cool.
Then I figured it was time to call some bloggers. I hit up the girls first – called April and April. Made contact – cool – and they both were planning to Storm the Castle. Good deal. I thought maybe I’d try and take the city bus to the strip - $5 for a day pass – so I asked at the hotel desk where it comes by. They said, two blocks up and two blocks left. OK… that sounded all fine and good until I realized that I didn’t know how exactly they were counting blocks. I shoulda asked for street names. So much for that idea. I was kinda nervous about taking the bus alone at night for the first time as well. If I do take the bus, I’ll wait and do a daylight trial run. My friend Paddy says the bus is the way to go out here on the cheap. We’ll see….
I cabbed it over to the Strip – we got stuck in traffic, which cost me an extra $5. The total bill was $22. Choke!!! I gave the guy $27. How much are you supposed to tip cabbies anyway? Randy tipped them at least five bucks a ride when we were here in March, but that just seems too much. I mean, $5 tip on a $20 ride is 20% - do they really earn as much as waiters?? Maybe so. I dunno. These cabs are damn expensive though.
This guy wasn’t as cool – he talked politics all the way, and how middle class people are getting screwed by the wealthy (an obvious Democrat). He went on about how California is near filing bankruptcy (can a STATE file bankruptcy? Wtf?) and such things. I’m not much into politics… I mean, I vote for the presidents, and sometimes even the primary elections, but… it’s a whole lotta blah blah blah to me when you get into particular states and senators and bills that are being passed and whatnot. I used to care about that stuff. Not that I don’t care now… it’s just… not something I find time to pay attention to. I know. Bad American I am. Anyway, this guy has been driving a cab for about a year, and doesn’t seem to like it much. I asked if he sees strange people, and he told me about how young couples always try to have sex in his cab. Yikes. ARE WE THERE YET??? Then he got into a whole thing on how people have no respect for him as a cabbie, by smoking in his car and fucking in the backseat.
I see Excalibur pass by on my right and think, thank God. Then he drives past… huh? There must be another way in. Turns out he misheard me, and dropped me off at Luxor. Whatever. Just get me out of this cab! I paid my $27 and took the tram over to Excalibur.
I was about 15 minutes early for the storming of the castle. I hung out for a bit, then got a call from April H. She asked where I was, and I said, “Under the ‘poker room’ sign.” She said, “Well, you must be within sight then….” Pretty creepy talking to someone who can see you when you can’t see them!! I scanned my surroundings looking for someone on a cell phone, and… tada! There she was! Excellent. Let the storming begin!
April and I got on a list for the $1/3 spread limit game. She was a bit nervous, it being her first time at the live tables, but I assured her that Excalibur is a great place for her first time. I really like it there.
As time trickled on, I met a bunch of bloggers. Woohooo! Let’s see – who can I remember? If I’m not mistaken…. I met Jason, CJ, Pauly, and April A, and saw Hank and Iggy from a distance. I had the pleasure of playing for a bit with JP at the tables. The guy to my left at the table I was at might as well have been a blogger – his name was Paul, and he was very cool. He knew the whole story with all of the bloggers by the end of the night. I heard a table get called for Jeremiah and it drove me nuts wondering if it was Human Head, but I didn’t get a chance to get to the other side of the room, and by the time I left, I didn’t see any bald guys with large craniums.
The fishy 1/3 game was fun. Within one orbit I had reads on almost the entire table. We had:
- Guy who seemed good but really was a fish – just had big hands early
- Girl who played any ace or any face, regardless of kicker
- Guy who played any two suited (I mean, ANY)
- Guy who played solid hands
- Calling station who had no pattern to his hands whatsoever
- Paul the cool guy who played decent cards
- JP – bloggers rule!
- Drunken guy who chose poker over celebrating his wife’s 29th birthday. Very predictable poker player. His drunkenness resulting in tells that were as great as if he’d been broadcasting his hole cards on the big screen TV.
I was catching decent cards, and when I limped with marginal hands, they were hitting. I also lost some huge pots. We had nothing but monster hands at this table. I hit quad 2’s once – and they hit AGAIN on that table, as well as quad Aces, countless boats, and a few flushes. Even the two pairs were running rampant; top pair was no good here. It made for some really fun action.
All in all, I walked away exactly even. So – three hours or so of free entertainment.
April H. was kind enough to offer me a ride back to the hotel in her rental car. Her friend Maura was driving. I very gladly accepted. We rode back downtown and the girls dropped me off at the Plaza.
On my way through the casino, I decided to do a nightcap on a video poker machine. (Damn you, Randy! Not really…. It’s much better than slots!) I stuck twenty bucks in and hoped for a winner. Within 5 minutes or so, I’d doubled my money. I was at $42 or something. So, I decided - $50 or $40 and I walk away. I’d gotten up to $48, and made my new rule - $45 or $50 and I walk. I got back down to $45 and cashed out. $25 profit. Woohoo! Paid for the cab ride at least. (Oh – it was a 25 cent video poker machine, playing max bet).
And here I am…. I’m sleepy as hell, and the alarm clock will be ringing in 5 hours. I guess that’s a good amount of sleep for Vegas, and since I’m sober, it should be good sleep. Tomorrow morning is the Aladdin Classic blogger tourney. Holy crap, and I excited to play poker all weekend and meet everyone else!! I have a feeling this is going to be a good, good time.