I got an email from PP a few months ago that there was going to be a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture show down at the Showboat, this past Saturday. I wouldn't say I'm a 'big' Rocky Horror fan, but I've seen it a few times in the theaters and I love the soundtrack, so I thought it would be fun to go. I didn't expect Ali would want to go, but she was on board big time. Lisa joined us as well and PP drove us down Saturday morning.
We arrived at noon, had a nice breakfast at the Showboat coffeeshop and PP and Lisa went off to play in the 2PM tourney. The movie wasn't until Midnight, naturally, so Ali and I started wandering. She had never been to a casino before and rather than drag her to the poker room and put her in a chair behind me for hours on end (I *cringe* when I see that), I decided to take her on a tour of casinos and table games. We started with BlackJack at the showboat. $10 minimums and Ali was a pretty quick study, though I was mostly coaching her on what to do. Her stack kept increasing while mine kept decreasing and after we finished a show, she was up $25 and I was down $40. She seemed pretty happy about it.
Next up was a quick walk on the boardwalk to the Taj. We found a $10 craps table and rolled a few but Ali didn't like this one as much. I don't blame her since it was early, the crowds were thin, and it takes a big bankroll to play craps correctly, even if you just play the Pass line. A few rolls was all it took for her to tire out and we left again. We walked over to the Taj poker room, just to observe, and then over to Resorts to play Roulette.
Ali hit numbers early on while I watched and then played with her profit until she was back to even. She always played 23, for her birthday, but it never came. Still, we were having fun. We walked down to Caesars and played some slots and before we knew it it was 6:30p. We needed to head back to the Showboat to eat dinner with PP and Lisa. We wanted to have an early dinner so we could get a nap in before the midnight show. I grabbed a rolling chair, sat Ali down like we were the King and Queen, and took a decadently long time to get back to the Showboat. On the way, there were people walking in the center of the boardwalk, which is usually reserved for vehicles and most people were cognizant enough to get out of the way of the chairs. Somewhere along the way, we were behind two women and a guy who were walking slowly and seemed oblivious. Something about one of the women seemed familiar.
Red curly dishevelled hair. Check.
Long, thin, gaunt body. Check.
Small and ugly looking multi-colored backpack. Check.
"Hey Rubin," I shouted, "Get out of the way!"
Sure enough, W turned around with a look of surprise. It's not a stretch to find W in Atlantic City most weekend, but it was a bit of a coincidence to find her on the Boardwalk and not in the Borgata at the same time I was on the boardwalk. She was walking with her friend Alex and another friend on their way to the Showboat for the 7PM tourney. We were going the same way so I invited them to ditch the tourney and join us for dinner. They agreed it would be a fun idea and we all arrived together.
We all arrived at Casa Di Napoli, after also hooking up with Michael Brown (say it as one word) who was there for the day. We had a reservation for 5 already, but when we tried to expand it to 8, they refused. Adamantly. Alex, who is a Seven Star member (evidently, the highest roller the casino has), whipped out his card and tried to pull some rank. Still, they were having none of it. They said they simply didn't have the room. They did offer to give us reservations at the steak house next door and after perusing the menu and having some debate about it, we agreed. When we walked into that restaurant, we tried to get seated and there was a wait. Again, out came the Seven Star card (and heavenly angels and a choir) and this time it worked. Magically, a table opened up and we were seated immediately. Score!
I order the Prime Rib, "super rare". W ordered the prime rib as well, "medium rare" and we waited for our food amidst pleasant conversation. At one point, Alex got up to wash his hands and came back a long 15 minutes later. Turns out he had passed the tables and won $4000 in the interim. Aha! So *that's* why he's a Seven Star. Imagine what he could have won if he had to go to the bathroom.
The food came and W and I were highly unsatisfied. The prime rib was medium-well, which isn't even close to how we ordered it. There was no pink at all showing. We spoke up and the waitress went back to the kitchen to tell us there was no rare prime rib available (the ribs are roasted in advance and then cut to order). She would, however, upgrade us to the Ribeye (larger portion) for no additional charge. Ok. I ordered it rare again and this time the food came uot as specified. True, we got it almost when everyone was done, but it was insanely delicious. Probably the best Ribeye I've ever had in my life. It was about an inch thick, super rare (Ali was disgusted) and seriously juicy and tender. W and I pounded our portions (28 oz.) without batting an eye in the space of 10 minutes. Totally worth the wait.
After dinner, we all parted our separate ways. Ali and I went back to our room at Resorts and took a nap. PP and Lisa went to play poker and we all met up at the House of Blues at 11:30.
The place was a sideshow of freaks. Ali described it as a "Rennaisance Faire for Goths" and I laughed. It was appropriate. People were dressed up as all sorts of characters: Magenta, Columbia, Dr. Frank-N-Furter and even Rocky (a guy in a gold sparkly speedo and a spray-on tan and nothing else). Quite a scene. We waited paitently on a long line and were finally let in after a thorough security screening. Our tickets were F3 and F4 and the rows were marked very clearly. We moved up to the front and got to Row F and found it was completely full. Every seat was taken. I looked at my ticket again and there it was in plain English: Seats F3 and F4. A guy in row F, with his arm around his girlfriend and makeup on his face, looked up and saw my confusion. "Forget it," he said, "it's all general admission." I didn't comprehend at first. "They're not seating by your tickets. Go to the back." I protested that I had paid extra for these tickets but I was met by indifference to my plight. Fuckers.
I left Ali there, hoping to find a security guard to roust these bastard squatters from my seat. The security guard had just as much indifference. Maybe more. By this time, a small crowd had formed around the guard, filled with people spouting the same problem. The guard looked like a deer in headlights. He tried to explain, through the shouts and threats, that the promoter had changed the seating to general admission just before they opened the doors. I asked to see the promoter, but she was nowhere to be found, natch. The lights dimmed at that point and I resigned myself to the fact that I had gotten screwed and there was nothing I could do about it. Kind of like when 5 guys rape you in the shower in prison. Not much you can do except relax and try to enjoy the experience.
Ok, that analogy was a little harsh but it seemed to fit my feelings at the time.
We got seats towards the back of the floor and I have to say, it was just as awful as I thought it would be. The stage show was pretty far off and it helps to see the movie to synch it up with the stage show. There were TV's on the side projecting the movie and also a large screen on the stage. But the screen didn't descend far enough. There is a balcony (not open for this show) that extends over the stage which has the unfortunate effect of blocking the vertical view of the poor folks in the back. So the guys up front (in MY seats) got to see the screen, but I didn't. It was terrible.
There were some bright spots. The wedding scene was greeted with throws of rice, which threw Ali for a bit of a loop. The rain scene had the waterguns in full effect. And the audience knew what they were shouting at the appropriate times. It was pretty loud and chaotic and you got the sense that there was something 'cool' going on, but I never really felt it the way I could have if the experience hadn't been tainted from moment one. Ali had had her fill at about the 3/4 mark of the movie so we left and went to bed. A good thing really, because we were exhausted from the day. It turns out that moving around casinos is much more tiring when you're not just sitting there playing poker!
In the morning, we got up and went to Sonsie in the pier shops across from Caesars. I like this place for Brunch, normally, but they changed their menu and no longer have the Strawberry Cream Cheese stuffed french toast that I adore. We got the banana and chocolate chip french toast for Ali and I got the 3 cheese omelet, but it wasn't the same. It looks like I'm going to have to find another go-to brunch place in AC. Any suggestions?
Paul and Lisa had stayed at Resorts to eat brunch at the diner there because they'd been comped because of a screwup on checkin (King bed instead of two Queens). We met up later to drive to the Borgata.
Ali LOVED the Borgata. It's the closest thing to a Vegas casino in AC and it impresses newbies, no doubt. We walked around for a while and found ourselved parked in front of the Multi-Play BlackJack machine for about 2.5 hours. Turns out, this is a great way of training newbies on basic strategy. You can play 7 hands at one time for as little as $.25 a piece! Ali played on the same $20 for 2.5 hours and even doubled her money, all the while I was interjecting strategy notes and why you should split/double/hit/stand at certain spots. It's also a great training tool because you can wait as long as you want to make your move. There isn't the pressure of a live table to go already! By the end of the 2.5 hours, Ali was splitting 9's against a 6 like a pro. I was so proud. She got really excited by the game and I heard these magic words:
"I think we need to have more trips to AC in the future. I can play BlackJack and you can play poker!"
I could have died happy right there.
We *did* end up playing some poker, just so Ali could get the experience of playing in a real poker room. We played 2-4 Limit Hold'em and I think it was the appropriate forum. After a few hours, we collected Lisa (PP stayed overnight at his parents) and took the GreyHound home at 8PM. Considering all that happened, it was a nice little trip and will pay dividends in the future, I hope.