Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Quick HH and Vegas recap

It's been a long time since I posted, so I figure I may as well get that monkey off my back with a recap of my Vegas extended weekend.  I arrived on Wednesday night, meeting my wife who I haven't seen in over 2 weeks.  (Quick recap: I'm in Denver for 4 months on business travel, and only get to go home once every 30 days.)  Anyway, we met at the hotel (she came in earlier in the week from DC), and went out to dinner as I was starving; it was an hour later in Denver time than in Vegas, and we were approaching the 8:00 hour in Vegas.  We walked around a bit and settled on a so-so family style Italian place in the Venetian or Caesars (can't remember which).  The "so-so" part was the sauce on the calamari marinara was watery and the angel hair was not drained adequately, while the steamed mussels were somewhat flavorless.   Oh well - lesson learned, but kinda expensive.

The next day, we went hiking up in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  It was an awesome hike; we were climbing huge rocks and boulders, and basically having a good time getting re-acquainted with each other after the 2 week hiatus.  As the day progressed, we realized we should have brought a picnic lunch, and got in the car to find food.  We opted for an awesome place called Krayvings - an all natural healthy place right down the block from Red Rock Casino.  The food was great, and the price was really terrific.

Afterwards, we headed over to Fremont Street to the old strip.  Neither of us had ever been there before, and it was an interesting experience, to say the least...  I doubt I'll be back to that area, though I can say I've been there.  We also visited the world famous Binions Casino - my wife took a picture of me in front of the Poker Hall of Fame display they have outside of the poker room.  It was cool being there, but the place had the feeling of death and despair - very much a has-been casino.  In fact, the last sentence mostly summarizes all of the Fremont walking area, unfortunately...  As it was getting late, we went for a decent dinner at the Michael Mina's Pub 1842 at the MGM Grand.  We both enjoyed our dinners, and for casino food, the price was quite reasonable.  After dinner, we went to the late show of Ka at the MGM Grand later that night.  The show was awesome, but I recommend going when you have more energy.  We had done so much during the day that we were both fighting to stay awake.

The next day, my wife was scheduled to return home, so we had limited time.  We drove out to the Hoover Dam, which was a pretty neat experience.  The drive took about an hour, but we had the opportunity to really see outside of Vegas, driving through Henderson and then Boulder City.  Interesting fact: Hoover Dam is split between Arizona and Nevada, and is considered a shared resource.  The building is magnificent, when you consider that it was built from 1931-1936, prior to computers and modern engineering techniques.  Very impressive stuff - coupled with the new bridge that was completed in 2010 (you can see the bridge in the background of the picture to the right.  We wound up going for Mexican food later that night at a place called Michoacan Mexican restaurant - the place was AWESOME with great tasting food and an awesome price.  If we lived in the local area, we would have taken home doggy bags, because the quantity of food was absolutely overwhelming.

Dropping my wife off at the airport later that night, I would have my first session of poker - the crux of this blog...  I wound up meeting up with RobVegasPoker of Rob's Vegas and Poker Blog and Ante Up fame.  Rob was kind enough to put me on the waiting list as he arrived - he's like a celebrity at the casino we played.  I think all the dealers and desk workers knew him, and they knew I was his friend - so I guess I was almost famous :-).  We played together for an hour or two before he started feeling tired (he was playing in an earlier tournament in another casino prior to our meet up.  The hands were definitely hitting for him, and he wound up having a really nice session before we parted ways.  I would stay on at what would turn out to be an awesome table - filled with 1 drunk and a ton of semi-knowledgeable tourists.  Everyone at the table, though, was there to have a good time.  I certainly showed them that good time by running the conversation.  We started by talking about wives and ex-wives, but quickly moved into prostitution and the regular flow of half-naked club-goers streaming in and out of the club behind the poker room.  I was asking "innocent questions" about how much prostitutes cost, what the delta difference in pricing for geographic location may be, whether prostitutes charge more for being hot or being good at... well... prostituting...?  FYI - I put quotes around the "innocent questions" because I know full well that others at the table were pretending to not know about these sorts of things, though they were quick with certain answers...  Personally, I've never partaken in such activities but have always been curious about the economics behind the oldest profession in the world.

Anyway, I wound up having a killer session after starting off down $500 at a the 1/2 game.  This was my first time since the beginning of the year playing down, as I had solely been sticking to 2/5.  Quick semi-standard hand history: I call a mid-position raise to $12 with 3 3.  Flop comes 3 K K - 2 diamonds.  Belgian dude leads for $20 and I raise to $45.  He flats, all else fold (think there were 4 to the flop).  Turn puts out the 6d and I lead for $50.  He raises me all-in and I snap call.  He shows the Ace high flush and I scoop a nice $400+ pot.  Easy game.  I wound up quitting that game at 5am!  I am still exhausted as I type this post 2 days later.

Anyway, I tried to get in touch with Tony Big Charles of tbc's blog about grinding low stakes poker the next day, but was unable to roust him from his slumber.  I went for my In-N-Out fix and settled down at a 1/3 game in the Bellagio.  Interesting poker room - this must be a grinder's paradise; no bad beats or player pool drops, max rake is $4 on 1/3 and 2/5, and the room is as busy as any other on the strip.  I sat for a few hours before Tony finally decided to contact me.  With 4 hours before my flight, I decided to spend my last few hours in Vegas meeting up with the man, the myth and the legend.  I picked him up at a McDonalds, bought him lunch and got to hear about the ills of his world.  He's an interesting guy, with a lot of predisposed notions of the world - if you read his blog, you'll know what I mean.  However, I think he's a lost guy in need of someone to take him under their wing.  I think that if he had friends to help take care of him and oversee his daily activities, his life situation could be much improved.  Unfortunately, he won't apply (or possibly can't get) aid from the state, and I'm not that guy to be his caretaker since I'm here in Denver and DC.  Anyway, watching him, I understand from whence he comes.

All in all, it was an awesome trip!  I got to spend real quality time with my wife who I so dearly miss.  I miss my kids too, and didn't get to see them this trip.  It's been 7 years since I'd visited Vegas, and I hope to make it back next time in a shorter duration.

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