Redirecting

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blowjobs, Mortgages and Responsibility

You never complain about a blowjob. Cardinal rule right? Similarly, you should never try to blame someone else if you can't pay your mortgage. I'll expound more on that analogy in a moment.
There are some tough times in America these days due to the stalling and deflation of a massive housing bubble and leverage bubble that resulted in many people taking out mortgages and home equity loans they couldn't afford. I got fired up yesterday when I saw people protesting outside of Bear Stearns with signs that said things like "BAIL US OUT OF OUR MORTGAGES" and "CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT AT CHASE" in protest of JP Morgan's purchase of the flailing Bear Stearns.
Guess what - if you can't afford your mortgage, you should NOT be outside of Bear Stearns protesting that "bailout." You should get another fucking job so that you can pay your mortgage. The employees of Bear Stearns didn't get bailed out of anything - many of them lost or will lose their jobs, and all of them lost 90%+ of their net worth in any stock they held - which is frequently a huge proportion (50%-75% and up) of their compensation. The Federal Reserve stepped in and facilitated this deal to preserve the sanity of our banking system as we know it. If they had not done so, the consequences would be far worse - and the term "bailout" is a total misnomer: Bear Stearns is done - kaput.
Now, let me get back to my frustration with the typical American blame game. The term "predatory lending" has been widely used as an excuse to why people cannot afford to pay their mortgages - they are "victims" of the evil ways of the mortage companies. I'll start with this claim: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PREDATORY LENDING! The term predatory lending is an oxymoron. By definition, if someone is LENDING you money, YOU are the debtor - you should be thankful that someone decided to trust you with their money and assume you would repay it - no one makes money by lending money to people who cannot repay it. That is a simple fact.
Similarly, there is no such thing as a predatory blowjob. If someone is kind enough to offer you a blowjob, you can weigh the benefits and risks in your head, and decide what you want to do - but if you get red bumps on your hammer 5 days later, you can't blame the cockchugger: that was a risk that you took, but you are never a "victim" when you get a blowjob. Similarly, when the rate on your mortgage resets 5 years later, you can't blame the lender: that was clearly written in the contract you signed. The girl who was kind enough to throw a free bj at you may turn out to be psycho and call you 20 times a day - hey, that's a risk you took, and don't be surprised when the bank calls you 20 times a day to get back the money they were kind enough to LEND you. At least the risks with the mortgage aren't surprises - they are clearly laid out for you in a contract.
Now, I posted the clip from SuperBad because I realized it's perfect to illustrate this point. Evan has been desperately wanting to hook up with Becca for the whole year, and now he has his chance, as she's wasted and throwing herself at him. Back to the mortgage situation: were the mortgage brokers negligent? Absolutely - they gave loans to people who NEVER SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! See, the mortgage brokers are Becca - they got drunk and exercised bad judgement, throwing themselves at the Evan's of the world. Unfortunately, the average American doucheball didn't exercise Evan's good judgement and realize that maybe they were doing something that would cause problems down the road: instead they just fucked Becca - they took the mortgage that was out of their league.
Then, a few years later, when it turned out they couldn't flip their house for a profit, couldn't afford the loan anymore, or were shocked that the interest rate increased (as per the contract they SIGNED!), they wanted to blame Becca. Hey Becca - you never should have blown me - it's all your fault! Meanwhile, Becca is trying to care for her infant son, she got kicked out of her parents' home, and has Chlamydia (see, the mortgage companies got fucked too - their business basically evaporated).
And this whole notion of people LOSING their homes - let's explore an alternate SuperBad universe to clarify this one: Evan decides NOT to use good judgement and lets Becca throw herself at him. They start to hook up, but then Becca sobers up and realizes she's making a mistake, puts her clothes on and leaves. Does Evan have a legitimate gripe? Well, he's got blueballs, and he's frustrated that Becca is a "tease," but he knows damn well that he never should have been lucky enough to get some of her action in the first place! The fact that she screwed up and gave him a litte taste before she came to her senses is a BONUS for him! If you lose your home because you can no longer afford a mortgage that YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN IN THE FIRST PLACE - guess what - you have no gripe!!! You had a freeroll for a little while, and got to own a home you shouldn't have. Now you have to give it back.
This is particularly frustrating for me, because I did NOT buy an apartment in New York City, since I correctly didn't count on values continuing to increase at rapid paces, and I didn't think I'd be able to afford it. Now, having exercised good judgement, I'm stuck paying sky high rents while those who bought homes they couldn't afford want to have someone else bail them out.
Come on people - wake up and take responsibility. Blowjobs and mortgages are both fantastic, generous things, and must be treated with respect and reverence, lest they go wrong when you try to take advantage of them.
until next time,
KD

SuperBad

you'll see where I'm going with this... just wait

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vegas Leap Year 2008: Part III: The Abyss

I'm sure you've already read Part I and Part II.
Saturday I woke up rested but still reeling from the beating I'd taken at the 5-10NL table the day before. I focused on the positive: that I'd gone 3 for 3 with my advanced "handicap by name" horse picking technique, where I hit on Friday with 1) Kennan's Josh, 2) Big Pooch and 3) Tug River Princess. Big Show and I stopped by the sports book, where I picked up 10 different racing forms to scour for good horse names as we strolled over to Chipotle to fuel up.
I perused the forms as I pounded a chicken fajita burrito, and knew I'd found a grand slam with Bologna Lips in the 4th race @ Meadowlands. I also bet "Juiced" in honor of the Clemens debacle, and some other horses with names so stupid I can't even remember. Shockingly, the momentum failed, and I went 0 for Saturday on my horse picks. Fahhhhk!
We decided to dominate the Venetian $500 Saturday NLHE tourney, even though I've been focusing on cash games lately. I stepped up the aggression early on, and quickly had my table trained to recognize that Kid Dynamite was not to be fucked with. One donkey to my left commented out loud about how relentless I was and how he didn't want to see me at the final table. I mentioned that I didn't think he'd have to worry about that, and that he was indeed correct - he did NOT want to see me at the final table or at any other table he was at, as I smiled politely. This guy ordered a hot tea with honey and lemon - aka - The Dirty Dave - which nearly caused me to jump out of my chair. He then bought me a complimentary hot chocolate, after I told him they were top notch at the Venetian. After half the field got eliminated, I was moved to Big Show's table, where he gave me the rundown on the donkeys there, including a tricky guy in seat one who thought he was the shit.
I took one look at Mr. Smooth and looked at Big Show, announcing from across the table, "I've played with him before," as I looked at the guy and smiled. He was the Mirage Bully from my January 2005 Winter Assault trip report - and I remembered the hand I'd stacked him on more than 3 years ago. I looked at the guy and nodded. He smiled back. "I've played with you before," I explained... "Mirage. You used to be a dealer right?"
"I deal at the Wynn," he told me.
"You used to deal at the Rio, right?"
"YES! A LONG time ago," the guy was pretty surprised that I'd thrown this info at him.
"I remember the hand I stacked you on - I had a set of deuces and you turned Q-5 into two pair," I recited. I remembered the hand well. I was not surprised that he could not recall the hand.
Now, when I explained this table talk to the resident pro in my local game, he questioned why I'd want to put it out there that I had that kind of recall and attention to detail. The answer was simple - in a tourney where the blinds and antes are high and I want all the respect and steal equity I can get, I want my opponents to know one thing: DYKWTFIA!??!?! (in case you're knew to Kid Dynamite's world, that's DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM?!?!!?)
Mr. Smooth nodded with respect and I knew I wouldn't have to worry about him trying to take advantage of me. When he reraised my open raise with 8-8, I laid it down and was shown JJ. Four hours into the tourney, with half the field gone, I couldn't avoid busting out against him though, when my stack dwindled and I open raised with A-8 suited in late position, only to run into his pocket tens, and, priced in, called off the rest of my chips. His hand held up, and I retreated to the Venetian pool deck to recap the weekend action via phone call with Dirty Dave as I reclined on a chaise lounge in the setting sun. After calling US Airways to successfully upgrade my return flight to first class, I was in a better mood, and dialed up Dirty Dave.
Dave commiserated my NLHE cold decks from Friday, and admired the advanced blackjack tilt plays Big Show and I employed. He got me pumped up to make another casino pit assault that evening, which commenced soon thereafter when Big Show busted out 30 minutes later. Big Show joined me poolside, but we quickly got kicked out of the pool for being too jacked and tan - I don't know how they could tell through my Columbia full zip pullover - maybe it was just that the pool was closing.
Now - I promised my most loyal reader Bones that this trip report would not contain any pee or poop references, but Big Show had the funniest line of the trip in the Venetian bathroom. We were taking care of business at the urinals, with a little Asian guy at the pisser between us, when Big Show looked in my direction and asked "How desperate are you?"
Hmmm... Tough question - I'd been lamenting on my beats at the poker table, but when this question is posed in the bathroom by the Big Show as he's looking at me over the head of a little Asian dude, the implications can be dire. I tried not to laugh, pursed my lips, and asked, "Do I even DARE ask why?"
"There's a $1 chip in the pisser," Big Show explained, as we burst out laughing.
"If it were a yellow chip ($1k) I'd go after it bobbing-for-apples style," I retorted, which prompted the discussion of how big the chip would have to be for you to fish it out of the pisser. Big Show said he'd go after a redbird ($5)... No no, I'm kidding... It's important to consider that the Venetian does NOT have the antisplash.com blue AstroTurf in the urinals - the chip is floating by the piss-mint. We left it for a future patron, but I'd bet my bankroll it didn't last 90 minutes in there. There is ALWAYS someone desperate enough in Vegas.
Since it was a new month, March 1st, I had another $25 match play which I wanted to slam on the Pai Gow table. There was a guy who was banking every other hand, as per the rules at the Venetian, and this caused all sorts of controversy with the match play. In Pai Gow, you can BANK the game, which means you cover all the bets on the table, and the players play against YOUR hand instead of the dealer's hand. They told me I couldn't use the match play card when this guy was banking, since he couldn't be made to pay it off. I politely explained that this was absolutely absurd, and they should call their supervisor, as the guy could still bank, and the Venetian would just have to cover this $25 if I won. This nearly caused an international incident with the 20 Asian pit personnel in the pit, who conferred and concluded that the match play could NOT be used when the guy was banking - which I'm POSITIVE cannot be correct.
The thing with Pai Gow is that there are so many ties, so I had to keep taking this thing down every time the doucheball in the one seat banked. This guy was a professional Pai Gow player - at least he thought he was, and I started calling him Monopoly Man out loud, as he had a shiny bald head and a bushy moustache. Big Show set the over/under on MM's net worth at $400k, and I instantly took the under. I begged the Big Show to let me pull out two dimes and bust this guy, which of course would have made the Big Show's weekend, but I pussed out and steamed every time I pulled back the match play card and won - at least I was putting beats on Monopoly Man. Eventually, I managed to win the math play freeroll, which prompted a joint "I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!" from the Big Show and Kid Dynamite.
I was SEVERELY tilted when we went for a walk through the high limit salon which is adjacent to the pit we were playing in, and I had barely taken two steps before a female Asian pit boss materialized in front of me and actually put her hand on my chest, stopping me and asking me for ID! Now, one of the great things about casinos is that they never know who has money and who doesn't, which is why they are usually not rude to people like this, and in this case, the pit boss clearly did not know who the fuck I was. I handed her my ID, and after 10 seconds snatched it back out of her hand. "I'm not done!" she hissed at me, and I explained that I was a guest of the casino with a line of credit, I was 31 years old, and she better FUCK OFF promptly, only not in those exact words. I retrieved my ID, and peed all over the floor in the high limit private bathroom (I kid I kid - I live by the Golden Rule: if you wouldn't want someone else to pee on the floor, don't pee on the floor yourself, even if the pit boss is a b-yatch).
Big Show and I went in search of food, and ended up at Emeril's Table 10 in the Palazzo, where we sat at the bar and had a few appetizers each. The food was decent, and primed us to continue our assault on the double deck blackjack game outside the high limit salon at the Palazzo. We were again comped cigars, and I put the waitress on mega-tilt by asking her for a glass of port. "I don't know if we have that," she wined, but I told her to run along and ask the bartender, and she returned promptly with a suitable result. Even the pit boss was tilted, raising an eyebrow and asking "What are you drinking?"
"Port," I replied matter-of-factly, before rolling over a blackjack, standing up, and bellowing "and I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!" Big Show convulsed with laughter as he tried not to throw up. I'm not afraid to admit that I engage in blackjack racial profiling. I don't like to play with people other than Big Show to start with, and if a doucheball who clearly doesn't know how to play comes to my table and fucks up my mojo with suboptimal play, I'm SUPER easily tilted. So I took proactive measures when a likely candidate strolled up, and told Big Show we were leaving immediately. We walked into the Salon, and quickly convinced the pit boss to cut the limit on the baccarat table from $200 to $100 so we could break our baccarat cherry, and do what we've been wanting to do for the past several trips: rip up a whole shoe of cards at the baccarat table!
It was not at all hard to tell that we'd never played baccarat before, and our antics thoroughly entertained the pit boss and dealer. The great thing about baccarat is that no matter how big a donkey you are, the house edge is the same: there are no strategy decisions, only a decision on who to bet on: Player or Bank. Whomever has the highest bet on each side gets to turn over that side's respective cards, which caused Big Show and I to bet against each other sometimes, just so we could taunt each other, and BOTH rip up the cards.
The other great thing about baccarat is that the players DEVOUTLY chart the results on a little piece of wide graph paper they give you. Like it fucking matters. My chart was a world class piece of work, which included stock trend graphs, haiku, smiley faces, "I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE" written all over it, and a phenomenal array of gibberish written in both red and black ink - my biggest regret of the weekend is not saving it. Before each bet, Big Show would inquire "what does the chart say?" "Player - definitely," I'd tell him, and we'd get down on the player, and alternate who got to rip up the cards.
Suddenly, a South American cartel guy sat down at our table in the two seat, with a guy who looked just like Turtle from Entourage, his buddy, in the one seat. It turned out they were Mexican, but I'll call him Escobar anyway. I was in the four seat, which of course isn't numbered "4" because four is an unlucky number in Asia - my seat is numbered "5"... Anyway - Turtle and Escobar were a strange mix, since Escobar looked to be about 55, and Mexi-Turtle was around 28. Big Show muttered to me "this could change our dynamic a bit," and he was right, as Escobar's $500-$1000 bets quickly sized us, and meant we suddenly no longer got to rip up the cards unless we dared to bet against him! We loved Escobar's panache though, as he'd ask the dealer to turn over the cards: "Show me one card," then pause, consider it, breathe deeply, "And the other," while we had just had the dealer flip over the hand that we'd be going up against.
After dropping $5k in cash on the table, losing it, and losing another $6k in cash, Escobar pulled out another $5k and laid it on the table. At this point, the pit boss - in baccarat it seems there is always a pit boss standing over the table - steps in and says "Sir, I need more identification before I can complete this transaction." Wow. Talk about doing your job - the insinuation was immediately clear to me, having worked on Wall Street and having had to undergo training in regulations related to money laundering: this guy looked like a cartel member, and he wasn't putting any more cash on the table without them running his passport. It didn't matter that Escobar had been walked over to the table by a Palazzo host - the host had failed on his promise to deliver Escobar's player's card, and this pit boss had seen enough and wanted more ID. The game came to a halt, as we sat silently while Mexi-Turtle tried to negotiate and explain that the passport was in their room at Caesar's. Escobar encouraged us to play on without him, and finally got his visa issues straightened out, before dropping another buy-in and leaving.
Somehow during all this, I found myself stuck $2k, and gave the pit boss the signal that I needed another $2k marker. Although I'm really not a big gambler, I found myself betting $500 a hand in baccarat - a game in which I certainly had no edge and had never even played before. This was not normal behavior for me! I was supremely tilted, and felted again, as I signaled the pit boss for another 2 dimes. Fuck it - if you're going down, go down in FLAMES - I was staring into the abyss.
Down a full $5k, I consulted my chart as Big Show went to the bathroom, probably to avoid watching the Kid Dynamite Trainwreck. I pressed my bets from $500 to $700 to $1100, winning five hands in a row, and almost instantly erasing my debt. Suddenly, the fucking pipe smoker - and I don't mean this guy chugged cock - he was ACTUALLY smoking a pipe, bumps his bet to $800 to cover my $700 bet, and before I even know what happened, the dealer has shipped him the cards. This is after I had won 5 hands in a row! You don't need to have a PhD in Baccarat Etiquette to know THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU FUCKING DO! I was somewhat surprised that the dealer hadn't even given me the heads up - not so much as a glance to see if I wanted to get into a bigger dick contest with the PipeSmoker and up my bet to keep control of the cards and the streak. Of course, we lost the hand, and I steamed about as hard as I ever have in a casino, as I eyed the guy and tried to give him a mental vibe that he'd just fucked up in a way that was not even possible to describe, and I wanted to fight him to the death. He didn't receive my telepathy, so I took the $2500 I had in front of me, and walked out of the baccarat pit down $3500, dragging Big Show to the $200 double deck table right outside the salon.
We absolutely SLAMMED the double deck game - where I made back the $3500 in less than THREE shoes! I won hand after hand, pressed my bets, doubled down and won - and was suddenly even. Having stared into the abyss and come out alive, I told Big Show: "I'm done for the night. I just want OUT of this. I want to buy back my markers and be even with the Palazzo." Big Show appreciated the sentiment, called me a pussy, and continued to battle solo at the table, while I walked back to the Salon.
I approached the pit and handed a different pit boss there my card, asking him if my markers had been sent to the cage yet. He retrieved the pit boss who'd presided over my game, and whispered in his ear that I wanted to buy back my markers. The pit boss who'd written my markers immediately had a look of disbelief on his face; shocked that I had managed to get out of the hole, and not realizing I was standing there. I tossed him two chips: a $5k chocolate and a $1k banana, and he retrieved my markers, which I promptly shredded and threw in the toilet, once again having escaped the clutches of the Palazzo.
After wandering back and forth between the Palazzo and Venetian for about an hour, I bailed on the night, and headed to bed before 3am on Saturday - and new record pussy performance for a Vegas Veteran. The near-death baccarat experience had taken its toll on me, and I needed rest before our final assault on Sunday morning.
Sunday:
We woke up and hit Chipotle again - Big Show couldn't handle it and went with pizza instead. After lunch, we walked south on the strip, marvelling at the mass of development underway. It's shocking to stand there by the City Center project and realize how far behind the ball those guys are - they are about 5 years too late.
Before heading to the airport, we had a few hours to hammer the Palazzo double deck blackjack game, but we couldn't avoid the ceaseless flow of ignorant doucheballs. Dirty Dave explained to me later that this was the Sunday through Wednesday convention crowd. At one point, we even asked the pit boss to RAISE our table minimum in an attempt to keep out doucheballs, but even this failed to deter them, and I went and steamed off $800 at the Pai Gow table before Big Show and I shared a cab to the airport.
The first class treatment soothed me - yes, thank you, I WOULD like a warm cookie, which I would be happy to eat with a fork and knife - and I dozed intermittantly on my trip home, pondering the next trip to the Desert.
until next time,
KD

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Vegas - Leap Year 2008: Part II

Friday, Feb 29th, 2008
If you missed Part I, I don't know what's wrong with you, but go read it right now.
Now that I'm mature (read: I no longer have any sort of physical all-nighter stamina) I've learned that it's ok to get a little sleep in Vegas. The days of three night trips with 6 hours of total sleep are long gone for me, but I have to say that I was a little embarrassed with the solid eight hours I got on Thursday night. Friday morning, nevertheless, did NOT leave me feeling like a million bucks, but Big Show and I had business to attend to: negative EV was lurking all over town waiting for us.
We stopped at the Club Gracie player's club desk to validate the free match play coupons the Venetian had mailed to us: I had a $25 freeroll and Big Show, courtesy of his reckless blackjack assault last trip, had a $50 match play. We put the validated match plays in our pockets to save for later, and went in search of chow.
Big Show wanted to "save" Chipotle for Saturday, so we hit Wasabi Jane's in the Venetian food court for lunch. This is basically the rich man's Panda Express - it's the same shit, with a slightly Japanese tilt, and hopefully less gastro-assault aftermath effects. The steak & cheese sandwich I'd had the prior night after 2am at the Grand Luxe Cafe wasn't exactly easy on the stomach.
Adequately fueled, Big Show and I hit the Venetian poker room, where we were promptly seated next to each other in a 2-5NL game. Early on I got called down by a Nascar cockchugger when I held AK and it was the only hand his 99 could beat on the T-8-2-4-Q board. "That's what I put you on" he explained after he called my river bet, and I laughed and told him I'd consider it a loan, not a deposit. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to stack this d-ball, as I was called for the 5-10NL game which was just starting.
I'd asked the Big Show late the prior night if he thought that the leap year would be a positive sigma gambling event or a negative one. We concluded that gambling on a leap year had to be hugely positive EV, but unfortunately, my Venetian 5-10NL session did not back up this theory.
Despite a fantastic game - one of the top 5 crazy games I've ever played in, wilder even than Six Sigma Sunday in terms of sheer pot size, I was unable to make anything good happen. My AK ran into a donkey's 2-5 on a K-2-2 flop where I had to pay him off as he'd raise me there with any king and probably any ace. Then, I made a nice raise on the button with 4-4 when the flop came A-2-5 with two clubs and a weak tight doucheball made a weak bet. I pushed on him, a pot sized raise back to him, and he called me with JTc. The turn was a 3, giving me a wheel, and the river was a 4, putting a wheel on board - that's how it went for me all day.
Yellow $1k chips were flying in the game, as a true local maniac sat down to my immediate left. I picked up JJ and came over the top of the donkey's open raise, all in. The maniac called me cold (with SEVEN high!!!), but I knew I was dead when a tight Russian assassin re-raised. I couldn't crack his KK, and then dumped another buyin after that.
Down 3 full buyins, I was pretty steamed, especially since the game had been so good and I couldn't harvest any of the berry patch, but Big Show's boss had set us up with a top flight dinner at SW Steakhouse on his tab, which promised to be a rewarding freeroll. After changing into sharper attire than my uber-intimidating long sleeve Puma t-shirt I'd terrorized the poker table with, we met Big Show's brother in law and his buddy, and walked over to the Wynn.
Dinner was no joke - as Noey, the somelier and our host, remembered us from our prior journeys, and removed the menus from in front of us, letting us know we'd be in his good hands. He slammed us with a nice shellfish platter, crab legs, and a fantastic bottle of wine, then a small scallop dish and a tasty salad with bacon and blue cheese, before levelling us with the knockout blow: the Kobe beef. I'm not one to leave food on the plate in front of me, especially when we're talking about the best steak I'd ever had, but it was so rich I couldn't even finish the last two slices, which were eagerly absorbed by Big Show. Big Show's bro-in-law had no luck pawning off any of his Chivas aperitif on me, as my eyes teared from a mere whiff of the swill.
After dinner, we started walking through the Wynn, but I quickly lost track of the Big Show when I wandered through the Wynn poker room, which was cranking at full blast with volatile cash games in the wake of the Wynn Classic tourney that was going on. I called Big Show's cell, and he answered in muted tones.
"You're on the shitter aren't you?" I had a good read. He confirmed as much, and I had some similar business to take care of, but ran into the crowd coming out of the Avenue Q theatre, and had to go in search of a less trafficked poopatorium.
I found a nice oasis over by the Blush "uber-lounge" and texted Big Show from the throne "In the shitter by Blush." Yep, I'm not afraid to admit that I'll send text messages from the toilet. In interesting urinal-spray-absorption news, the Wynn no longer uses the blue AstroTurf from Anti-splash.com - they have a new piss flow mediation brand.
After exercising the SW Steak position, I met up with Big Show, and we returned to the Palazzo to dominate the double deck BJ game. We sat down at the quarter table, and whipped out our match play cards. Big Show got maximum value from his by spiking a top of the deck blackjack, which of course prompted him to stand up and scream "I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE," confusing a new batch of casino personnel. When a chooch sat down at our table, I, having no tolerance for sub-optimal play, quickly called an audible to move to the black chip table across the pit.
This decision worked well, as we crushed the game for several hours, drinking the Palazzo's milkshake repeatedly, and each putting together a win in the neighborhood of 2 dimes. THe cocktail waitress came by with champagne, which got me going in full swing. Maybe Leap Year was positive EV after all! Since we were pretty much unwilling to play with other people at the table, we didn't get to meet any crazy characters like Androgynous Kim Jong Il. We became the characters ourselves, as my relentless "I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE" exclamations along with Big Show's pleas of "MONARCHEEEEEEEEEEEE" instead of MONKEY confused and tilted dealer after dealer.
Having recovered a portion of my poker losses from the day, and again showing pathetic staying power, I retired to the room after dumping a buy-in in the Let-It-Ride game.
until next time,
KD

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Drink Your Milkshake!

Pump up the volume, and prepare for Part II

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Vegas - Leap Year 2008 - Part I

The key to success in Vegas is avoiding TILT. I know this. I know the plethora of pitfalls - the TILT-traps lurking all over the place. Still, somehow, I am never able to make it two hundred yards from my apartment door on the way to the airport without being simmered into a potentially furious state of bajungi TILT.
If you live in New York City you've been in enough dirty cabs with completely incompetent drivers to know that the smart play when you're going to the airport is to call a car service. You can get a nice town car for virtually the same price as a cab, and you have the expectation of a more comfortable ride, and hopefully a driver that knows how to avoid some of the airport traffic pitfalls. Of course, you have to give a little to get a little - and what you give is usually your olfactory sanity: the town cars are frequently perfumed with a more potent brain throbbing odor than the Venetian's signature smell.
As I looked out the window on Thursday morning at 8am, wolfing down a bowl of cereal, and searching for my car, my wife remarked, "Why do you bother with them? Why don't you just take a taxi?" I gently explained my reasons (see paragraph above!), but she was smirking and shaking her head when I was on the phone with the car service 10 minutes later, being told that my car was on 35th and 2nd Ave. Now, they are already 10 minutes late, and at least 20 minutes away. I not so politely informed the woman on the other end of the phone that this was not acceptable, and she suavely quashed my rant by telling me that she agreed with me. I hung up the phone, now on full tilt, especially since you can't SLAM a cell phone down, and hightailed it out the door to find a cab. There are times in New York when you can't find a cab: in midtown at rush hour, in the Village at midnight on Friday, and ANY time you are trying to get to the airport to make a flight. Of course, I'm standing in the street wearing a zipper down fleece, prepared for Vegas 70 degree weather, not the NYC 20 degree ice box I was now stuck in due to the complete incompetence of Allstate Car and Limo - NEVER use those cockchuggers. I managed to hail a mini-van cab - and since it was 8:30 on Thursday morning and I was going TO JFK instead of FROM JFK, was able to relax as we hit virtually no traffic.
I had time to stop at the US Airways check-in counter and move my seat to an exit row aisle, which turned into a nice parlay when the middle seat was empty as well! Alternating between the pages of Carl Hiaasen's Basket Case and 30 minute naps, I survived the flight (a mere 5 hours due to beneficial tailwinds) in good shape, save for some mild starvation. I hit Chops with the patented "The eagle has landed" text, which was quickly greeted with a "sweet - i was waiting for that" reply, followed by "Pure 9pm heads up red carpet." Chops, media mogul that he is, has VIP access to the red carpet session for the National Heads Up Poker Championship.
A bonus when you arrive in Vegas at noon on Thursday is that the cab line at McCarran is also non-existent, and I pulled out my sunglasses as I told my driver: "Palazzo." He repeated it back to me in a voice that sounded far too much like "The Plaza," so I reconfirmed, and he smiled knowingly. Cabbies in Vegas are always a fantastic source of information, even if not all of it is true. Hey - as long as the fucker doesn't try to take me "the fast way" on the highway, I'm happy to listen to stories about what's going on in town. This time, we talked about real estate - the incredible amount of development that's going on in Vegas still. Any doubts I had about the scale of the bubble were erased when we pulled up at the Palazzo and the cabbie handed me his card, telling me he was also a real estate broker. How do I short Las Vegas real estate? Man - getting back my deposit for a unit at the Cosmopolitan was probably the best financial decision I've made in the last 5 years.
I breezed through check-in at the Palazzo, handing the woman my credit card, as I confirmed, "The room is complementary, right?" Indeed - courtesy of the play of Big Show and Kid Dynamite at the Venetian on our prior trip, we'd been taken care of this time. Freerollllll! I dropped my bag in the room, which looked just like the rooms at the Venetian, and headed downstairs in search of sustenance. The Palazzo gaming floor is very spacious - high ceilinged and wide-aisled, it has a nice, roomy, not at all claustrophobic feel. I strolled into Dos Caminos - an upscale Mexican-fusion New York export, and had a margarita and some chipotle brisket taquitos at the bar, before heading over to the Venetian poker room.
Mildly tilted by the ill-advised directions I was given, I wandered aimlessly through the Grand Canal Shops as I checked in with Big Show who was still at work. Eventually, I found my way out, and was quickly seated in a 2-5NL game at the Venetian, where I sat down and raised the first FIVE hands I was dealt (99, AK, KQ, KQ, AK) - all the while trying to explain to the table that I had monster hands and was so lucky - shrugging as I continuation bet flops that missed me completely and taking down pots that surely did not belong to me. I escaped disaster when a doucheball limp-reraised me preflop and then check-raised me on the flop - oy vey - DYKWTFIA?!?!?! Several hands later I looked into the soul of another cockchugger to make a tremendous call, only to have him suck out and chop the pot with me. Unfortunately, an hour later, I started a trend for this trip - as I ran into an opponent holding the nuts for the first of at least 50 times.
Moving to the 5-10NL game, I treaded water for hours waiting for the Big Show. The game was mediocre - with several young pros I recognized from my previous trip - and I ran into the nuts two more times, stacking myself in the process. Finally, Big Show sent me a text letting me know he had landed, and I racked up down $650 and headed for the room. I explained to Big Show that Chops had the hookup at Caesar's for the NHUPC event, but that it was doubtful we'd be able to get into the party they had for the heads up bracket draw at Pure. Still, we decided to head over there, and dumped a buy-in at the Let-It-Ride table at Caesar's before the cellphone sprang to life: "CHOPS HERE."
We cruised over to the red carpet outside Pure, where Chops was set up with his camera girl Denise, doing interviews for Rawvegas.TV. Even though I thought I'd be infinitely more entertaining than Denise with the red carpet questions, she's a Playboy playmate, and her boobs are marginally nicer than mine, so Chops would not relent to my pleas to let me handle the mic. Rapidly a crowd gathered, as the who's who of poker royalty showed up. Everyone was there - but the great thing about these poker players is that they're just normal people - with a few notable exceptions they really don't know how to act like, or want to act like celebrities. Big Show was pretty grossed out by a few toothless Matusow groupies - a husband and wife team where the wife made Mikey sign her magazine and her jean jacket. When it became clear we wouldn't be able to get into Pure for the party, Big Show and I headed back to the Palazzo to dominate their double deck blackjack game.
Somehow, after squeezing out a blackjack at one point, I stood up and exclaimed "I. DRINK. YOUR. MILKSHAKE!" In the style of Daniel Day-Lewis's Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood. Now, it may not sound like much, but I can assure you it was hilarious, and UBER-tilt inducing for the dealers. They found it funny... for like the first 3 hours... Then, I could see carotid arteries throb each time Big Show or I would belt out I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE after spiking a five card 21 or a blackjack. Sadly, we couldn't get our dealer to return the favor by taunting us when he rolled over a blackjack - which would have lessened the pain.
Finally, bombed and tired, Big Show and I took a walk around the casino floor around 3am, surveying the desperation and business proceedings. As the hookers at the bar trolled for customers, I pondered aloud to Big Show, "Maybe we can get a whore to eat her own poop..."
He just laughed in awe, as I hit the elevator and crashed for some much needed rest:
stay tuned for part II.
-KD