Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vegas Extravaganza – Day 1 (Travel Day)

After all the wonderful luck I’ve been having the last few days, with all the small and big things in my life, I got my first lemon at the airport. Figures, right? I mean, if you’re going to get lemoned (new verb, past tense. Alert Websters), the airport would be the logical place it would happen. Wasn’t too big a deal, really. My flight was delayed on the tarmac by about an hour. It was all a little surreal though.

First, I board the flight on time and as I make a right onto the plane, the line stops as someone is hoisting luggage into the overhead bin and I am temporarily stuck in first class. I look around at the seats, to compare them to the coach seats I can see just a few rows away. They’re leather, wider and they look comfy but not much much better than the cattle class. A step up, yes, but not quite worth the money, I’m thinking. I look down at the passenger directly to my right in first class, who’s busy typing away on his iMac, and he looks up at me. It’s Teller, from Penn and Teller fame. I do a double-take and it’s definitely him. I want to say something, like “I’m a big fan” or to tell him how much I loved them in The Refrigerator Tour on broadway more than ten years ago or how much I enjoy their Showtime series “Bullshit”. But I say nothing. Why? Because I’m a New Yorker, that’s why. I take pride in not accosting celebrities. Still, I thought it was cool to see him in person. The line continues to move and I take my seat in my comfy and cozy exit row. The legroom in the exit row is HUGE and I’m pretty psyched about it. As I wait for the plane to push, one of the crew members gets on the intercom. “We’re going to be a few minutes because, gosh darn wouldn’t you know it, we don’t have enough cups to serve you all once we’re airborn.” That’s a quote by the way. She said ‘gosh darn’. So we waited a few minutes for the catering truck to bring us cups but then we just sat there. Someone else came on the intercom, “Well, we’re going to be another 15 minutes or so. We have a passenger bag that’s vibrating and we’re going to have to take it off the plane and identify the passenger”. I’m thinking, “Wow, some chick left her batteries in her vibrator and it went off somehow?”. But we never found out what the mysterious vibration was. About 20 minutes after the announcement, we were told that we were 15th in line for take off.

So 60 full minutes after we board the plane, we finally push from the gate and take to the air. The pilot tells us we’re going to make up some time in the air, but not much as there’s a 130 mile an hour headwind we’re battling. So I won’t land, optimistically, until 12:30AM EST. I still have to get my bags which I checked, get the shuttle to the rental car location, get the car and drive all the way to the Stratosphere, where I’ll be sleeping for the entire trip. Best case scenario, I lay my head down to go to sleep at 2AM EST.

But there’s little chance of that either.

I know from prior experience that once you land in Vegas, your energy level immediately increases five fold. I think, and this is only a theory of mine, that the Luxor hotel is not actually a hotel, but rather a huge Red Bull delivery device that spews fine Red Bull mist into the upper atmosphere for the inhalation of visitors. It makes sense, right?!?!

I’m on the plane now with about 90 minutes to go in the flight. PP has instructed me to place $5 on the roulette wheel on 27 the moment I get into the Stratosphere. It’s important that this be the first thing I do, with my suitcases in tow, BEFORE I go to my room. Good luck PP, I’m rooting for ya.

Tomorrow, I plan on hooking up with Slayer and his girlfriend. I believe tomorrow at noon is the O/8 tourney at Orleans and I’m not missing it for the world. I can’t see Slayer, or his non-poker playing girlfriend, playing in it, so I’ll probably see them afterwards.

When I got to my room this evening, I discovered that the old Stratosphere poker room had moved and that the new one was holding a midnight tourney. And what time was it? That’s right, 11:45PM. How could I say no? So I found the new room (bigger than the old one, but noisy because of the club next door) and signed up. The tourney structure is very generous here. 4,000 in chips, 20 minute blind levels and the blinds start at 25-50. Antes don’t begin until the 6th level, so there’s plenty of play to be had. I was able to triple up in the early goings when my KQ turned two pair and two donkeys went all the way with me trying to catch 4 outer straight draws. But then I went card dead…for the rest of the damn tournament. After two levels of seeing nothing but T2, J5, 69 and the like, I decided to start with the blind stealing regimen. That’s easier to do in the early rounds, but in the later rounds you’re committing too much of your stack to do it effectively. Nevertheless, I was able to ride my stack and skilz all the way to 6th place. There were 32 paid entries and the top 3 paid out ($60 buyins), but the thought of my cashing was never really in question. I just didn’t have enough chips and when I finally got AQo on the BB with 1/3 of my chips already committed, I went all in on two guys who flat called. Ok, I thought, 3-1. The flop was Q74, all hearts. Uh, I didn’t have a heart. The first guy who called moved all in and the second guy insta-called! Ruh-roh. The first guy had flopped a set of 7’s (goodbye TPTK!) and the second guy had the nut heart draw. But the heart never fell and the set of 7’s knocked out two players in one shot. There was a pretty blond girl who was severely short stacked on the bubble and I tried to get her her 60 dollars back by suggesting they make a bubble boy prize, but all the players refused. It was quite harsh. The top payout was 900, the second was 450 and the third was 150. They couldn’t give up 30/20/10? Really? So mean. I had played as well as I could have for 3 hours and got nothing for it. Still, it was fun. I wandered off to the Pai-gow table, where I had a run of 5 pai-gows in a row (lemon) but managed to make a few dollars off of Roulette to break me even on the Pai-Gow losses. Sorry, PP, your $5 bet on 27 didn’t come in. :-(

Tomorrow is another day. Actually, today is.

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