Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vegas Summer 2007 Part III

If you haven't read Part One or Part Two go do so immediately...
So where were we? Ah yes - I'd survived my liquidity crisis at the Venetian double deck blackjack table, and gone to see what the boys were up to before getting ready for dinner.
Let simplify Friday night down to two pieces of wisdom: 1) When you're going out for dinner in Vegas, especially with a large party - just suck it up and go to a quality place. If you try to save $30 a head by going to one of these places that has 300 seats and less than top notch food, you'll end up vastly OVERpaying for the dog food they serve you with attitude. 2) Do NOT, under any circumstances, try to roll 19 guys deep at a gentleman's club. Just don't.
So anyway, after a vicious series of clusterfucks Friday night, Saturday began in unusual Vegas fashion for me: at the pool! We had two cabanas at the Venetian pool - the only problems were a) it was 105 degrees outside, b) I will get skin cancer if I sit in the Vegas sun for more than 4 and a half minutes and c) IT WAS ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE FUCKING DEGREES OUTSIDE!
Still, I hid in the shade of the cabana long enough to down a burger for nourishment, and then head off to the poker room. (Warning: ACTUAL POKER CONTENT imminent!)
I sat in the 2-5NL game for 1 orbit while waiting for a seat in the 5-10NL game. After calling a raise with 88 and flopping top set on a draw heavy board (8-7-3 with two hearts), I raised the preflop raiser's flop bet and took down the pot. On the next hand, I again called a raise with 33, and saw a nearly identical flop: 8-6-5 with two hearts. I decided to get all fancy 2+2 style on the preflop raiser, and just call his flop bet, seeing what developed on the turn.
When the ultimate scare card - the 4 of hearts peeled off on the turn, the preflop raiser checked to me. I smiled on the inside, as I laughed at how easy this game was, and bet out $120. The preflop raiser promptly checkraised me all-in for about $250 more. Fahhhhhhk. I mucked, asking him innocently, "That card didn't scare you at all? Maybe just a little bit? I thought it was a pretty scary card."
He shrugged "I didn't think you had the flush," and now another doucheball piped in "Me neither." I laughed and racked up my chips - realizing I'd given my opponents too much credite - assuming they had brains - and heading for the 5-10NL game that I'd just been called for.
I rounded my stack up to $800 and surveyed the scene: There was a short stacked young gunner who was playing tight seated two to my left, with a Russian former NYC Cab Driver (Russian) between us. On the other side of the table was a Southern Card Rack (SCR), a Middle Eastern Putz (MEP), The Poor Man's Gary Busey (BUSEY), and an Eastern European Calling Station (EECS).
The first hand I played was my old nemesis A-Q. After 1 limper, I made it $50 to go and was called 3 times - I'd be third to act post flop. I kinda liked the flop of K-8-4 rainbow, as I thought the rest of the table viewed me as a tight aggro player, and would assume I had something like at least A-K when I fired out $150 after it was checked to me. It was folded back to Busey, who leaned around the dealer, asking "How much you got left?" I showed him that I had about $600 left. "That's it?" He asked - being a total dick. "That's it," I answered. He nodded and said "All in," just for emphasis - as he had about $4k in front of him.
I laughed and mucked - hey douchball - this isn't my first time at the table! The only question I was asking myself is if I'd make the call with AK there - I don't think so. I made a mental note that I'd be stacking this cockchugger imminently. As it turned out, I had to wait about an hour, until Busey's $20 straddle was called, and I made it $60 to go with TT. Busey called, as did the limper, and we saw a flop of 9-8-4 with two clubs. Busey and the limper checked to me, and I fired out $200. Busey nodded, and like the payoff wizard he was, called. The limper folded, and I watched as the dealer peeled off the 7 of clubs on the turn.
Busey looked up from his food and checked again. Although I couldn't really hate this card more, I thought that Busey would bet here with a made hand - hoping I wouldn't believe him - as he would be wrong to try to trap me - given the tight play I'd exhibited, even if he had proven that he was a calling station. "All-in - $450" I said, sliding my chips forward and counting them down. He nodded, and called - I cringed.
The river was an offsuit jack, and I quickly turned my hand up, declaring "I have a straight." Busey considered the board - eyed me annoyingly - and mucked his hand. I don't think the jack helped me - as he was the type to show his cards if he'd received a bad beat - he likely had something like A-9 or A-8 with the Ace of clubs.
I gave some chips back another hour later in this frigid deck: The Russian opened for $50, and I was next with KK. I made it $160 ($1400 stack), and it was mucked around to MEP - who was a total donkey and moved all in for $600. I began salivating. When the action came back to the Russian, he now moved all in for $790. I jumped out of my seat, not believing the action. "Wow, really?" I couldn't believe I could lay this hand down in this game, especially since I'd already labled MEP as a douche-royale, and these stacks were not deep enough. I took 30 seconds before saying "I call," and turning to the Russian: "You have aces?" "No - queens," he admitted. I turned to the MEP and stated: "YOU don't have aces." He nodded - he did. What? Faahhhhhhhhkkk. Frigid. At this point, the new young gunner to my left said "I guess this would be a bad time to tell you I folded a king," and I groaned.
We turned our hands up, and amidst the oooohs and ahhhhs there were suddenly 20 people standing around our table to see the flop of Q-Q-T. FAAAHHHHHKKKK!!! I couldn't even win the side pot!
Fortunately, Busey still had money left, and was kind enough to double me up again an hour later when I finally found AA. Again the Russian opened for $50, and again I made it $160. Busey cold called $160 from the $20 straddle, and the Russian called as well. The flop was 9-9-5, and Busey bet out $200. The Russian folded, and I instantly pushed in my last $450 - $250 more to him. He shrugged, called, and when I tabled my AA he mumbled something about needing a 4. The kid to my left thought he said he had 4 outs (7-6? 8-7 ??), but in any case, when the J and Q peeled off, he mucked his hand, and I was up again.
The Young Gunner scooped a big pot with A-Q unimproved when he raised preflop, bet the K-8-4 two club flop, and moved in for about 2 times the pot when the turn bricked off. The Russian took the chips he'd gotten with his flopped quad queens and called after some deliberation. It seemed that the Young Gunner had to have at least AK, but when the river bricked off, he said "I missed." The Russian nodded "Me too," and finally the Gunner turned over his AQ. The Russian turned over Ac9c, and the Gunner scooped about 3 dimes - much to his surprise.
Later, SFCEO (Southern Former CEO) sat down in the one seat, and asked the waitress what kind of white wine they served. She began to consult a list of ONE in her head... "Ummm.. Chardonnnay...... ummmm..." The CEO interrupted her "Please bring me the driest white you have," and a look of horror came over the waitress's face. Seeing this, I tried to stifle a laugh, which ended up erupting like a snort. She looked at me for help, and I laughed "Just ask the bartender - he'll know," as the CEO looked at me with wide eyes - shocked by her ignorance.
"Come on," I told him, "To be fair, what kind of doofus orders a dry white wine in the poker room?"
Well, I'll tell you what kind of doofus - the kind of doofus who thinks like this: Busey is clearly on tilt - MEGA-tilt. He has had aces 5 times - and cannot get away from them - each time paying off $1k plus in turn and river bets -and his stack has dwindled. YoungGun opens a pot for $60, and Busey in the SB steams "TWO HUNDRED." Now the CEO thinks for 45 seconds, and mucks reluctantly. The YoungGun mucks too, and I look at CEO, inquiring, "Ace jack?" cause that's the kind of hand this idiot would really like to play here stuck between two raisers. "Nooooo - I'd play Ace Jack there - I had pocket jacks." The Young Gun practically knocks over his chips in disbelief - and I stare with my mouth open, as JJ, aka FridayInVegas is practically the nuts right there against the steaming Busey. CEO explains "You see, if I had Ace Jack it makes it less likely that he has aces there," and my brain immediately shut down as he proceeded to have a discussion about it with the Russian - WHO AGREED!!!
When the Russian and the MEP finally left, I got up to cash out, logging a $687 profit for the four hours, and decided to abuse the Venetian's Pai Gow pit a bit. I sat for an hour, pounding 6 vodka-grapefruits and taking $300 out of the game before I went upstairs to freshen up for our big Saturday night at Tao. We pre-partied in Dave's room, with ample booze and appetizers, before heading down to Tao - preying there would be no more clusterfucks. No matter how carefully you plan, nothing is certain when you have a 19 man party in Vegas. We'd been set up with a booth and a six bottle minimum, and had only to endure the last minute plug job the hostess laid on us, telling us we'd have to get 7 bottles, since it was "a big night." No shit - it's Saturday - it's ALWAYS a big night on Saturday - nice bait & switch you filthy bottle whore - but what could we do - Dave handed over his credit card, and we were led to a quality box above the main dance floor.
I couldn't help thinking it was an error when we ordered Jack Daniels for one of our bottles, and of course I was right, as it was the only thing left at the end of the night. Several bottles into the evening, on our way to 10 bottles, Brian somehow escaped eviction when, in an attempt to "slap an icecube out of Brendan's hand," he instead slapped a full vodka tonic over the ledge of the skybox onto the floor below. I don't know how he talked his way out of that one, but several hours later, we were in a real jam when Brian was down on the dance floor and his little brother Mikey, sloshed out of his mind, attempted to lob a drink to him. I watched from 8 feet away in slow motion as this train wreck unfolded, springing to life screaming "NOOOOOOO," almost exactly like Apollo Creed's trainer in Rocky IV when Drago knocks Apollo out (killing him) and Apollo's head slams against the mat - you KNOW the scene I'm talking about.
Too slow to stop him, I winced as Mikey tossed the drink over, and security suddenly swarmed us like wasps. After tense deliberations which lasted a full 20 minutes, Dave managed to negotiate our continued occupation of the skybox, offering to let the bouncer throttle him if anything else went wrong.
Dirty Dave would never believe that the boys brought back a group of legitimate bona fide KCSH's to our booth - Kansas City Sweat Hogs!!! The girls were probably surprised with the ferocity with which we guarded our booze - Andy whispered to me "If she even LOOKS at our vodka, I'm throwing her the FUCK out of here." See, us happily married men have different priorities - booze over flooze.
We eventually staggered out of Tao after 4am, where I decided to drop a buy-in at the PaiGow pit before retiring to bed for the night.
Sunday morning, I woke up and beat up the double deck blackjack pit for a few hours, doubting that Mikey would awake from his coma in time for our 1pm flight. As I stacked green chips into a tower, Mikey finally called me and stumbled down to the casino floor lugging his two athletic bags, and sweating a mixture of vodka and tequila.
As we headed off to the airport, I realized he was still trashed, and he managed to get himself subjected to a full search at security when he left his sunblock in his bag. The young Irish TSA worker swabbed Mikey's bag with a pad, as I prayed Mikey didn't have any illicit substances. "It's gonna screen high for alcohol and stupidity," I joked to the agent, who replied honestly, "that's ok, if that was illegal they'd fire ME." We ultimately made it through security, and back to NYC in one piece, where I began plotting our next trip...
until next time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Vegas: Summer 2007: Part II

If you haven't read Part I - what are you waiting for?
Friday we woke up, and I educated Mikey on the proper preparation for a hard day at the tables - we ventured outside into the searing heat, rolling next door to Chipotle for some sustenance. Mikey attempted, and failed, the Guac Freeroll, although I did manage to get extra salsa free. They now try to charge for double salsa, but I threatened the salsa girl: "DYKWTFIA? I will write about this in my blog." "What eees a blog?"* she replied, and I shook my head, "Never mind - just give me more salsa." After wolfing down a mediocre chicken fajita burrito, I returned to the Venetian poker room to get down to business.
*did not actually happen
Paul X-22 Magriel was STILL there - apparently grinding it out in the 1-2NL game - I'd seen him there the previous night at 3am, and it was now around 11am. I watched him throw a quack quack ($22) bet at a kid on the flop, which was called, followed by a "double quack quack" $44 turn bet - which was called - followed by a "quack quack quack" $222 river bet, which the kid folded to.
They called me for the 2-5NL game, and I took the 7 seat at a table full of helpless flounders in the must move game. I played one interesting pot early, when, after 3 limpers, I put in a little sweetener to $25 on the button with KcJc. The small blind called quickly, as did 3 others, and we saw the flop 5 ways: Ac Tc 8s. I flopped the famous GSRD: gutshot royal draw.
The small blind surprised me by betting out $40, and everyone folded to me. I put him on a medium ace - something like AJ or A9, and I elected to smooth call and await further developments. When the turn bricked off with the 4h, the SB again led weakly at the pot with $60. This time I announced "Raise," and counted out $130 more - making it $190 to go. I had about $250 more behind, and his stack was virtually the same size. DBIWOHH (douchebag in way over his head) (clearly could not run with Kid Dynamite) thought for a solid two minutes, counting down his stack, before simply CALLING! At this point I put him on a hand like AQ, or maybe even AK.
An offsuit king fell on the river, giving me a pair of kings, which I knew was not good enough to show down after he checked to me. I calmly announced "All in" and counted down my $250 - after all - I am representing a hand like ace king myself!!! DYKWTFIA ?!?!?!
DBIWOHH took less than 5 seconds to muck his Ace Ten (flopped top two!!!) face up, lamenting "nice river." Several of the other blowfish nodded in approval - wow - what a disciplined laydown. "I can't believe you got away from that," I admitted, as I stacked his chips. He said "AK or trip aces?" I said "You know what I had," no you don't you douchebag - you have no fucking clue - and ANOTHER thing - if you're going to call the turn raise you have to call the river bet you idiot.
I was moved to the main game - which was playing a little bigger - the action was fast, furious and somewhat unpredictable. Several hours in I was treading water, somewhat annoyed that I couldn't find a hand to play a big pot with - until I looked down at 8h9h on the button in the face of a middle position raiser - a tighter kid sitting on about $2k in chips. I called the $30 as did the straddler ($2-$5 with a $10 straddle) and we took the flop 3 ways:
Th Jh Jc - I'd flopped an open ended straight flush draw in position, and I had about $650 in chips.
The straddler and the preflop raiser both checked to me, and I decided to bet out $70. The straddler mucked, and the preflop raiser, henceforth LBCR (luck box card rack), check raised me to $200.
Now, with my stack size, I thought this decision was pretty easy: I counted the pot and realized that when I moved all-in it would basically be another pot-sized raise and a show of extreme strength, and since I wasn't going to muck here, I announced "Raise," and slid $450 more into the middle - all in. I am almost positive he's mucking AA, KK, QQ here - I thought his check-raise said "I have a real hand, and I'm not ready to give up on this flop just because the board is paired - I want to know where I stand." Of course, my all-in re-raise in the face of that said "AA no good d-bag - you better have a monster." Unfortunately, he did.
LBCR shakes his head - cannot believe how cold this deck is - takes 45 seconds, and finally says "I'm not good enough to lay this down - I call - do you have tens?" Before I can even respond, the dealer has burned and turned the 2h, and my opponent has turned over his AJ. As I turn over my 8h9h, explaining "I don't have tens," the dealer burns and turns the river - a vicious ten, filling up my opponent's hand.
I calmly turned to the dealer, and explained that next time she should slow down and tap the table before she deals, in case we wanted to do business. I was shocked to hear her explain "you can't do that here." Now, perhaps she actually DID know who the fuck I was, because I'm not doing business anyway, but I was nonetheless surprised to hear this response. I sought out a floorman, who confirmed for me "of course you can run it multiple times," and I explained to him that the dealer (who was pushed after the hand) was not aware of that and should be made aware. The floorman returned 10 minutes later, asked to speak with me away from the table, and explained that he was very sorry, and that this specific dealer had been told NOT to run the board multiple times previously, and had made a mistake. I thanked him for his attention to the matter, and jokingly asked if he was going to give me 1/2 the pot from the cage. He declined.
This same floor man came back to me an hour later and again pulled me aside, explaining that he'd talked to the head of the poker room, who had told him that they discourage running it multiple times in games smaller than 10-20 NL because it confuses the tourists. Now, why am I dwelling on this? Because it illustrates one of the things that makes the Venetian the best poker room in town - this floorman took the time to come back to me three separate times on the issue, just to make sure he had fully and accurately explained himself - and I thanked him for the attention and professionalism. I didn't even have to explain to him that I was a world famous blogger with a massive internet following who could easily put the Venetian poker room out of business. I asked him if Kathy Raymond, the manager, was around, as I wanted to commend her on the quality of the poker room, and also to ask her how it was possible that the room she ran at Foxwoods chugged maximum cock, while the Venetian room was the best I'd seen (and when I say that, I mean the best RUN - the best EXPERIENCE). Unfortunately, Kathy was not around, so I returned to donking off my chips.
After steaming off another buy in over the next two hours, I decided to go seek some more positive EV in the double deck blackjack pit, where I encountered a subprime liquidity crisis of my own. After being tilted by the suboptimal play of a douchebag who decided to hit his hard 17 against a ten, and took the 5 that was supposed to be painted on my 16, I moved to an adjacent table to take on the dealer heads up. The pitboss asked me to color up my green $25 chips before leaving, but I explained that I was just going to the next table. He explained "but I don't have room for them in that rack," and I thought he was just busting on me - like "hey kid - we're getting all those chips one way or another," but then realized his point that the rack was full. Hah - I was really going to stick it to the Venetian by making them figure out where to put my chips!
After dumping one buy-in, and 1/2 of another, a woman I'd played with previously in the same pit joined the table to enjoy the carnage. I was playing two hands of $75 each, and found a 6-5 and an 8-3 against a dealer ten. I doubled both - going into my pocket for more cash - and watched the dealer make a 5 card twenty against my 16 and 17. Fuck you. I had 4 hundy's left in my pocket, and three green chips, and I layed them in the spot: all in.
"I have to change them, sir," the dealer explained, and I waited as she made me a nice stack of green chips. Tina, the other woman at the table, rubbed the felt excitedly, as the dealer dealt our hands face down - and showed a deuce. Tina looked at her hand: blackjack! I laughed, and lifted my hand off the felt: ACE. "OOOH" - she was excited - "show me first," I laughed again, shook my head, and squeeeeeeeezed the second card: aaaaaace....
Obviously, you have to split aces, but I had a liquidity issue - I had no more cash in my pocket! I paused, stood up, looked at the sky, and whispered "fuck." The pit boss was fully aware of my situation, and was standing by, trying not to laugh, as he watched me squirm and try to find a solution. I reached into my "non-bankroll" pocket and fingered $180 or so in $20's. This cannot be happening - DYKWTFIA? I'm Kid fucking Dynamite! I have AMPLE liquidity in my room safe - how did I end up short stacked and all in at the double deck blackjack pit with a hand that I need to split ?!!?!? Normally, this would be solved simply by an insta-loan from the BigShow - but I was without his tutelage on this trip.
Tina, realizing my dilemna, inquires cautiously, "Would you like to borrow some money?" Now, I'm sitting there in a Bruce Springsteen Fenway Park t-shirt and cargo shorts, and she has no idea who the fuck I am, so I try to remain calm and not scare her away with desperation.
Calmly, confidently, I look at her, "Yes. I have plenty of money in my safe, I'll go get it if I lose the hand." She looks at the pit boss, who gives her a "don't look at me - this is between the two of you" look. "I don't know if this is a good idea," she hesitates - after all, she's probably worried that I'm going to have to sell my blood or something if I lose this hand. "Look, I can handle the action - I want the action," I explained, without resorting to "DYKWTFIA."
After another glance at the pit boss, who is now smirking, and still giving her the "don't get me involved in this" look, she asks "are you SURE you want to do this?" "Absolutely," I tell her, but just so there's no confusion, I add "just to be clear - you're not buying my hand - you're loaning me $475 which I will pay back either way."
"Give me something to hold on to," Tina requests collateral, and before she's even done talking I've slid my phone across the table. She nods to the pit boss, who instructs the dealer to give me $500 from Tina's marker. The dealer, a 50-something woman, is freaking out - certain that if she puts a bad beat on me here I'll have to sell a kidney to get out of debt.
She paints my two cards face down, and then proceeds to bust her hand - a 4 card 24. Tina and the dealer are whooping and hollering, and I slide Tina back the money I'd borrowed, and just laugh - I immediately walk away from the table and call Big Show and Dirty Dave with this completely absurd story - how I had to borrow money from a random person at the blackjack table because I'd ended up all-in with aces. The pit boss doesn't seem to understand that it's not the money that made the hand a big deal for me - I mean, it was a big bet for me, but the sigmas of the situation were much more impressive than the win. When I get up to leave the table 45 minutes later, the pit boss says "Where are you going?" "Casino credit - this is never happening again," I reply coolly, and go fill out a credit app.
I took a walk to the pool, nearly combusting when the sun hit my hooded sweatshirt that is standard poker-room gear for me. I found several members of the crew lounging in the wading pool. "Do you guys realize it's 115 degrees?" I was in awe. "Why are you wearing a sweatshirt?" They were mystified, not understanding that the temperature inside the casino was 1/2 of what it was out by the wading pool.
After releasing my guns from the confines of the sweatshirt, and basking in 5 minutes of Vegas heat, it was time for me to return to the indoor environment, where I donked off a buy-in at the Pai-Gow pit before going upstairs to change for dinner.
part III to come...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Vegas Summer 2007: Short Stacked and Steaming

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.