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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

You Know You're A Bit Too Addicted

to poker when ... it starts impacting totally unrelated areas of your life.

Case in point. I'm reading the 2+2 message boards, and find a thread about the best kind of nachos.

Ten minutes later, what am I eating for dinner? You guessed it, nachos.

This is just sad.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Searching, Sort Of, For Jackie Gaughan

"Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day."

Johnny Cash, "Sunday Morning Coming Down"


The morning after the WPBT Aladdin Casino Classic was bright and sunny, with the promise of afternoon heat.

At least that's what they told me.

The idea that the regulars slouched around the table in the poker room of the El Cortez had actually been outside after sunup was dubious at best. Inside, the forecast was the same as always: Air conditioned, dark and slightly hazy.

It was nine o'clock on Sunday morning and I had nothing better to do, so I hung around.


Stepping into the wayback machine for a moment, prior to the beginning of this month I'd only been to Las Vegas once before. One spring break, a couple of friends and I pounced on a package deal offering the better part of a week in Sin City for an absurdly low price. This was in 1993. Our goal was to play golf during the day, see what the hype was all about during the night, and generally have as much fun as possible on just about no budget.

If you're in Vegas on a really cheap package, chances are good that you'll be staying downtown. We were no exception and found ourselves bunking at the Plaza. Or, if you're us, at "Jackie Gaughan's World Famous Plaza Hotel, Casino, Day Spa and Barber College". Something like that, anyway. We had a great time poking fun -- and not mean-spiritedly -- at the owner, who just happened to have his name plastered all over the place. It was never just the The Plaza, it was always Jackie Gaughan's Plaza. Oh, there was one exception -- the doors to the casino, which to this day bear the original Union Plaza label -- but otherwise Jackie left you no doubt that it was his place. We made sure that we went along with the game -- when the time came to retire for the evening, the suggestion was always that we should return to "Jackie Gaughan's Fabulous Plaza Hotel", never just "The Plaza".

I think the good-humored joking about Mr. Gaughan's propensitites had something to do with the fact that we had a great time. The Plaza itself was nothing to write home about -- the hotel room wasn't memorable, the casino was largely filled with old people playing nickel slots, we didn't eat there or otherwise spend much of our time in the place. Instead, we did things that first-timers do. We ate cheap late night food, walked up and down Fremont Street, did a flying tour of the strip and even made it out to the Rio. Good times. The fact that we did it all for very little money was a bonus.

With a little help from the positive vibes from the trip, what I perceived as the Jackie Gaughan formula -- a cheap place to stay, cheap eats and a fair gamble -- made us into fans. I knew I'd be back, I just didn't know when. It turned out to be a lot further away than I ever imagined. It may have been too long.

I still hadn't made it back when major changes hit downtown. One dark day in early 2004, Jackie sold out. Barrick Gaming acquired most of his properties -- including the Plaza, the Las Vegas Club, the Gold Spike and Western. No more "Jackie Gaughan's World Famous Plaza". It became just another place. Just "The Plaza". Reading the press coverage some time later, I found that there was one exception to the buyout -- Jackie retained ownership of the El Cortez, with Barrick just getting an option and right of first refusal. Jackie was still in business.

Perhaps it was destiny, then, when I found that most of the downtown hotels were sold out for at least one night by the time I got around to booking the WPBT weekend. The El Cortez it was. In the course of doing my homework on the place, I learned that it just so happens that Mr. Gaughan resides at the ElCo and is a regular in the casino's poker room.

It was only additional destiny, then, that I should see if I couldn't meet the man, maybe get an autograph or a picture to send along to my companions from that long-ago trip.

I was Las Vegas bound and searching, sort of, for Jackie Gaughan.


Returning to the events of that recent Sunday morning, I arose at an early hour and found myself at loose ends. Having finished breakfast and not yet decided on a plan of action, I ended up at the podium of the alcove that passes for a poker room in the House that Jackie Owns.

The brush was a slim, middle aged woman with unruly blond curls. Her name was Patty and she looked to me ever so slightly like a careworn Stevie Nicks. And she was bored enough to chat with the only person standing around looking to get into a game. That would be me.

For lack of anything better to do, she started telling me her story. It turns out she was from Michigan originally and her mother still lived there, so we immediately had something in common. I asked her when she moved to Las Vegas, and it turned out to be in the late 1970s. I asked when she'd last been back to Michigan, and if I followed correctly, it was also the late 1970s. I didn't ask why she hadn't been back.

Patty told me that a third table would be starting soon -- one table each of Stud and Hold'em were in progress and full -- and she attended to her duties, which included picking the place up, attending to the needs of the various players, and periodically announcing over the P.A. system the availability of seats in the poker room, including "7 Card Stud, One to Three, No Ante with a TEN DOLLAR BUYIN." I could really appreciate the emphasis placed on the buyin -- Patty was doing her part to get the attention of the gamblers eager to get a low budget poker fix.

At no point did anyone appear and ask to be put on the 7-Stud list. I guess a low buy-in isn't everything.


Jackie Gaughan was not in the house that morning. But there was a poker game, so I stayed.

Once a few additional people had arrived, the third table got started. I bought in for what may well have been an exorbitant amount -- sixty dollars. In any other place, that amount would be a distressingly short buyin. At the ElCo's 1-3-6 spread limit table, it was a virtual chip castle.

I jokingly told the hardest working blogger in the business later on that he should get over to the El Cortez and write about "the worst poker game in the world". The thing is, it wasn't the worst game in the world. It just wasn't casino poker.

Let me repeat that, it wasn't casino poker.

To me, casino poker is the opportunity to play with unknown opponents. You have to size them up and make hard decisions with only incomplete information. Contrast this to a regular home game, where you've likely learned your opponents' style of play and usual strategies. The ElCo game was nothing more than a glorified home game, since I was the only player at the table who wasn't a regular. Most of the table were elderly white men, there was one older Asian lady, a thirtysomething guy who worked at the casino and Patty sat in to get the table going.

Of course, by "getting the table going", I mean commencing play. The table itself was dead. You'd find more action at a convention of narcoleptics. But what can you expect with a single $1 blind? The arrival of the Asian lady and a chip-spewing gentleman in exceptionally bad health pumped things up a little bit by playing any two cards, but for the most part, the action was rocky and dull.

Just to throw one lousy hand history into the mix, I was dealt AA exactly one time in Vegas. It was at the ElCo. Three players (including me) saw the flop and the turn, one folded to a King on the turn and the other player and I went to showdown for the largest pot of the morning. He also had AA, unimproved. Chop the pot. Dammit. The third player said he had QQ.

The other players chatted amongst themselves about this and that, and at one point, one of them mentioned that Jackie should be showing up at any time. Before I could get my hopes up, another noted that he had been involved in an all-night session not many days before and doubted that the man would be making an appearance.

That was to be the only news I got. I folded a lot, overplayed marginal hands and generally screwed around before finally running out of patience. Four hours after checking in I said goodbye to the regulars and cashed out, with a least a hint of sadness that I wouldn't get the chance to play poker with the man himself.

I would be left to search for Jackie Gaughan another time.

The remainder of my weekend in Vegas was a blur of activity and I never made my way back to the El Cortez's poker alcove.

Maybe you can help me with my pseudo-quest: If you happen to be in Vegas and just can't work up the enthusiasm to go uptown to hassle transients at the bus station, stop in to the El Cortez for a few hands. And if you end up playing at the same table as an octogenarian who acts like he owns the place, please give my regards to Mr. Gaughan. I may not have found him, but I still like the way he runs a casino.

The Jester

(no poker content -- ed.)

The jester had gone morbid. I learned this on a steaming June evening when we stopped to talk.

"I've been filling the hours of late wondering in which way I will crack first," he said. Not knowing what he meant, I asked for an explanation.

"It has long been my thinking that people are like blocks of concrete. Strong, stable, the finest building material in the world. And yet if you apply enough pressure, whether it be in the form of heat, or wind, or especially water, even the best concrete will crumble. Men are no different. Subject them to whichever form of strain they are susceptible to, crank up the amplitude to a factor of infinity and voila, you will find the hardest man reduced to nothing more than dust and sand."

I must have appeared skeptical, as the jester dejectedly shook his head. "You don't see," he said.

"Surely this must be another of your famous jests," I replied, "as you for one have no obvious fault lines along which to crack."

"Ah, but I do. If anything, my faults are many. Let me explain. Perhaps I may crack physically. I get little exercise, have poor dietary habits and in both my personal and professional life I make choices that are less than ideal for maintaining robust health. Do I have the open and obvious problem of a terminal or wasting disease? No, I do not. But are not the hidden deficiencies, a blood clot or a leaky heart valve, an untreated virus or a genetic defect, cause for just as much concern? Why I could break down at any moment."

"But --" I started to interject, only to find the jester had not paused to draw a breath.

"And even if I prove to have the physical constitution of a draft horse despite the years of neglect," he said," perhaps I will crack mentally. For, you see, there is a great deal of strain, a lot of stress in what I do. People depend on me, and it is ever more difficult to live up to their expectations. And if I find myself less and less up to facing that burden, perhaps one day I won't be able to shoulder it at all."

"Or perhaps the cracking will be financial. We all have the difficulty of meeting our day-to-day expenses, but what if mine become too much to bear? Even the most dextrous juggler cannot succeed if additional balls are constantly put into the air. He must eventually lose his race against time and fail. If enough people witness his failure and proclaim it, will he not want to disappear out of shame?"

With this observation, the jester fell silent. I asked if he thought there were other ways a person might crack.

"I do not know," he said, "for I have just this moment stopped thinking about that question."

I offered that this was probably for the best.

"It is," he gravely agreed. "For now I will have all the time in world to consider what to do with myself when I crack, rather than bothering myself wondering what will be the cause of it."

Our conversation thereafter turned to the mundane pleasantries exchanged by casual acquaintances, and we soon prepared to go our separate ways. "You know, with all this thinking I've been doing, at least one thing is clear," he said to me in parting. "No one need pray for my ruination. I'm doing a damned fine job of ensuring it all by my own self."

With head bowed, the dejected jester made his way onward.

Friday, June 24, 2005

More Stupid Poker Content

So the hardest working blogger in the WSOP coverage business periodically bounces around the room at the Rio.

I've been bouncing around the internet, at least the poker sites.

That may be overstating things, but I have had four different sites cranked up. I'm presently down to two, having unregistered from the Full Tilt bracelet race tournament after realizing that if I won, I'd probably have to play the Razz WSOP event. Uh, no thanks. Oh, and I also busted out of a Prima tourney way short.

The point of this post, if there ever is a point on the blog, is that this supposedly a poker blog and I like boring people with hand histories. This one's a quickie. Playing a crazy $2 turbo rebuy satellite (by mistake) on Stars, I get AA in the big blind. I reraise all in, three other players come along for the ride. They have QQ, JJ and 22. Somehow I dodge the 9000 outs and nearly quadruple up.

That's been about the highlight. I'm also in this stupid Party freeroll, and since I haven't seen anything good, I've been going all in every time I'm dealt the Hammer. I think I'm 3 for 3 in getting people to fold.

Can you tell I'm actually kind of bored at this point and it wouldn't kill me to bust?

Not Quite A Brag Post

Just had my second ever royal flush ... too bad it was playing Omaha/8. Even worse, at a $10PL table. I got paid, but won like six bucks.

Looks like Full Tilt is rigged too.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Theory of Sucking

Sometimes you're the suckor, sometimes you're the suckee.

I managed to finish up the last of my most recent batch of library books* tonight so that they can be returned only three days overdue. Having accomplished the evening's goal, I set sail on the choppy waters of Party Poker.

Things immediately turned to suck, as I managed to get rivered three times in succession, losing twice when my flopped two pair was counterfeited on the river and a third time when those stupid pocket rockets were cracked by a rivered set of 8s. Yes, sir, you did also have a gutshot straight draw, but is chasing with third pair really advisable? Nice hand anyway.

Oh, well. For whatever reason the poker gods then decided to show a little mercy, and I recouped the entire 20 BB loss plus a few bucks. I'm just pleased as can be by the fact that I didn't go on massive tilt for a change.

Perhaps reading about people who don't have the luxury of luxury produced a sense of calm. Or perhaps I'm drunk. I suppose I'm going to have to rule out the latter, given a complete abstinance from booze the last week or so. So I'll go with having a little perspective on things for a change.

And just when you think I'm going to zig, I'm going to zag. Zag back into the self-indulgent junk that pervades this blog. Let's do the rest of the weekend in review.

I purchased a TV antenna (cost: about 1 week's cable bill) so that I could watch the U.S. Open on Saturday. It was worth it -- I now get at least 2 (and possibly as many as four) channels, plus having golf on the background is ideal for a long nap. I caught the last couple holes on Sunday after playing a round at the local course with the Father's Day honorees. I suppose that anyone who bet on Michael Campbell made a mint.

As an additional "benefit" of the new teevee equipment, I got to watch the Pistons blow it in Game 5. Really, I would have been far, far better off not watching.

And then what do you know, it's the beginning of another week.



* Last read was "A Continent For The Taking", a memoir of reporting on Africa by a writer from the New York Times. From this, you can conclude many things. For one, I have odd taste in reading material. I believe about the last eight books I've read (or should that be the eight books I've read this month?) have all been about faraway places I'll most certainly never see. For another, you may conclude that the local outfit isn't exactly the Library of Congress. It isn't, but it's not bad.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Reading about people with real life issues really puts things in perspective. Bitching about bad beats and rough days at work is petty, base, meaningless. Positive thoughts and best wishes to Charlie and the family of Iggy and wife.


On to the regularly scheduled crap that poses as content:

I've played very little online this month, less than 1,000 hands. Some of it is that there are plenty of other things going on, a part is due to the lack of available funds, and the rest is just a general malaise. I did get in a couple of shortish, 1 table sessions this week, and noticed that Party is still rigged. I had one good session, I think it was on Thursday. I got good starting hands, hit sets and straights and flushes, and doubled my buyin (playing limit). Every other session, I've gotten almost entirely offsuit garbage hands, anything I play (mostly just blinds) whiffs completely and I either fold if I'm smart or bluff/chase futilely if I'm an idiot.

I'm trying to keep the idiocy to a minimum.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Weekend Update With Tony G

It never ceases to amaze me just how fleeting summer weekends can be. Dozens of things that need to be done remain undone when Monday rolls around. Two short days of beautiful (read: I would love summer a lot more *with* air conditioning) weather slips by faster than a ride with a Vegas taxi driver long-hauling you to the Strip.

But I digress.

I really should quit playing poker. It's been remarkably unprofitable of late. Not losing, at least not much, but most certainly unprofitable. It may be this pathetic trend that has kept me from redepositing the post-Vegas dregs of my bankroll. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm just too lazy to go to the bank during business hours. Could be either.

I better get myself to the bank soon, however, or there won't be anything left. This weekend's impulse buy:

I could hardly believe my eyes -- it only took them six years to put this out.

Needless to say, that made for a good weekend, despite the fact that the damned Hilton Sisters let me down, failing once again to crack AA and causing the total wipeout of hard-earned (read: "lucky") winnings from earlier HORSEP play. I am seriously considering changing my blog address to

At least I did have a good idea. "Saturday Night Live" is hit or miss, right? The show always needs new blood. And who would be better than Tony G of WPT:Paris fame? I think he'd be the perfect choice to do "Weekend Update".

Random Photo of the Week:

I shop at Grand Dolla, fool!

In a small, cheap, conservative Michigan town with nearly one dollar store per person, how do you get your budget emporium to stand out from the crowd? You go ghetto! Speak the language of the streets, and the street people will beat a path to your door. As they say in parks of the trailer, "holla!".

Saturday, June 11, 2005

You Can Add "Media Superstar" To The List...

In case you didn't see the mention on Random Thoughts & Thoroughbred* Selections, mister huge junk himself, Bobby Bracelet, was prominently featured in the local newspaper today. {*edited b/c it really wasn't that funny. Sorry.}

Link Here -- I don't know how long it'll be good.

The online version features a link to the hardworking folks at LasVegasVegas, which is nice to see. I wonder why it didn't make it into the print version.

While you're surfing, please be sure to visit The Tao of Poker for LIVE blog coverage of the WSOP. Dr. Pauly is putting up with inhumane working conditions just for you, so why not show him some love?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Errata Etcetera

The New York TimesPodunkville Weekly Gazette of poker blogs would like to make the following additions and corrections to the previous trip report-type post:

* I was blanking on it since I didn't take notes, but I was at the same table as the Tsunami Hitchhiker and Jason during my brief appearance at WPBT: Aladdin. Duh. Pleasure meeting you both.

* Talked to Chad briefly, but otherwise I don't think I met the Minnesota crew. That means I missed an opporunity to compare notes on how to survive three hour waits at Canterbury Park and discuss whether Peter King of Sports Illustrated is on crack given his pick of the Vikings to go to the Super Bowl out of the NFC. I'll look you guys up next time I'm out that way.

* I had the surly and bored roulette dealer at the Club overpay me (by $20) when I cashed out. The floor caught it and it wasn't any big deal to me to make it right -- just an oddity, since I almost expect the occasional short-pay attempt but never an overpay.

I think that's everything I've had come to mind so far -- My thoughts are scattered and it's proving difficult to get readjusted to the regular grind. There is no bouncing out of bed on three hours sleep when all you're faced with is another day at the office.

In other news, Party had a June reload bonus (BONUSJUN) that ended yesterday. I didn't get the remains of my bankroll back into play fast enough to take advantage.

The Spurs seem to be a unanimous pick over the Pistons. I'd think you could get pretty favorable odds on the Pistons if you, uh, had access to a sports book and were a betting man (or woman).

For you midwestern bloggers, Allegiant Air is starting up Las Vegas service in August on Mondays and Fridays out of South Bend, Indiana. Direct flight, and through September 30, you can get one leg of the trip from $79.00 according to their website. Aside from wholly inadequate ticket counter staffing in Vegas (and the lack of kiosk or internet check in for people not checking bags), I thought Allegiant was most acceptable.

Also, Hooters Air has direct flights out of Gary, Indiana starting today. Visit Hooters Air for details. Fares start at $99.00 each way, with 2 flights per week.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More Fun Than The Law Allows

Here's your basic trip report: WAY too much fun.

Okay, a slightly longer version. I didn't really take notes, so the details will be a little skimpy -- i.e. maybe I'll stay on topic instead of wandering off into random spew mode. Oh, who am I kidding. This will be long, rambling and probably pretty boring.

I flew in Friday night, got in just before midnight, Vegas time. Also known as 3:00 a.m. EDT. (I wish I could sleep on airplanes. I just can't do it.) Eventually figured out a way downtown -- I didn't have the patience for the 600 person long taxi line, and most of the shuttle services were booked solid. I wandered around a corner and found a shuttle just heading out -- he wouldn't take me downtown, but it was $4 to get to the Strip. I jumped all over it and cabbed from there downtown. Worked like a charm.

Sometime in the wee hours, I arrive at the fabulous (and often mocked) El Cortez Hotel & Casino. I had found most places downtown sold out for at least one night, I didn't really want to move around and I refuse to pay Strip prices. It's just me and I don't plan to do anything there other than sleep, you know? So I stayed at the ElCo, even choosing the cheapest type of room -- in the old section directly up the stairs from the casino. You know what? It was actually quite nice. Clean, very respectably furnished, good water pressure, what more do you want? There weren't even any cigarette burns or bad smells. This was at least two star quality for a sub-one star ($22 or so per night) price. Now, you probably wouldn't stay there if you were married and had a demanding spouse, or if you were paranoid about being in the vicinity of an occasional moderately sketchy person, but it was perfect for me.

By now it's pushing 2:00 a.m. local time and I'm stunned that I'm not sleepy. It's a little late to head to the Excalibur game, so I wander down to the casino for a little $3 blackjack. The ElCo has pretty decent rules -- seems to be pretty much single deck, 3:2 pay. Of course I got crushed. How many times can you pull at 12 against a dealer 10? Yeesh. Blackjack is so rigged. The good thing is you have to work really hard to lose forty or fifty bucks playing $3 a hand. Shift change come for the table games -- I wish I'd brought a camera, they lined up to come in and the late shift was all Asian, all female. Hilarious. Maybe that's not the right word. Time for sleep.

Saturday morning I'm up bright and early. Sleep is for the weak, right? I get some breakfast and make my way down to the Aladdin. I get there with at least an hour to kill, so I waste a few bucks (scratch that, I was actually up a few bucks) playing slots and getting bloody marys. They go down really well when you're not losing. I mill around for a few minutes before the event, meet CJ and a few other folks, and get seated at the toxic Seat 10, Table 10.

The portion of the WPBT Aladdin Classic I was involved in was easily the least memorable part of the whole trip. I was at the same table as Bill Rini, The Fat Guy, Easy Cure, Joaquin, Royal, Lance Kim, I think Mr. Subliminal and I'm drawing a blank on anyone else at the moment. I didn't get any especially playable hands in the first hour -- had one pair (deuces) and limped, flop was rainbow overcards and I instafold. No sooted connectors, no big aces (AJo twice, raised before it got to me both times). Pure garbage. Last hand before the break I get A4s, lots of limpers building a (relatively) huge pot, I limp, Bill pushes. If I fold, I would have 2 BBs (800 chips) when the blinds go up after the break. I call and pray, and get no help against Bill's AQ (I think, maybe it was AK). With the loss, I have one $25 chip left. I lose when the dealer races off the $25 chips, but he determined with the help of the floor that you can't get raced out. So I live another partial orbit, lose with sooted crap and I'm out in 55th or so. With the rapid escalation of the blinds, I should have probably just pushed a lot earlier with whatever crap I had and hoped to steal the blinds or get lucky if anyone called. I guess I'm just happy to not be Gigli.

It was more fun to watch the rest of the tournament than it was to play it. Both Bobby Bracelet and BG eventually made their way through Table 10, Seat 10, ultimately falling victim to its bad mojo. Nice finish for BG, however. As the whole world knows, Bill put my chips (and those of many others) to good use and won the whole thing. Well played, sir.

After the event it was time for a trip to LaSalsa and the AlCantHangButCanHeEverAfterparty. I got to meet a lot of very cool people. I'd make a list but I don't want this to go on forever. Good times. It was a little annoying that there wasn't any beverage service after a while -- those LaSalsa people left a lot of money on the table and that's despite their efforts to bring me things I didn't order like that $15 margarita. So it's back downtown, this time to the Plaza. (Side note: The Plaza looks *exactly* the same as it did the last time I was in Vegas and happened to have stayed there. That was in 1993.) I get into a 3-6 game with Shelly from Hella Holdem. This game brought me my personal poker trip highlight -- I bluffed a guy out of a pot with the Hammer. In 3-6 limit.

I raised it preflop, flop was all hearts. He bet, I raised, he folded. I showed.

Man I wish I'd had my camera at that moment. The stunned looks were priceless. (Yeah, yeah, I did have one heart).

Alas, that game also was my only profitable poker session. I won something like $23 after tips. After I cashed out, I didn't see anyone else around and I was running on fumes, so I made my way back the the ElCo for a few hours of sleep.

Sunday morning, I got up early and had breakfast. I figure I've got hours to kill before anyone else is up and around, so I hit the 1-3-6 spread limit game in the ElCo's "Poker Room". Well, "Poker Alcove" would be a better description. It's 3 tables. I'll have a lengthy post about this experience soon, probably, but I killed four or five hours just hanging out playing cards. Lost a few bucks in the process. Yes, I truly do suck at poker.

I spent part of the day making my down Fremont Street, stopping in at each casino to check it out. I picked up a few freebies (which will probably be used as White Elephants come the gift-giving holidays), played a little of this and a little of that, winning tiny amounts of money in each place except Binions - those bastards - and eventually made it down to the Plaza. Long story short, I hung around at the bar and got into the 2-4 mixed game that was set up with the help of J.T. the poker room manager-type guy. Multiple hours of sippin' SoCo, remembering that I don't have a clue how to play Razz or Omaha/8 effectively and chatting with the contingent -- Jason, Gracie, Alan, Iggy, Pauly, Derek, the Poker Geek, Al, The Fat Guy, BG, Bob and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. I inflict a painful Hold'Em beat on Derek when my flopped set of 7s defeats his flopped set of 6s. Sorry again, man.

The game breaks somewhere in the vicinity of 1:00 a.m. and it's back to the ElCo, since I'm pretty tired at this point.

Thing is, I get a second wind on the walk back and I can't even consider going to sleep. I've got to leave on Monday, so time is short. Must gamble. I know, I've never played craps before and the home base has a $3 table with 10x odds. Perfect. Especially since I know virtually nothing (ok, I kind of know the basic plays, but not many of the exotic bets) about craps and i've got more than a couple shots under my belt. Recipe for disaster, right? Wrong! I roll like I've actually played this game before, holding the dice three times for at least 15-20 minutes. I hit a ton of numbers (not so many points), so I mostly make a lot of money for the action betters around me rather than myself -- I made a guy a minor fortune when I rolled hits for his horn bet four times in a row and he pressed the first three. Craps is certainly entertaining, at least when you win some. I cash out up and finally decide to try and sleep sometime between 4:30 and 5:00.

Nothing special about Monday. Got up early, hit Binion's (those bastards) for breakfast and decide to spend the couple hours I had before going to the airport trying some more games I'd never played before. Won some money playing Roulette at the Vegas Club (again, a first) hitting red four times in a row. Quit as soon as I lost a bet. Got my ass handed to me playing Let it Ride -- biggest loss of the trip -- a reasonably entertaining but wickedly -EV game. Time flies when you're losing money.

Dragged myself down to the airport, stood in line for a couple hours and barely made the flight out. But for the need to be at work today, it wouldn't have been a bad thing to have missed it. I would have been perfectly happy to spend another day, another week, maybe even a month in Vegas.

Some of the Highs:

* Meeting a lot of the people I read every day, and finding out they're even more interesting in real life. Just hanging out on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening were my favorite parts of the trip.
* Losing money to bloggers playing poker.
* Getting a lot of bang for the buck all things considered.

Some of the Lows:

* Not getting to meet everyone. I can think of a lot of folks I really didn't get a chance to talk to -- or even say hello. Damn this whole being an introvert thing and the general lack of time. I did also spend too much time on my own (not that I didn't enjoy it, it was just a wasted opportunity).
* Getting there on Friday. If I could do it over again, I'd have found some way to get there earlier.
* Learning once again that I just don't have the patience required to be a winning B&M poker player.
* Note to self, lighting your money on fire is a better idea than playing Let It Ride.

I could go on and on, but I think this is already way more than anyone would find interesting. Until next time.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Being Held Prisoner, Please Send Help!

Okay, time has officially stopped. Despite the work week being short thanks to the holiday, it is still dragging on *forever*. I am consumed with envy of those who have already left.

I'll be in the air in less than 36 hours. That day and a half will probably seem like a month before all is said and done. At least there are a million things to be taken care of between now and then -- the only, and I do mean only, preparation I've completed (other than booking, which was done weeks ago) so far has been going to the bank for my puny Vegas stake.

There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to doing this weekend. But you know what I'm looking forward to most of all? Just getting away for a couple days. No work, no phone, no bills, no weeds to pull or grass to cut. Sure, it will be nice to meet assorted bloggers and to play a little poker. It would be fabulous to win a few bucks at blackjack or to hit a slot jackpot. But the main draw for me, right at this moment, is the opportunity to break out of the routine for a day or two and clear my head.

Nothing like Vegas for clearing one's head, am I right?

On the poker front, I was playing the always challenging $0.50/$1.00 limit game on Party last night when the site crashed. Just when I'm actually having a winning session, blammo. Speculation seems to center around a massive DOS attack, and I've read that Full Tilt was also affected. Let's hope this doesn't become a regular occurance.

T-minus what, 35 hours and 55 minutes now?