Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vegas - Summer 2009: To the FELT! Part I


It's been entirely too long since my last trip to Vegas. Fortunately, Big Show's bachelor party provided an unavoidable opportunity to revisit the desert with some old friends. I had a 9:30am flight on Friday, and made it to the airport with time to spare. My former colleague, Sig, had explained to me that he always boards the plane last, watching everyone get on to see if there's anyone he should be keeping an eye on. I didn't need to scout the entire crowd - the guy sitting next to me was a dead ringer for the guy who plays the Jihadist bomb maker in the movie "The Kingdom." I called Sig for advice, outlining the situation. Sig told me that if the guy made a move toward the cockpit, I'd have to be ready to take him down. I explained that the guy was in a motorized wheelchair, but that I'd keep an eye on the situation.

I was more disturbed by the doucheball across from me with frosted Gotti tips in his hair, and the chooch a few seats down who was wearing a tank top, sunglasses, and a trucker hat tilted askew. Yeah, son, you're the toughest one around. You're so cool you wear your sunglasses inside. You know what the ladies like.

We boarded the plane - I had a window seat near the front. The flight was full, but the middle seat next to me remained empty for some time. I eagerly awaited the results of the "who is sitting next to me for the next 5 and a half hours" lottery, and hit the jackpot when I got the answer: a bona fide midget! Talk about a win - there would be no fighting for legroom today!

Arriving in Vegas, I breezed to the notorious airport cab line, expecting it wouldn't be a problem due to the early hour. There was no one in line, but I still paused for a moment when the line boss directed me to space number 13. Uh oh. Not a good omen, but I meandered on down and jetted over to the Mirage. I did my first channel check with the check-in clerk, asking him if they were busy that weekend. He eagerly replied that they were swamped, as if he was pre-empting my request for a room upgrade. That's what half price rooms will do - get the customers back! Slash the room rates and make up for it in volume? Anyway... I dropped my bags and headed to the poker room to await the return of Big Show, Tubbs, and Dirty Dave, who were finishing up a round of golf.

Rico was already in the room, dominating the big game - 1-2NL hold'em. I quickly obtained a seat at his table, and proceeded to rake $10 pot after $10 pot. Suddenly, a new guy sat down in the one seat, and pulled out a surgeon's mask to wear. My jaw dropped, but I quickly inquired, "Is that for you, or for us?" Wondering if perhaps he had swine flu and was being considerate. "for me," he mumbled through the mask. Look - I have no problem with old school grinders trying to make $40 a day killing time and playing 1-2 NLHE - I myself may someday get to that point - but if you're so miserable that you wear a mask to the table, then maybe it's time to find a new job/hobby.

Diego was hanging out on the rail, and shot Rico a text that said simply: "Mask? R U serious?" The golf crew returned, but Big Show and Tubbs needed a nap, putting me on tilt. I tortured myself in 1-2NL hell for another 90 minutes before demanding that Rico pick up and come with me to get some food. I didn't know yet that when I cashed out my remaining $85 in chips at the cage, it would be the last time I'd cash out any chips at any cage for the duration of the trip! Diego met us across the street at Chipotle, where we refueled before going to chill out at the pool for a while. Diego is from San Diego, and Rico is Mexican (just kidding, Rico - I know you're Puerto Rican), so they didn't really understand why a pale White boy like me wanted to sit in the shade, but they obliged. If the freak with the mask at the poker table wasn't odd enough, there was a dude at the pool wearing a wetsuit. Did I mention it was 105 degrees? Literally? A fucking WETSUIT at a pool in Vegas! AIYAHHH!

When the bachelor and best man finished their beauty rest, they rejoined us in the PaiGow pit, where we took over a $10 table. There was another table 6 feet across the pit from us that was stocked with a bunch of young guys from Boston, which resulted in a continual chorus of loud and emphatic "PAI GOW" exclamations from each of our tables. Rico put me on bajungi tilt when he turned over a hand consisting of AAAAKKJoker. Unfortunately, the Mirage PaiGow has no fortune bonus, which would have resulted in a 400-1 payout for Rico's 5 aces. Instead he won $10, minus a 5% commission. FAHHHHHK!

Dan joined us, and regaled a tremendous story of how he spent the prior evening: He'd met a girl at the Stratosphere (!!??!) and was on his way back to her room. As they got out of the elevator, she started shouting "White Power!" Dan paused, but figured he didn't need to bail yet. They got to her room and were hanging out, smoking and drinking. Some "friends" of hers stopped by - both male white supremacists from Utah. When the girl went to the bathroom, one of the dudes turned to Dan and advised, "bro, wear a condom." This was the point where Dan decided to bail - good decision sir. It's not every day that one lands a militant racist with STD's at the Strat. Sigmas!

We returned to our rooms to clean up and put on our party shirts for our night at XS, the hot club at Encore. When Big Show had explained that we were doing the club night Friday, not Saturday, I was skeptical - as some of the guys weren't even getting in from the East coast until the time we needed to be at the club. Big Show had this one correct though - we can no longer do two blow-out nights at our age, so the club on the first night was definitely the shot - even if it would render us useless for the rest of the weekend.

Big Show's former boss is a Vegas high roller. I'm talking 7 figure line of credit high roller, so when his assistant helped us with the table rezzie, we expected to be set up nicely. Of course, it never works out like that, and our host, Guido DeGuido passed us off to one of his underlings to walk us to the table. (note - this surprised me, usually the host takes you himself - I'm not sure what's up with XS's hierarchy of hosts/seaters/etc). So the guy walks us through the club to an outdoor table which was pretty subpar. We emphatically declined the table, explaining that it was not up to our standards. He said we'd have to talk to the host. "Ok, go get him," Big Show replied, but we were told we'd have to text him. THIS is why the system makes no sense - OR it's exactly the point of it - they figure you'll just give up and take the crappy table. Big Show explained via text that we would not be taking the crappy table, and the host sent another chooch to offer us another subpar table. Again, we declined, but they told us we'd have to start here, unless we wanted to triple our bottle commitment, which currently stood at 4 bottles for our group of 10. Refusing to settle for less on his big night, Big Show used some alternative sources, and we eventually secured an upgraded prime table for a total of 6 bottles plus a nickel for the host.

XS is a mammoth club. It's got a huge outdoor section, I discovered, as we had to step away from our table to smoke cigars. We were adjacent to the dance floor, so our table was quite loud, which was fine, as loud music does not impair one's ability to pound vodka. After a mere 90 minutes or so, we had a slight problem, when one fringe member of our party handed a plastic baggie with a shroom in it to another member of our party. Now, I don't do shrooms, never have, and don't want to - but I especially can't comprehend the desire to do hallucinogenic drugs in a scene like this - with super loud music and flashing lights. Anyway, the bouncer spotted this, and alerted security - the clubs do not fuck around with people doing drugs in the open - it gets them shut down and kills their cash cow.

I returned from the bathroom to find the bouncer by our table. Being the most diplomatic, I tried to ameliorate the problem. He explained that they'd seen someone passing drugs, and that they were closing out our tab and kicking us out. In reality, all they had was an empty plastic bag. After some calm negotiations, with me knowing that the dance floor bouncer is absolutely NOT the one who'd be here if they're going to shut down the table, he retreated to talk to his superiors, and returned with the settlement that the guy with the drugs (which "the head of security has confirmed are mushrooms") would have to leave, but that the table could stay. Shroomboy calmly exited, and we resumed our attempts to polish off 6 bottles.

At some point, there was a substance that looked like a spilled white russian on our booth cushions. I didn't see anyone boot, but we had no white russians... Tubbs later explained that he thought someone puked into our booth from the outside of it - leaning over the side. I'm not convinced it was puke as there was no smell, and no chunks (too much information?) but the busboy quickly appeared and wiped down the cushions, then reverted to the age old solution of flipping them over. Four bottles deep, around 2am, we were getting sloppy, and managed to dump our entire table over. Fortunately, Tubbs had secured the caps, and we didn't lose a drop of vodka - only our mixers, which were quickly replaced with a fresh setup.

Around 2:30am, roughly, I think XS must have sprayed some vaporized drug through the air, because everyone in the club went bonkers. Girls were suddenly grinding their hips in the air, perched atop every available space, like they were trying to hump a unicorn. Big Show, Tubbs, Leeroy and I looked at each other, shrugged, and ordered up 6 more bottles of water. Somehow, our drug kingpin managed to get back into the club and returned to our table, with a new hairstyle and change of shirt. Within 15 minutes, he'd knocked over our entire table AGAIN, where our last bottle had just been opened. Again, Tubbs, guardian of the liquor, had demanded that the top be secured, and we salvaged the entire bottle. Miraculously, they still didn't kick us out, and brought us another setup. We knew we were on borrowed time now, and quickened our pace, polishing off the last of the bottle when Dirty Dave pulled his classic move and poured the last 6 ounces into an empty Fiji bottle. This would come back to haunt us a few minutes later.

As we exited the club, I explained to Tubbs, "I could drive home right now," as everyone else was absolutely STAGGERING. It turns out I was not nearly as sober as I thought - the thumping music and lights had dulled my perception, and when I got out into the real world I had to do a few quick swallows to keep from booting in the bushes outside Encore. Big Show's most impressive skill is his ability to flawlessly negotiate every casino floor to get where he's going, but at 4am Saturday morning, under the effects of enough alcohol to kill a donkey, his skills were impaired. It was like how when you give a spider LSD it fucks up his internal computer and he spins a wacky web - Grey Goose and Ketel One rendered Big Show's casino maze negotiation gland moot. "KD - how do we get out of here?" He pleaded with me, as I led the way, staggering along the wall. Connor, in search of water, grabbed the bottle of Fiji from Tubbs, and took a big swig. He quickly turned and spit the mouthful of vodka into a plant in the atrium shops between Encore and Wynn. Talk about a rude awakening - expecting water and getting vodka.

Rico and I elected to walk back to the Mirage, as the others took a cab. Thoroughly annihilated, we headed straight to our rooms, and passed out. Saturday morning at 11am, I staggered out of bed to shower up and revive. Big Show hit me with a text that summed up the prior evening perfectly: "How did we get home?"

next up: Part II.



Anonymous said...

Sounds like good times. Great trip report...

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Your trip reports are gold... well, so are your financial blogs but I missed the vegas trip reports. Hilarious.

Unknown said...

heheh...nice post...thoroughly enjoyable.

Unknown said...

Pai Gow without the bonus bet is like Keeley Hazell without tits.

Awesome trip report!

AJAX said...

Hey KD, I've been reading you posts for the past month or so. Very entertaining, plus I love poker just as much. Do still play at any clubs?