I woke up Thursday morning, turned on my cell phone, and retrieved a text from Ted that said he'd finished 4th in the WSOP $5k PLO event - good for $165k. He later sent me the PokerNews link to the reporting of his elimination, which includes a picture of him in all his Ginger glory. Big Show and I got cleaned up and packed up our stuff, while we made plans to meet Ted at Lagasse's Stadium for some food. We dropped our bags at the valet, and went to print out our boarding passes while we waited for Ted to drive up from the Golden Nugget.
Last month I wrote about the new Vegas scam - resort fees - which basically allow hotels to advertise a lower room rate and then hit you with mandatory fees on top. At least, I figured, I was damn sure to make use of the free boarding pass printing that I thought was included in my resort fee. We walked down to the business center, where I explained to the gentleman behind the counter that I wanted to simply print a boarding pass.
"No problem sir, the machines are right over here: $1 per minute, plus $1 per page."
"There must be some confusion, I am a hotel guest, I would just like to print my boarding pass," I calmly explained.
"Yes sir - right over there. $1 per minute plus $1 per page."
Now I was beginning to steam. "Wait - isn't the boarding pass printing included in the resort fee that I'm charged?"
"No sir, the resort fee covers in room internet access."
I flew into the highest state of bajungi tilt I think I've ever experienced at the Venetian/Palazzo. Never mind the non-comped cigar bullshit from the night before - I am willing to come patronize your casino, and even lose money at it, but when you dick around with me like this, it will incite me into a state of frenzied rage the likes of which are impossible to describe. I WILL WRITE ABOUT THIS ON MY BLOG!!! I wanted to scream at the guy, but he was just doing his job, so I steamed upstairs - with smoke coming out of my ears, as Big Show egged me on and tried to get me to go over the edge. I calmly marched up to the concierge, and put on my nice guy voice:
"Hello, sir, could you please provide me with a list of the amenities included in the resort fee?" I posed the question, politely.
"Actually, I don't have a printout, but I can just tell them to you." The concierge responded.
"That would be lovely," I replied, in a slightly sarcastic tone.
"Access to the fitness center, free local calls and in-room internet, and a daily newspaper which you can pick up at this cafe over here."
"So, no boarding pass printing? Why isn't boarding pass printing included - it really should be." I voiced my complaint.
"We print those here free of charge anyway, sir," the concierge explained, and immediately soothed 1/2 of my bajungi tilt. On the other hand, I was now even more tilted that the doucheball in the business center hadn't told me that I could get it done trouble free up at the concierge! Steve Wynn would never let that happen!
I printed my boarding pass, and Big Show and I sauntered over to Casino Credit to try to get the meals we'd charged to the room removed from the bill. The clerk quickly said, "no problem at all," after evaluating our donkish play, and offered, "We'll remove the resort fees as well for you." WINNNNNNNER! Score one for KD and the Big Show. Again, though, this brought back more tilt from the night before - how come we could get a $70 meal comped, but not a $10 cigar? How come we could get two $17 resort fees comped, but not two cigars? Come on Venetian! Treat your players right!
We were the first people seated in an empty Lagasse's Stadium - only a few baseball games were going on - which inspired Big Show to place a bet on the Cubs run total which would turn out to be a loser. Ted arrived a few minutes later, and regaled us with the story of his PLO tourney, which included him playing with a variety of poker superstars, including Annette Obrestad, Tom Dwan, Howard Lederer, Bruno Fitoussi, Nam Le, and Matt Glantz. He said that Annette and Matt Glantz were really helpful, and that Dwan was a nice guy, especially after Ted corrected him on some misinformation he had about BP stock. Ted ended up busting Lederer and Dwan, and told us a great story that Howard Lederer had told him about a prop bet with Phil Ivey:
"The event started with 460 people. When there were about 200 people left (and the average stack size was ~$35k), Phil Ivey had ~$25k in chips. Ivey asked Howard Lederer what he thought his odds were of winning the tournament. Howard said 100-1. Ivey flipped him a real money $10k chip. Lederer threw it back and said that was what he thought the odds were, not where he would lay money. Ivey asked for an offer. Lederer then offered 50-1. Ivey countered 90-1. Lederer repeated at 50-1. Ivey conceded 80-1. Lederer held firm at 50-1. Ivey came down to 70-1. Lederer again repeated 50-1. Ivey: 60-1. Lederer 50-1. Ivey accepted. I believe Ivey busted early on day 2."
Great stuff. We finished up a nice brunch - bloody marys and sandwiches (I had a Reuben) - and Big Show lost the credit card roulette so he had to pick up the modest tab. WINNNNNNER! We found a vacant double deck BJ table upstairs at Palazzo, and monopolized the whole thing, each of us playing two hands. I'd never played blackjack with Ted before, and his antics amused me - constant hooting, and sarcastic cheering for the wrong cards. He also demonstrate and exceptionally dramatic "fist-bump-blow-it-up" move after desirable outcomes. Big Show and I were nearly felted, while Ted somehow was winning, before we made a big comeback, and then another big decline. At one point I executed the greatest blackjack angle shoot of all time, when I pulled off the patented "double down for MORE" maneuver, and got paid for even more!
I had been playing two hands of $50, but this time only had $25 on each bet. I was dealt an Ace-4 vs a dealer 5, and Ted claims he urged me to "triple down." I didn't hear him, but had the same idea, so I placed two green chips next to my bet, expecting the dealer to see it and push one of them back. She didn't, and dealt out the hand, where she busted, and then proceeded to drop a black $100 chip as the payoff for my bet. $25+$50 --> $100!!! Ted later noted that she clearly thought I had bet $50 and doubled for $50 more, and the really interesting thing is what would have happened had I lost the hand - but anyway - Big Show and Ted both caught it as it happened, and there was a fraction of a second of a pause in the action before we high fived and Ted dramatically blew up the fist bump. Ted and Big Show made some sarcastic veiled comments, and I just exploded with laughter that I was trying to quash - turning bright red and sweating - as Big Show muttered "that was the greatest move of all time." Ted stole a green chip from my stack, claiming that it was his idea to "triple down."
Big Show put the dealer and the pit boss on severe tilt by repeatedly tucking his blackjacks instead of turning them face up. Since the dealer had laughed the first time he did it, he kept doing it. Now, the pit boss warned him not to do it anymore. "If you do that, some places will pay you even money," she chided. I immediately jumped on that one, obstinately countering, "no way - NO PLACE will pay you even money - three to two bayyyyy beeee!!" And Ted then tried to formulate a prop bet with me regarding if Big Show would get paid even money or get kicked out if he did it 5 more times. We eventually abandoned the bet, but ended up booking a bet on the proper play of a pair of deuces vs a dealer 7. I said it was just a hit, but Ted said it was a split. "I have a card!" he said, and went to pull it out of his pocket - the basic strategy card. I was sure that I knew in my head that you split 2s. 3s and 6s against a dealer 6 or less, and 7s against a 7 or less, so we booked the bet, and Ted pulled out HIS card, which confirmed that I was right. But wait - Big Show intervened that in double deck the rule was different (which was true!), and we were playing double deck. We eventually called the bet a push - but Ted kept the quarter he'd stolen from me earlier.
After Big Show had to leave for his flight, Ted and I went to dominate the pai gow game at the Venetian. Ted was playing two hands, and wanted to play another. They said that two was the limit, so he tried to give me money to bet for him. The pit boss squashed that attempt, so I said, "ok ok - relax - no problem," and formed a partnership with Ted where I was betting a second hand on his behalf out of my chips. He wanted to play the fortune bonus too, so I was trying to keep track of the money he was losing by keeping my chips in separate stacks right next to each other - one for my bets, and one for The Partnership. You would have thought I was selling nuclear secrets to the Chinese, or filming the spin of a roulette wheel - there was a CONFERENCE of pit personnel behind the table, pointing, looking, and whispering at my slightly separated stacks. "I can't take the heat! I need to dissolve the partnership!" I whispered to Ted, but he peer pressured me into continuing, which by the looks of the pit team's reaction will earn me a lifetime ban from the Venetian and probably bar me from ever setting foot in Las Vegas again. We witnessed a truly six sigma scenario when a woman next to me won a hand with the 4-2 up top! in Pai Gow, you make a 5 card hand and a 2 card hand, with the 5 card hand having to be better than the 2 card hand. The woman had a straight, but her remaining two cards were 4-2, so in this situation you just put the 4-2 up top in the 2 card hand, knowing it can't win, and expecting to push your bet (winning the 5 card hand, losing the 2 card hand = push). The dealer, miraculously, also made a (smaller) straight, and had a 3-2 left over up top, so the woman won with 4-2. At least 6 sigmas.
We picked up and wandered over to the Wynn (which seemed to be populated almost entirely by Europeans), where I found they guys from my NYC poker game dominating a 5-10NLHE game. Ted preferred to attack the Wynn's blackjack switch game, which he thought was free money, until he played it for a little while. He was playing with a walking corpse, the corpse's wife, and two crazy Asians who seemed to be hitting/staying at random. Ted quickly joined me at the pai gow table, where I was drinking a glass of watermelon juice and a glass of carrot juice. Totally bizarre - I know - and it was even worse when the waitress erred and brought me another round of the same two juices. I couldn't bully Ted into driving me to the airport, so I said goodbye, retrieved my bag from the Palazzo valet, and cabbed it to the airport - being careful to explain that I did not want to go on the highway (I'd been long-hauled on the cab ride in!).
I sat down in my first class window seat, and a recognizable Asian guy got on the plane a few minutes later. I looked at him, and thought, "Holy crap - it's Big Head Todd" - from BHTM, whom I love. When I saw the Blue Ginger tag on his luggage, I realized that I'd made another classic Kid Dynamite ignorant American mistake - and this was not Todd Park Mohr, but rather, Ming Tsai! This is incredibly funny, to me, by the way - that I would confuse those two. Anyway, Ming was *hammered*. His eyes were narrowed to slits - not because he's Asian, but because he was bombed, and his face was bright red. He looked like he was about to pass out, and eagerly settled in his seat. Ten minutes later a woman getting on the plane recognized him, and put her hand gently on his shoulder, saying, "Ming." He looked up at her with pleading eyes - a look that said "lady, PLEASE - I am dying here," and she must have interpreted it correctly, because she just said, "I'm from Boston," patted his shoulder, and quickly walked away. I caught a lot of sleep on the flight home, and I'm not sure if I missed the food service or what, but I awoke an hour before landing and desperately signaled to the flight attendant for something to eat. He brought me a bag of potato chips, which led Ming, now awake, to request his own bag - and that's how I came to be eating potato chips with Ming Tsai at 5:30 am at 35,000 feet.
We landed and I retrieved my car without incident, surviving the 75 minute drive home where I collapsed in my bed and dreamt of black chips and bad beats...