Sunday, November 13, 2005

Mecca (Part One)

Vegas. Few destinations require so little description to evoke as much emotion. On this trip, Mrs. Dynamite and I had two destinations: Vegas and Napa. The ultimate "Boil and Simmer" as Dirty Dave described it.

Things were looking up when I logged on to the America West website on Friday, 24 hours before my flight, to bang out the electronic boarding pass. Would I like to purchase a first class upgrade? Fuck yeah! Better yet, let me call them on the phone and use my FlightFund miles instead! Boo yah! Me and Mrs. D are upgraded to 1st class. Sorry to disappoint my legions of adoring fans who must have automatically assumed that I always fly first class, but Kid Dynamite is a man of the people - translation: I'm a cheap-ass.

The beats began Saturday morning when, as we scrambled to get ready to meet the 7am car I had ordered to take us to JFK. My cell phone rang, and my driver was screaming at me in some language I couldn't understand. I looked out my window and saw only a navy mini-van. Where's my fucking sedan? Huh? You've got to be kidding me. Carmel sent me a fucking poppy-scented mini-van. Un-fucking acceptable. Do they know who the fuck I am? Carmel is off the Kid Dynamite approved transportation list - that's what I get for trying to take advantage of a $6 coupon.

We arrive at the airport and cruise through check-in, my Boston Red Sox hat and sweatshirt drawing minimal ire from the Queens locals staffing the TSA positions. As we leisurely take our seats : 1A and 1B, the flight attendant asks us if we'd like a drink. Before you get excited, our flight attendant was a middle aged dude that looked kinda like Howard Dean. I looked at my watch: 8:30 a.m. I looked Dean right in the eye and said "Vodka and Tonic." He hesitated for a split second, perhaps wondering if I was fucking around. I'm thinking "Hey Douchebag, YOU asked, and this flight is going to Vegas - what the fuck do you expect? DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM?" But my steely gaze conveyed all the necessary information: Stop staring at me and hop to it: STAT!

Things proceed smoothly, with Dean now pressuring me to drink more as I politely bluff-decline a second vodka&tonic, and he then refills my 3rd without even asking. As we pass over Denver, IMMEDIATELY after the pilot announces that we're about 2 hours from Vegas, the flight attendants come over the p.a. system asking "Is there a doctor on board?" For some reason, I find this funny. I would never wish ill will on anyone, but something about the situation just says "If you're in a situation where they're asking over the p.a. for a doctor, you're pretty much fucked anyway."

The flight attendants then come running through the aisles urgently requesting "we need all of your pillows," as passengers scramble to help, and find out what the fuck is going on. I turn around, and see that they have removed a woman from her seat back in coach, and have laid her on the floor, on a bed of luxurious airplane pillows. I look at Mrs. Dynamite, who immediately looks at me and says "Don't you DARE say it." That's my girl - she knows instantly that I'm worried about our flight getting diverted. Does that make me a bad guy? I mean, again - if you're in dire need of medical attention at 35,000 feet and they can save you, I'm all for it - but if you ate too many pretzels and are complaining of chest pains, I want to get to Vegas.

The "Doctor" and the flight attendants seem to have stabilized the situation - exactly as Kid Dynamite thought (nice initial read!) - and they are in the front of the first class cabin briefing each other. Howard Dean asks the doctor "What kind of doctor are you anyway?" And when he hears the answer "Psychiatrist" He almost passes out. Dean practically calls the guy a veterinarian, but the Psych assures him "We go to medical school too."

We manage to land in Vegas without further drama, collect our bags and grab a cab to the Wynn.

The Wynn is beautiful. Furthermore, when you're playing and staying at the poker rate, as I was ($199 Weekend, $129 weeknight, 6hrs of play daily required), the room feels like a downright STEAL. Plasma TV's: one in the bedroom, one in the bathroom. An ample sized bathroom with two sinks and a jacuzzi. Electronic curtains on the floor to ceiling windows. Computerized phone system. Ample selection of on-demand porn, including several high-definition selections.

However, what could have been a spectacular stay was marred by a few incidents that I will certainly let the Wynn know about: 1) Mrs. Dynamite was later awakened from a nap, with the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door, by a maintenance man who was wondering when we'd be checking out so he could change the air filter: COMPLETELY fucking unacceptable. 2) On my last night, I ordered a 7:30am wakeup call. The woman who took the call repeated back to me "We'll be waking you up at 7:30." Needless to say, when my phone rang at 5:30am, I was, as I explained to the Wynn "More than a little bit annoyed."

Anyway, the casino and hotel are beautiful, and you use your room key as a players club card too. You can call the poker room from you room, and add yourself to any of the lists, and view the list on the TV in your room.

The Wynn dealt a variety of limit games: 4-8, 8-16 and 15-30 hold'em, as well as 1-3NL, 2-5NL and 5-10 NL. The NL games have no cap on the buy-in, which is nice. On Saturday, typical stacks in the 1-3 NL game ranged from $150 to $600, and the 2-5NL game featured bigger stacks: in the $500 to $5,000 range.

I put my name on both lists, and was called for the 2-5NL game. I bought a rack of red $5 chips, and sat down, waiting for my blind. It didn't take long for me to realize that this game sucked: a bunch of seasoned local pro's, so when my 1-3NL seat was called before I'd even posted a blind, I exited with "Pleasure playing with you gentlemen," and moved on to fishier pastures. Now, this is probably the most important decision a poker player can make. Would I rather play in the bigger game? Absolutely - but I also realize that the 1-3NL game will in all likelihood be significantly more fun AND profitable.

I take my rack of red to the cage for a color change to the $3 Peach colored chips they use in the 1-3NL game. The cashier hands me back a rack of peaches, and another rack with 3 rows of peach, and a row of white $1 chips. I stare blankly at her. She explains: "Three hundred, plus these are $60 per barrel, plus the $20 in whites. Five Hundred." I smile and nod - awed by these bizarre denominations. I'm not alone - it was easy to spot players new to the Wynn's 1-3NL game, as each and every play who sat down had trouble adjusting to the $3 chips.

On my second hand, in the SB, I found AA! Yowza - Welcome to the game Sir! 6 people limped, and I bumped it to 7 chips. $21. The dealers found it easiest to announce the raises in terms of number of chips - as players had so much trouble with the denominations. I got two callers, and we saw the flop of : K-9-x rainbow.

I grabbed a neatly measured stack of 20 chips and bet out $60. A middle position player called.

The turn was another apparent brick: an 8, and I now declared "Ninety" as I reached for chips. I grabbed a stack of $60, and then paused, confused, and had to ask "How do I bet ninety?" "Ten more chips" the dealer politely explained, and I was surprised when my opponent quickly called.

The river was yet another brick - an offsuit deuce, and I bet my opponent's finally $60. He mucked, and I was off to the races.

The Wynn also deals a 10-20 limit mixed game! I thought that was interesting, as most rooms deal only higher stakes mixed games. I dropped this gem, which had the dealer laughing in awe: "Do they still play follow-the-queen in the mixed game? Or did they end that when Danny Negreanu left?" It turns out that Danny's contract with the Wynn (as Poker Ambassador) was apparently voided when he was caught playing in the "Big Game" at Bellagio. The dealer chuckled and asked me "He's not.....Is he?" I giggled and thought, "I'm still waiting for the final report from Bones."

The player to my immediate right was one of two other competent looking players at the table - the other one being to HIS immediate right. I was in the optimal seat, with position on the two local "pro's" in the game. I made some conversation with the douchebag to my right, I'll call him Tilt-o, and immediately gave him enough clues for him to pick up on the fact that he shouldn't fuck with me. Somehow, he ignored them, and it led to this sweet sequence of hands:

First, Tilt-o got into a pot with one of the 5 young Bostonians at the table. I love kids from my homeland, as they usually have great accents, and these guys didn't disappoint. Furthermore, they LOVED to slowplay their big hands, which allowed me to put a tremendous stacking on one of them later, but back to the story:

BostonGuy, somewhat tilted by the fact that I told them I was paying only $199 for my Saturday night Wynn room, while they were somehow paying more at Circus Circus (BAD BEAT!), comes over the top of Tilt-o preflop, and they play a big pot, with Tilt-o calling BostonGuy down on a board which eventually read A-x-x-x-K, and being shown BostonGuy's A-K. The player to my left says "I want to see that hand!" and points to Tilt-o. The dealer says to Tilt-o "We'll see your cards, since the other player is all-in," but Tilt-o slams his cards into the muck, and the dealer mutters under her breath "unless you do that."

Tilt-o still has plenty of chips, and in the very next hand, I'm in the BB to his Fully Tilted SB. I find pocket Kings, and I'm a bit worried as everyone folds to the button (I've previously made it clear that I do not chop in NL), who limps. Tilt-o limps, and I bump it to $15. Button folds, Tilt-o calls.

The flop comes K-9-5 rainbow. Boo yah. Flopping top set is half the battle: maximizing your value is the other half. Tilt-o checks, I bet $24, and he check-raises me to $60! Oh man... I KNOW he's steaming, and I have him on the hook - I don't want to set it too hard yet, for fear of pulling it right out of his mouth. I consider my options, and finally, smooth call. Oh man - he's dead already and he doesn't even know it.

The turn is an Ace. This is either a fantastic card, as it gave him a hand to commit his stack to, or it will prove to be an action-killing card for me. Tilt-o bets out $60, and again I consider my options. I decide to let him think we're having a "Bigger Dick" contest, and I raise to $150. He has about $250 left before he calls my raise. He thinks, suddenly sobering up to the fact that Kid Dynamite is about to crush him, and CALLS!

A Ten rolls off on the river, and Tilt-o checks to me. I wonder briefly if he could have spiked a gutshot with Q-J, but decide that doesn't make sense. I don't think he can call off his last $150, but if I make a smaller bet, he can try one last fruitless time to push me off my hand with a re-raise, or he can make a crying call. I bet a mere $60, and he hems and haws before making the crying call of "Let's see it," as he pushed his $60 into the middle. He had no idea I was as strong as a set of kings, but I got the impression that he would not have called off the rest of his chips here.

Two hands later, on my button, I find A-3 suited, and when Tilt-o opens for $17 in the cutoff, I call instantly. He has $100 left, which he bets on the A-5-3 flop, and I take the rest of his chips when he bets $100 into the pot of about $38.

Big Show comes over and says "How's it going?" I look at my stacks and stacks of in-calculable peach chips, and reply, "I have no idea." He laughs, knowing how fucked up the $3 chips are.

Before I leave, I teach one of the Boston kids a lesson. They've been repeatedly showing down slow-played monsters that they have failed to get action on. I'm not one to give free lessons at the table, but on more than one occasion, I've joked with them "Bet the nuts!"

On this hand, I find A-J UTG, and raise to $12. One of the Boston crew plays back at me, bumping it to $30. All fold to me, and I decide to call, because, after all, I'm Kid Fucking Dynamite, and I can play my way out of this trouble hand.

The flop is Q-T-4 with two diamonds, and I check. He checks behind me.

Turn: 2 of diamonds, and I have the Ace of diamonds. I check again, and he bets $45. I now have an over card, a gutshot straight draw, and the nut flush draw. I pause, before raising to $135. He thinks for 5 seconds before moving all-in. It's another $90 for me to call, and I'm clearly committed - I don't put him on a flush, as the Q of diamonds is on the board, and the Ace is in my hand, leaving little in terms of hands he could hold pre-flop to re-raise me that would have a made flush here.

The river is a black king! He asks, "Do you have a flush?" I shake my head and say "No" as he turns over pocket queens, and I roll my broadway straight. "Uggggggly" another player whistles. Yessir. I got there the hard way - but I got there none-the-less. Instead of betting his top set on the flop and winning a modest pot, my opponent gave me the chance to get all of my chips in at a fair price, and he lost his stack in a large pot. Maybe he wanted to get all the chips in on the turn with the best of it, but the sequence in which the chips went in leaves me feeling fine about how I played the hand.

I finish the 4 hour session up $666 (that's 222 peach chips) and head to the room to clean up before dinner. Me and Mrs. Dynamite head over to Delmonico's in the Venetian for dinner with the Big Show and his gal. Delmonico's is mediocre in my mind, and only adds to the gastric distress brewing, with a night at Light imminent. We tell the cabbie we're heading to Light, and he tells us it's a good scene on Saturday night. "How's the crapper?" I ask, causing Big Show to laugh out loud.

We head to Bellagio with a few minutes to spare before heading into Light, and stroll through the poker room, recognizing only Minh Ly in the high stakes area of Bobby's Room. He was playing shorthanded with some guys I didn't recognize.

After enduring minimal harassment at the door of Light, we were escorted to our table and quickly ran up an unavoidable tab, throwing down champagne and Grey Goose. Leeroux and H0nus had their ladies in tow as well, and the tower of strawberries and chocolates that Light served with the champagne kept them well entertained.

Light was mediocre - Leeroux was tilted early when we heard the DJ play "Dontcha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me" for the second time, and we began to place prop bets as to which artist we'd hear first: 50 Cent or Kanye West. Missy Elliot or Nelly. When they music took a decidedly 80's turn with Living on A Prayer, I asked Big Show for a line on if we'd here Sweet Child of Mine. He offered 35-1 odds, which I promptly took, and was not at all shocked to hear my song less than 20 minutes later. In unusual fashion, Big Show dk'd the bet, and also reminded my of my negative NFL balance I was carrying with him. Aiyahh! Double whammy!

The ladies in our group raved about the secret VIP bathroom with no lines, and H0nus had an encounter of his own in the men's room: He claims he saw the bouncers go into the stall and remove two dudes who were, ummm, "pounding" each other, but I'm not sure I believe him. The bathroom staff - and I do mean staff: there was an attendant, and TWO security guards - was extremely serious about preventing drug use in the bathroom. I'm guessing the two guys in the stall were just doing lines... off each other's junk!

The night ended with our waitress showing off her mediocre pole-tricks, and the VIP bouncer telling us about the monthly $10,000 pole-lympics contests they have, where not-so-amateur contestants show off their best pole tricks taking a shot at the $10k prize. He excitedly told us about last week's winner, who quickly maneuvered herself upside down and "fucked the ceiling."

No Vegas night would be complete without a cabbie trying to sell us on a late night trip to the Spearmint Rhino. Big Show razzed the cabbie a bit, chiding him for such a lame attempt, as I laughed in disbelief. The cabbie refused to acknowledge that he would receive a fee from the Rhino for bringing us there, and Big Show called him out on it. The Cabbie whined that he was just a family man trying to push his business, and we had to explain that we understood, but that we simply didn't believe that the Rhino "only paid him what they felt like" for bringing customers to their door.

We retired to our respective rooms at the Wynn, to rest up before tackling the much hyped Mirage $330 NLHE tourney with rebuys on Sunday afternoon...

until next time,


Anonymous said...

great report. i have similar vegas airplane story except mine did make an emergency landing in Kansas City to get the guy wigging out on meth and trying to open the doors at 35k feet off the plane.

so you're digging the wynn? stopped by their last time in vegas and seemed great, didnt see the rooms though..debating on staying there this december.

The Bracelet said...

That sucks about Light. When I went on a Saturday night they seemed to have played much different stuff. Or maybe I was too drunk to remember everything!

Great trip report, looking forward to the next installment.

(And I'm not quitting my blog, just wondering out loud about it.)

Anonymous said...

good story, I would love to go to vegas someday!

damn junkie wigging out on the plane must have been pretty scary!