Sunday, December 17, 2006

Vegas December To Remember 2006: Marty Up!


As always, I had the trip details fully planned. Not the rookie "pimp shirt and straw hat to impress the young sluts" details - the "there are 30 free seats on the 3:20 pm flight out of Newark, so even though I'm booked on the 4:30pm flight, it shouldn't be a problem to walk on to the earlier flight" details. The fact that the early flight was on a smaller, less comfortable Boeing 737 instead of the 4:30 flight's 757 was a sacrifice I was willing to make - yeah, I'm willing to bet I'm the only guy who knew that it was a different kind of plane. Like I said, this isn't amateur hour.

I consulted with Dirty Dave, as always, Friday morning, explaining to him that Continental offered the option to change your flight to the earlier flight on that day for $25. He suggested I just book it, and not worry about it.

"But Dave, we're talking EV here!" I'm always looking to save a unit.

"Friday afternoon to Vegas? Those seats could disappear in a hurry," Dave cautioned with the words of an experienced Sensei, but I decided to roll the dice.

I arrived at Newark airport around 2pm, and as I was walking through security, my phone rang: an automated message from Continental airlines, telling me that the 4:30 flight was now delayed until 7pm. Fuck. Dirty Dave was right again - there was the 3 sigma event that would result in a rush on the 30 open seats on the earlier flight. The problem was, I was too early, there wasn't even anyone at the gate yet.

I took my place 8th in line at the Continental customer service line, staffed by a single agent. Twice I called the 800-number to try to do the transfer on the phone, but I gave up, not wanting to wait 10 minutes on hold, and figuring it would be easier to do in person anyway. 30 minutes later I was "next" in line when the couple behind me got through to customer service on the 800-number, and made the exact switch I was trying to: 4:30 Vegas flight --> 3:20 Vegas flight. I jokingly handed my boarding pass to the woman on the cell phone, and mouthed "change mine too," with a big grin. The guy she was with urged her "yeah - change his too," and then two more people handed her itineraries! She hooked me up, getting my flight changed, while I made small talk with the guy - who told me they were staying at the Imperial Palace, which sent off my Spidey sense: why would two normal looking people from the NYC area be staying at the IP... unless... they were bloggers? I calmly waltzed up to the agent to pick up my new boarding pass, and waited for the couple, offering to buy them a drink.

We cruised over to the airport bar, and, armed with vodka&tonic, rum&coke and gin&tonic, made more Vegas small talk. "We're kinda meeting some people out there," the guy explained, vaguely. "Not the blogger crew - is it?" I was straightforward. Two shocked looks came back my way, as the guy asked "are you going for that too?"

I explained that I wasn't really part of the blogger cool crew, but that I did indeed write a little. The woman exclaimed with a flourish, "Well, meet the Boy Genius!"

"Holy Shit - BG in the flesh? You're the horse racing degenerate!" Thankfully, BG knew to take this as a complement. I extended my hand and explained, "Kid Dynamite, I've read your stuff."

"And may I present Maigrey, the Poker Princess," BG introduced, as she took a mock bow.

"Bobby Bracelet is your real brother right?" I asked, and BG admitted as much reluctantly. He got Bob on the phone, and I finally got to talk to the Legend himself. BB told me that there was actually a solid chance he would be booking a last minute flight to Vegas, but that I had to keep it quiet. I resisted the urge to try to pick off BG with inside information on a prop bet, instead lifting his offer when he let me choose what kind of product the group of salesmen gathered at the table behind us sold: tangible (ie, drugs) or intangible (ie, HR, payroll). I eyed the group of young, coed boozers, and said "intangible." BG went right over to them and got the answer: Payroll! I had him on tilt before we'd even boarded the plane, as I collected on the wager.

After three drinks, I decided I'd check on the status of our newly delayed earlier flight, and found that after pushing it back an hour, they'd re-instated the initial departure time! We scrambled for the gate, and BG flaunted his Elite frequent flier status by waltzing onto the plane, larrying his drink, while I had the presence of mind to bring mine with me.


Touching down in Vegas, I bid farewell to BG and Maigrey, and double timed it to the taxi line, prepared for the worst. I called Dirty Dave from the line, and he mocked me, asking "Taxi Tilt yet?" but the line was less than 15 minutes, and I'd located the Big Show in the Wynn poker room before 7:15pm. I dropped my stuff in the room, and repeatedly tried to raise Chops on the cell, but got a "THAT NUMBER IS NO LONGER IN SERVICE" message. The fucker got a new cellphone THAT day, and didn't give me the number. D-ball.

We decided to head over to the Venetian to check out the 8pm tourney which has a fairly decent structure, and attempt to find Chops, as he'd mentioned that he and Snake would likely be there. I did manage to find the dynamic duo, easily identifiable by Snake, a dead ringer for Jared Leto. It was great to finally meet Chops, the legendary Vegas porn producer, and likeminded blogger. Snake isn't nearly as degenerate as he should be, given his rock star looks, stable of Atlanta hookers, and Wicked heritage, but then again, I don't know what I expected from him at a poker tournament. (note: Chops is not, in fact, a porn producer, and Snake may or may not have a stable of Atlanta hookers.)

We ground it out in the 70 person tourney for several hours, before I bowed out in 21st place. Snake held on for 15th, and Big Show bubbled at 11th. After doubling my stack courtesy of a total doucheball in the 2-5NL game, Big Show and I left to go crush the Venetian double deck blackjack game, with Chops still alive and fighting at the final table! By the time Chops stopped by to tell us he'd taken down third place, I was down $304, and we said our goodbyes before heading back to the Wynn to regroup.

Big Show and I hit the Wynn's Terrace Point Cafe for breakfast at around 10:30. A 20 minute wait for an outside table evaporated instantly when I explained to the hostess DYKWTFIA - that she was talking to Kid Dynamite and the Big Show - in the flesh! Cheeseburgers and fries fortified us for a leather ass session in the poker room, and absorbed residual toxins from the night before.

There was a blogger tournament scheduled at Caesar's at 1:30, but as much as I wanted to meet some of the people whose prose I've been reading, I couldn't tear myself away from the 2-5NL games at Wynn and Mirage. We started out at Wynn, and I treaded water in a mediocre game for several hours. Eventually, Big Show and I headed over to the Mirage, where the games were actually softer - I think it's due to the lack of walk in Fish traffic at the Wynn. It's not that the Wynn games were especially tough, just not nearly as juicy as I'd expected - and nothing like the game at the Venetian the prior night, or the Mirage that same day. In a bizarre twist, both Big Show and I managed to get felted in the first orbit of our respective 1-2NL games at the Mirage, which we sat in for less than 15 minutes while waiting for 2-5NL seats.

I played some of my best poker, and had all of the young nits at the table fearing me like the grim reaper. One cockchugger asked the dealer to rabbit hunt a flop, after I'd made a big re-raise and then preflop laydown with QQ, and my opponent showed me KK. The dealer obliged, as I eyed Big Show across the table and tried to figure out if I'd fucked the hand up. As she flipped up a Q high flop, the table erupted, but I was stone cold. I got my revenge the next day, when I played with the same rabbit hunting mother fucker (more on that to come.)

Big Show took a series of beats, and I was unable to make anything exciting happen, so after 8 hours big show made an Orange Chicken run and we recessed to a dinner of Panda Express in the Mirage sportsbook. Big Show and I were dragging a little, but we decided to roam the strip, checking out the legendary Pinegar Twins on the dueling pianos at Harrah's (you know, the twins who both look like weathered Tara Reid?), and observing the action at the outdoor Carnival Bar.
We returned to our old favorite, the IP, but the lack of cellphone service prevented me from bumping into the ample assortment of blogger colleagues who were likely there at that very moment. Big Show and I dropped almost two dimes in less than an hour, and our favorite pit boss Frank offered to buy us breakfast. "No thanks, I don't want to get sick," Big Show replied without missing a beat, and we laughed our way out the door.
Feeling our age, we dragged ourselves back to the Wynn, where I couldn't make it to the room before succumbing to the effects of Panda Express. Big Show hit the room to change, while I annihilated the first stall in the Wynn Shops crapper, and scooped two passes to Lure - the Wynn's "Ultra Lounge" on my way upstairs.
Changed into more presentable gear, we made our way back to Lure, where, before we even had a drink in our hands, we ran into old friends of the Big Show. This group of degenerates was on their way to Tryst - the Wynn's nightclub, and big Saturday night scene. We were invited to tag along, but were mindful of not wanting to fuck up the reservations this crew already had. Somehow, in a feat of pure will, the leader of the group bullied the Wynn club host into letting all FOURTEEN of us in on the same table reservation - and I don't even think he greased the host! The two bottle table for 7 became a table for 11 dudes and 3 girls, and still with only two bottles required! This was almost a positive EV play, as we dodged $30 cover charges!
Lure is pretty insane - a big open club with a giant waterfall in the middle, and wings on both sides of the ensuing pond. As Big Show and I pounded pint glasses of red bull, vodka and cranberry, two young sisters dancing on the banquette made eyes at us. I made a motion like I was throwing up in my mouth, and the sisters suddenly disappeared.
We decided to take a lap around the club, and, swimming our way through the sea of bodies, came across none other than Tiltboy Phil Gordon himself! I grabbed him by the back of his leather jacket, as I shouted at the Big Show - "Holy Shit - PHIL GORDON!" Phil, not quite sober himself, took the assault well, honored that we had recognized him, and extended a hand in thanks. I'd waited so long for this moment, that I blew my shot - I failed to circle him, instead just shaking his hand and continuing through the mob.
In a move of unprecedented Ghetto-tude, the gentlemen occupying the table nearest the dance floor began throwing fistfulls of $1 bills in the air, which threatened to cause a frenzy. Big Show used his height to grab some of the loot, but was embarrassed when he realized they were singles, and there was a serious awkward moment as people came to this realization, each urging the person nearest to them "No, YOU take it."
Thoroughly plastered now, we somehow decided that the Wynn poker room would be a good idea, and sat down in a shorthanded 1-3NL Peach Chip game. I picked up AA on the first orbit and trapped Big Show for 1/3rd of his stack, and somehow managed to avoid giving it back 5 minutes later when I wriggled out of a trap set by a SSS - Sober Sneaky Scandinavian. He flopped a set vs. my top pair, and made a tremendous overbet on the river, attempting to convey a bluff. Somehow, blood alcohol content over .15, I managed to sniff out a problem and muck my hand, and as Big Show got felted yet again, we called it a night.
Big Show got up early to lay down some NFL wagers, as I tried to resist the allure of the trappy road chalk - in this case, Atlanta - 3. Dirty Dave had assured me that it was ok to fall off the wagon to get felted by trappy road chalk in Vegas, but I was not gonna do it this time. Even if I KNEW that ATL and New Orleans were locks today - I had quit NFL gambling. When these two games came through easily, I was, of course, severely tilted.
I called Bobby Bracelet at 9:30 am, as he'd left me a message earlier at 2:30 when he did in fact make it to Vegas. Surprisingly, he was still rolling dice at the IP - an impressive show of endurance.
When Big Show returned, we cleaned up and headed downstairs, veto-ing the poker games at the Wynn, and heading back to the Mirage. We were on the list for a newly starting 2-5NL game, and killed time in the blackjack pit by the poker room, playing face up double deck (booo!) until I got the signal from the poker room that our game was starting.
Again, I couldn't take advantage of the fishy table - suffering some vicious cold decks (flopped flush under flush and managed to lose only 1/2 my stack!) while Big Show continued to run into brick walls. There was only one player at the table who I could beat - the knobgobbler who had asked to rabbit hunt the deck on my QQ vs KK laydown the prior day! I doubled through or felted this dipshit FOUR times, setting a new personal record. When he left, Big Show and I did too, returning to the Wynn to prepare for another big dinner at SW Steakhouse.
Playing Wynn Pai Gow before dinner, we received the ultimate accidental insult from our dealer: "Did you guys just get here? You look fresh." He was attempting a complement I think. I turned to the Big Show: "Holy Shit. We have a serious problem. I cannot BELIEVE he just said that." We were forced to implement the Pai Gow Martingale system to punish the Wynn for it's indiscretion, and took several units out of the game, obviously frequently punctuated by one of us screaming "PAI GOW" at the top of our lungs. Marty up!
After feasting on Kobe strip, and listening to stories from Big Show's friends that were so funny I almost threw up at the table from laughing so hard, we continued to drink hard, and eventually ended up back at the Wynn Black Chip double deck game late night.
I sat down, and managed to lose NINE hands in a row, working myself into a state of unprecedented tilt. On the tenth hand, I had a hard 16 against a dealer 7, and was already standing up to walk away from the table in disgust, when the dealer painted a four on my hand,, and I made a comeback. I doubled up the next hand, and blackjacked the next, and suddenly I was only down a few units! The Wynn doesn't use mechanical shufflers to do the work between shoes in their double deck game, and when a kid hopped in for one hand on the top of the deck in a new shoe, spiked a blackjack, and walked away, I was incredulous.
"What the fuck was that? Top of the deck? He must have shuffle tracked it!" Now, I was joking of course, but this drew an INTENSE amount of heat from the Wynn pit personnel. Two pit bosses came over and casually joked back, "What do YOU know about shuffle tracking?"
"Huh? Who doesn't know about shuffle tracking?"
"About ninety nine point six percent of the population," he replied without a smile.
The Chinese dealer joked in broken English "They from that school - M.I.T."... now, you see, we actually ARE from MIT, a fact I'm sure the Wynn could easily verify, and some of my best friends are blackjack masters from the legendary MIT team. Big Show doesn't even have to mutter "How's the back room in this place" - the heat is on.
Not content to slither away, and impressed by the sudden flurry of activity in the pit behind the table, I raised my voice in the best line of the weekend: "If you're looking for me in Griffin, I have a moustache in that picture!"
The pit manager standing over the table offered me a black magic marker, joking, "Here, hold this up." I promptly felted myself in rapid fashion, and ventured alone to the Pai Gow table.
After being up several hundred in Pai Gow, I pressed my luck and lost a series of multi-unit hands, again finding myself felted, while the Big Show had joined me and was rapidly ascending the prescribed Martingale progression. His $75 bet had become $150, then $300. When he got to $600, he was moderately tilted, threatening to give back his blackjack winnings.
"Marty up! Last night in Vegas!" I urged him, and he pushed two hands at $1200 before finally scooping a pot and breaking even at the Pai Gow table, bellowing what was probably the loudest "PAI GOW" on record at 4am in the history of the Wynn casino.
After a few hours of restless sleep, I woke up, cleaned up, and packed up, making the always depressing Vegas Exit.
final PnL:
Venetian Tourney: $-180
Venetian 2-5NL: +$613, 2.5 hours
Venetian double deck: -$304
Wynn 1-3NL: $-23 2 hours
Wynn 2-5NL : $-43 2 hours
Mirage 1-2NL: -200 0 hours
Mirage 2-5NL: +260 6 hours
I.P. double deck: $-750
Wynn Pai Gow: $+495
Wynn 1-3NL late night: $+27 1 hour
Mirage 2-5NL: +$36 5 hours
Wynn double deck: $-1000
Wynn Pai Gown: $-500
grand total: $-2059 playing table games
17.5 hours of poker: +$490
until next time,


SoxLover said...

Managed 48 hours in Vegas with scores of bloggers in near vicinity and only meet two--on the plane in no less.


Anonymous said...

didn't know they had nerd conventions in vegas....i bet there were tons of people paying for sex last weekend.

The Bracelet said...

Hmm, to be part of a nerdy group of like-minded people....Or to be a fan of said nerdy group, eagerly awaiting site updates...

Sucks to not have had a chance to gamble or drink with you, but it'll happen sooner or later.

For now though, I have to go find a tourniquet for the gaping wound in my bankroll that was last seen spurting hundreds all over Vegas.