Vegas Trip Report

Ok, I’m back and stuff. I did have an internet connection when I got to the suite in Las Vegas, but I think they banned my MAC address after I did a port scan of the network. My IP address changed to a self-assigned one and I couldn’t get one from the DHCP server for the rest of the stay. Anyways:

While I was waiting in Baltimore for my change over there was a cop on a Segway driving around. I don’t know if this is common transportation here or not. On the flight I had brought a book, “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs�, my laptop and the greatest invention of all time, the iPod. I finished the book in a little over two hours and couldn’t fall asleep so I turned to my laptop for something too look at. I was horrified to find out that I had no games, except for Dopewars, on the damn thing. On the cab ride over my sister had asked me if I had brought any DVDs with me. I said I hadn’t except for the copy of the family video for my brother. Digging through my bad I discovered that I did have another DVD, three Beverly Hillbillies episodes that I had picked up at the dollar store for a geocache prize. Well, I opened that thing up and watched “The one where the British guy comes to Mayberry�, “The one where Barney tries to hook Andy up�, and “The one where the mountain people have an argument.� Those lasted me until we were told to put away any electronic devices as we were landing. After we landed and deplaned, I took the little train to the baggage claim and waited for my bag. And waited… And waited… for an hour and a half, changing carousels three times before the damn thing came. And it wasn’t just mine, everyone who was on the plane was in the same boat, so to speak. Finally I got my back, jumped in a taxi and headed to The Rio. I found my mom and my sister with out much of a problem. Our room wasn’t ready yet, but my two nieces’ room was, so I took my stuff up there. After getting some food, and then moving my stuff to my room my mother, sister and I headed to Harrah’s via the shuttle. I found out they had just opened a poker room and I sat down for some not very memorable 2-4. I came out about $15 down after four hours or so due to some bad beats. We headed back to The Rio to wait for my brother to come in, I think I played some slots while waiting and then I headed upstairs, took a long bath and went to bed.

I woke up at 5:30am (8:30am my time) and saw that the TV was on. They were taking about some breaking news or something. Then I heard a helicopter out side. The night before there was some car accident or something that we could see from our window and the helicopter was out then too, so I had a look out the window to see if I could see the whirly bird. Nope, I turned my attention back to the news and apparently some guy had taken a hostage at an apartment building and had a bomb. Well, that’s exciting. By this time my mom, brother and sister had woken up and we got ready for the day and headed down stairs. I checked to see if anyone wanted to go to the strip as there was no poker here at the Rio, nope not yet, maybe later. Ok, so I headed over myself. I stopped at the in-house Fourbucks, er Starbucks and got a tea and a blueberry scone for breakfast. I went out to the shuttle landing place and was excited to see that there was no line. There was also no shuttle service for another two hours. Darn it. I decided to take a walk over to the strip. It can’t be too far away, I can see it from here. And I had my iPod. Now it was “cold� there outside according to the locals, about 60-65. In this weather, I have a jacket on, but it’s open with just a t-shirt underneath. The people I saw walking to work had thick jackets on, big hats, ear muffs, mittens and had scarves pulled over their mouths to keep out the bitter cold air. I found it quite funny. I made the walk in about 10-15 minutes and my first stop was the Bellagio. The poker room was about 1/3 full but the lowest game they had going was 6-12 and I didn’t want to play in that. The only famous person I think I saw was Evelyn Ng. So headed back outside and looked at the pool in front where the fountains are for a bit before heading to the Mirage. I played in the 4-8 there for about 2 1/2 hours before I lost my $200 buy in and decided that I had had enough of an ass whuppin.
I headed back to Harrah’s for the softer games and found out that a $40 NL tournament was starting in 20 minutes. Well sign me up. This was quite entertaining most of people had just taken the free lesson an hour before and in the first five hands four people were sent home, including one guy twice after a rebuy. I lasted past the second break when I had A-Qo and opened for 4x the BB. A guy in a “Dead Money� shirt called me. The flop came X-X-Q. I bet about half the pot, the other guy went all-in, I called, he had the other two Queens. IGHN. Well before I did go back I stopped and watched the tiger and the aquarium and then I caught the shuttle back to The Rio. I picked up some lunch from somewhere and played video poker for a couple of hours going up $20 or so before going back up stairs to take a nap.
After I woke back up we all piled in a limo to go downtown. At one point we were stopped at a red light next to a stretch hummer. Penny’s son tried to ask them if they had any Grey Pupon, but they wouldn’t roll down their window. Once reaching downtown we realized that we had actually made our way to Arkansas. There were people in cowboy hats everywhere, thousands of them. Apparently there was a big rodeo going down in town, and Mark Chestnut was playing on Fremont street tonight at 9pm sharp. Wonderful. My mom had a couple of rooms at Lady Luck so we walked over there. At the desk they had given my mother a choice between rooms with a Jacuzzi or a coffee machine. I voted for Jacuzzi, but was over ruled. Once we arrived to our coffee machine rooms we found out that while they do come with coffee machines and cups, they do not have coffee or a coffee pot. Those are extra. I guess the water in the Jacuzzi would’ve been extra too.
We headed back to Arkansas for dinner and ate at some famous rib place that Oprah always talks about. I dunno, ask my mother. The food was good though. After that we headed out and I convinced my sister to some with my to Binions to play some poker. I gave her some basic strategy and we sat down at a new 2-4 table. Did I mention that there were lots of cowboys walking around? Did I mention they were all quite drunk? They were. One incident happened behind me was this booming voice going “Sir, come back here. SIR! Do not talk that way about my mother!� The voice belonged to a 6’ 7� 300lb drunk cowboy walking right behind this 5’ 6� 180lb tourist with his head down and a look of fear on his face. We played until about 3am and I was up about $160 renewing my faith that I actually knew something about this game. Most of the money came from this Asian kid on the other end of the table who kept getting in to pots with me with the second best hand. My sister ended up down $140 or so but I figured that was pretty good for five hours and her first time playing.

I woke up at about 8am local time and we all headed downstairs for breakfast at the little 3rd street grill, or whatever it’s called, on the casino floor. Everyone was excited about the Eggs Benedict, even the woman at the next table. I went for the steak and eggs instead. While we were waiting for our food, the woman who recommended the Eggs Benedict started in with the “Did I leave my money in my room? No, I brought it with me. This isn’t funny! Someone stole my money! This is NOT funny!� etc. We all looked away as we don’t want to be a part of this $2.99 Eggs Benedict scam. After breakfast we walked around Fremont street a bit more ending up at the Neopolois, which was pretty much a ghost town at 11am. My sister and I headed back to the Horseshoe and were seated on a table near where “The Third Richest Man in Texas� was playing NL. He was quite entertaining to listen to. “Check, Check, Check, Bullshit! I’m not checking, we’re playing poker here boys! Let’s gamble! 750! Oh, don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing! I’ve been playing poker longer than you’ve been alive son! You ain’t gonna pull a fast one on me!� I started off slow, but thanks to one pot I made up some ground. I had a pair of 5s on the button, and it was raised and re-raised to me, so I put another bet in and then it was capped. The flop came JJ7. One bet came down and I raised it. Next card was a J. I figured nobody had four of a kind, and hey, I have a full house. It was checked to me so I bet again. It was called all around. Last card was a 2. I really didn’t think anyone had a pocket pair, but there was one bet put out, I raised it up for value and it was called. The dealer was quite interested to see what everyone had. I showed my 5s and everyone else mucked. The dealer was kind of pissed at me. “What the hell were you doing raising with that?� What can I say? I was playing loose with Presto. I also played 10-2o three times since, hey, I’m at the Horseshoe, might was well play the Brunson. I did hit trip twos on the turn one hand but no full house. I had been checking my cell phone to keep track of the time throughout the session and at around 2:45 I saw that I had a missed call. Hmm, I don’t recognize the number, but it’s a Vermont cell phone, so it might be my mom. Nope, it’s Amy’s boyfriend, Shawn’s phone. Nobody answered and I hit the voice mail. I didn’t bother to leave a message. At three I checked the time again and saw that I had a message, so I stepped outside to listen. It was Amy. “We’re on our way to the hospital so please have mom call either Shawn’s phone or the room here.� Uh-oh. I go back inside and tell my sister that we have to go, someone’s going to the hospital. She goes to fold her hand. “No, finish your hand we do have 30 seconds or so for that.� But then I saw her J7o with a board of Q84Q and told her to fold. I cashed out my chips at +$120 and my sister was only down $20 or so. Good for her. We headed out the front to Fremont street and called Shawn’s phone back. Amy answered and apparently Shawn had gotten a cigarette in his eye. While horrific, it’s not life threatening or anything so I was able to relax. I thought something had happened to my mother, or someone had been hit by a car or something like that. I handed the phone over to my sister as we walked to the bus stop. I ended up stopping at a Indian store and got this nifty railroad spike for CJ from the Mexican Railroad. We took the bus to Harrah’s and then took the shuttle to The Rio. All told we got there at around 5pm. The story we heard was that Amy and Shawn were at The Gold Coast and Shawn had a lit cigarette in his mouth and went to reach for it when someone bumped into him causing him to miss grabbing the cigarette and pushed it straight up into his eye. The hospital dumped some pain killer wash into it and gave him a prescription, which Wallgreens then filled out wrong, forgetting the painkiller part.
We caught back up with my mother and brother and we waited downstairs for Amy and Jess to come down so we could get some supper. While we were waiting I played a Jackpot Party penny machine and ended up taking $180 out of it. $180 from a penny machine. The previous family record had been $140 or so. My sister did me better after dinner when we were waiting for my brother’s plane by hitting one for $225. She hit some bonus “12 Free Spins� thing and kept getting multipliers, up to 15x I think, and then hit another 12 free spins before the first ones were even done. The machine ran by itself for a good five minutes. When my brother had departed my sister and I headed to the Palms to play some cards. We walked over and it took about 10-15 minutes. We arrived to find the closets that they call poker rooms were full to the rafters, so to speak, so we headed back across the street to the Gold Coast where they had just opened a poker room. In truth, they had roped off part of the casino floor, but there were tables open. They were playing 2-4 with a kill there, my first time with one of those. I was next to some fish who thought he was a lot better than he really was. He was quite proud that he had taken his $40 and gotten up to $170 in the past four hours there. The only pot I saw him win, while I was there, was one where I had AQ and the flop came Q-J-7, turn was a 5, river was a 2. He had been betting into me the entire way with Q2o. Right. I ended up getting him back an hour later as I had A-Jh on the button. He raised into me, I raised back. Flop came Qc-10c-7h. Bet, raise, re-raise, cap. Turn was 10h. Bet, raise, re-raise, cap. River was a blank 4d I think. He checks. I only have A high, but crap, I’ve put enough money into the pot I can put four more. I bet. He starts bitching about how he keeps getting great starting hands, great flops but can’t finish, actually he’s been doing it all night and he was quite drunk at this point. He throws away his hand showing it, A-Kc. He only had $16 or so left at that point so I don’t know why he didn’t put another 4 in there. I mucked my hand as he probably would’ve killed me if he saw it. And by the way, most of the pots I was winning, it was because I had a real hand, I’m just remembering the ones where I outplayed the other people, in my own mind at least. After that guy and his buddy (who was so drunk he would forget to look at his cards sometimes) left some cowboys and a guy with a green track suit sat down. The guy in the green track suit came out really aggressive, raising and what not, and got up to about $200 from $80 in a pretty short time. Then I hit my most memorable run of cards ever. I had QQ in late position. The flop was 242, turn was a 4, river was Q. I win with a full house. The next hand I had K7h. Flop came AQ5 all hearts. I had to check my hand to make sure I saw correctly. Cowboy bets, other cowboy raises, I call, track suit raises, cowboy caps. I’m about to cream my pants. Turn was Jh, hey, I’ve almost got the royal. More wild betting. River was 7d. No royal, but I do have the nuts. When the raised pot comes to me I bet this time, no sense dicking around anymore. Everyone looks at me like “What did that 7 do?�. One cowboy had a pair of 10s, one being the 10 of hearts I was looking for. Everyone else mucked and I dragged a huge pot and got a kill. The next hand I have 72o, yay, but it’s not raised and I’m on the kill so I check in. Flop comes 227. Well, shit, I’ve flopped a full house, but nobody will put me on it so I’m betting at this. Raise, raise, raise. Turn is a A. Raise, raise, raise. River is 2. Well, amazingly I’ve improved my hand. Raise, raise, raise. Showdown. Tracksuit, who had been put all in, has two aces for aces full of 2s. A cowboy has AK for 2s full of aces. I show my 27o for four twos and a HUGE pot. I stuck around for a couple more hands, didn’t get anything and cashed out for $480 for four hours of play. My sister was down $50. Calling it a night I headed back to The Rio and went to sleep.

My wake up call for 6:30 didn’t come and I woke up at 7:47. I was quite convinced that my plane was leaving at 8:30 so I started rushing to get my stuff together. In the process my mother woke up and said “What time does your plane leave?� “Very soon.� I said. “Isn’t it 10:30?� she asked. I stopped, yeah, that’s right, I have to be there at 8:30. Ok, I’m right on time. I just can’t get a buffet breakfast. Whew. On my way out the room, I realized that I had forgotten something and put my hand back to stop the door from shutting. Well my pinky finger got crunched by the closing door, stopping it from shutting, but causing me severe pain. In fact the whole bottom half of the fingernail is now black from some ruptured blood vessel. But, no time waste, off to the airport. I picked up a Starbucks tea and muffin at the airport and head to the security checkpoint. In the process of trying to get my driver’s license out my tea exploded and I burned my left hand. But, I’ll fix that later. There was some more juggling to do when I had to take my PowerBook out of my backpack for the x-ray machine and more when I tried to put it back in. Those two simple acts probably took five minutes total. The security people were very impatient with me. I picked up a couple of books at the Borders in the airport for the flight home, the MIT BlackJack team book, and The Da Vinci Code. I also hopped onto the free wireless that the Vegas airport offers and installed some games via Fink. I ended up reading the MIT book during the entire flight, finishing it. We had a stop over in Little Rock and I was able to claim three entire seats as my own and spread out for the flight to Baltimore. I called Sunghee to let her know I was on time, and switched planes. The flight to Albany was entertaining, as there was a two year old right in front of me who was very tired and did not like flying. But as we were descending to Albany, we had to take a few turns and a woman in the other aisle started freaking out. “Oh my God! We’re going to Die! AGGGHHHH! AGGHHH!� at which point the kid stopped his crying at looked a the woman like “What the hell is her problem?� Once in Albany, my luggage arrived with out too much delay and Sunghee and CJ were there to greet me and we headed back home. The end.