Thankfully, neither of the adjectives in the title apply to my poker experiences in Vegas this weekend, but I did manage to find myself short stacked in an impossible to make up blackjack scenario, and steaming by the pool as I threatened to combust under the relentless glare of the Vegas sun on my uber-pale white skin. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
The car picked me up Thursday at 4:30pm at my apartment, and, being the pro I am, I was untilted by the barrage of potential tilt-inducers thrown at me: the car had that horrible incense smell - not unlike the smell inside the Venetian, which Big Show speculated may actually be vaporized Red Bull. The driver, a clean cut young Hispanic gentleman, exhibited a propensity for gunning the car at stopped cars in front of him in a desperate attempt to cover the 15 open yards of road in the heavy traffic on the Long Island Expressway in the shortest amount of time before coming to a dead stop again. Halfway through our hellish journey to JFK I realized that he was sick - as he was sniffling and sneezing every several minutes, digging in the front seat for something to wipe his nose with. Now, I'm a germ-a-phobe already, and when you throw the wear and tear of a Vegas weekend into the mix, I was certain that it would be impossible to avoid coming down with something this weekend - most likely the hard to avoid Vegas Flu - which is the product of stale plane air, various hotel room germs, and 2 hours of sleep a night.
I met Mikey at the airport, pounded a double vodka&cranberry, and boarded my JetBlue flight, knowing I'd need some rest on the plane if I was going to survive the night. I had confided in Dirty Dave that I was having serious stamina problems, but he was convinced that the desert air would cure all my ills. Never mind the fact that I was unlikely to go outside - at least the oxygen rich casino air would help - if my NYC smoke-free-softened respiratory system could re-adapt to the abundance of cigarette smoke I was sure to encounter.
My exit row seat provided ample leg room, but made it tough to lean against the window, due to the curve of the exit door. Hey JetBlue - YEAH- there IS something you can do to make my flight more comfortable: Shut the fuck up!!! The happy and extremely loud voice of the stewardess came blaring over the public announcement system all too often, advising me that I could order a PPV movie at my seat, get as many free packs of cookies as I'd like, and that they'd be coming around with another beverage service. All I wanted was a few hours of sleep, which I managed to snag, despite the presence of some true chooches on the flight.
One douchebag, and I am not making this up, although it's so perfectly stereotypical that anyone who has encountered one of these douchebags will swear I was just relying on the existing image, was whistling like he was hailing a cab, and shouting "Vegas BABY!!!" every so often. Hey Spanky - act like you've been there before. When he roused me out of my last nap, shortly before we landed, I turned to scout out exactly who this cockchugger was. I knew Dirty Dave would never believe me when I told him that this guy was ACTUALLY wearing a Kangol cap, with a cigarette tucked into the brim. "Kid Dynamite," you're thinking, "come on - there is no way you really ran into the ultimate vegas stereotypical douchebag." Now, the thing is - even though chooches are a dime a dozen, they come in a variety of styles: the sombrero wearing chooches, the wool scully clad chuggers, the BIG TEN athletic shirt sporting glory hounds (GO TERPS!!!), the sunglasses at night spiked hair glamour boys, and the Kangol cap d-bags.
I had encountered one of the rarist breeds: the Kangol cap WITH tucked cigarette. Now the cigarette was not tucked behind his ear, mind you, it was tucked into the brim of the cap, pointing straight down - in the patented mark of the uber-douche. Unfortunately, there was no one I could turn to and offer 25-1 odds that this guy was staying at either the Palms or the Hard Rock. Exiting the plane, the older gentleman behind me, a few rows in front of the UberDouche, ranted "He should be arrested." I smiled and responded "It's not his fault he's a complete idiot," and sped toward the cab line - which was completely empty! I basked in the freeroll, and cruised over to the Venetian.
We met Dave, Brian and Ted near the check-in desk, dropped our bags in the room, and went back downstairs to grab some subpar food in the food court by the casino floor. The other guys went to putz around at the sportsbook and the craps table as we waited for BigJosh to arrive, and I attacked the double deck blackjack pit solo. This was my first Vegas trip in a while without the company of my faithful degenerate gambling companion, the Big Show, and despite the fact that we were rolling 18 guys deep for Brian's bachelor party, I was basically alone in my willingness to gamble outside of the craps table. Mikey made a brief stop at my blackjack table - spiking two blackjacks and a hard 20 in three hands, and executing a professional Hit and Run.
After dumping a buy-in at the blackjack table, I saw BigJosh from 40 yards away at the dice pit - his 7 foot frame is easily visible. I arrived just in time for his roll, which was a bonanza - a 45 minute clinic in how to effortlessly slam points of all varieties - fours, tens, fives - it didn't matter - Josh nailed them all, as I carried on the bachelor party tradition started by E-dub at my own BP a few years ago, by randomly adding more odds bets to Brian's passline wagers. I'm not a craps savant, but I used to be good at math - and I caught the dealer mis-paying one of my bets. As he tried to argue his case, the boxman said "The kid is right" and threw me the difference. Craps dealers seem to be the most mathematical and intelligent dealers in the casino - but maybe that's just because the amateur players have no clue what they are doing! When he fucked up a second time, severly shorting my payout, I caught it again, and laughed at the long shot that was me managing to notice this twice, in my imparied state. DYKTWFIA? I can do craps math even after 12 various sundry vodka drinks - none of which included Red Bull. When Josh finally passed the dice, I'd won back the blackjack losses, and made a small profit for the evening. We proceeded to the circular main bar on the Venetian casino floor, and watched the hookers try to snag a fish for the evening.
I laughed as one guy fed a lady some quality bullshit about being from New Zealand, and asked her name. "Jesse," she replied, as he inquired, taunting her, "Chesty??!?!" while eyeing her bombs, which were bigger than her head. After he was done fucking with her, I commended him on his New Zealand angle, but reminded him that he didn't need to charm hookers, he just needed to pay them.
Suddenly, a roaming magician came by, and dazzled the crowd with a display of street magic that would put David Blaine to shame. Now, I was drunk but not stupid, and I consider myself smarter than the average bear - but Cameron Shadow was fucking INCREDIBLE. I was less impressed with his ability to make a cigarette levitate - as I know they sell that very trick upstairs in the Magic Shop at the Grand Canal Shops - but when he made the serial letter mark on a dollar bill move, and handed the newly defiled bill back to its owner - it was just the beginning. He had a person pull a $20 out of their wallet, write his name on it, and hold it in tightly between his thumb and forefinger. Then Cameron handed the person a small lemon - took the bill from him, and held it over the fruit, shaking it once or twice at the lemon, which was in the random person's hand. As Cameron made the bill disappear with sleight of hand and pulled a knife out of his pocket, we knew what was coming - he sliced the lemon in half, and something was sticking out of the flesh - a folded up bill, which the person pulled out to show that it was the one with his name on it.
As we left, jaws open in awe after several more up close demonstrations of various tricks, we hit Grand Luxe for some early morning sustenance. After sitting down, the 7 of us waited several minutes for a waitress, as we considered the menu. After 12 minutes or so, a waitress did a fly by, explaining "I'll be right with you, boys." After another 8 minutes, we got up and left - annoyed by the gross incompetance at Grand Luxe. As we exited, the host, completely ignorant to the fact that he'd recently seated us, and that we should NOT be leaving yet, said "thanks for coming," to which Mikey smiled, "Thanks - great meal."
Fully tilted, I figured there was no better thing to do while drunk and steaming at 4am than check out the action in the poker room. Although Paul X-22 Magriel was sitting in the 1-2NL game, his froglike tongue wagging back and forth, I realized I was in no shape to play, and joined the guys in Dave's suite where we tried to order some room service. When we realized it would take another hour for food, I abandoned the effort, as Dave shouted from the other room "Who left a shit in the toilet?" "That's Ted's calling card!" Brian replied, as Ted came out of the bedroom, proudly smiling: "Didn't you like how I left the tp so that you could still see the poop?"
I smiled, glad to see that although I wasn't in the company of the gambling addicts who could keep up with Big Show, I was nonetheless surrounded by degenerates of the highest caliber. I returned to my room to get some rest, as Dave ranted about the current state of his "ball bag," after a full day of work and a night of drinking and gambling.
Vegas baby. Vegas.
stay tuned for Part Two.