09 March 2005

Trip Report (I)

I keep avoiding my bløg because I know that a few people are still waiting for my Vegas trip report. I doubt I'll finish the rest of this, but at least a small piece will alleviate some of my guilt. So here's a little something, even though I've told most of these stories to the two or three people who might care. On with Part I.

Tuesday, 08/02/05

I took a 6:30 PM flight out of Boston a month ago today. It was a non-stop flight on Song airlines, which was quite enjoyable since they have those nice in-flight entertainment screens at every seat. The only weird thing about the flight was this woman who kept pacing up and down the aisle of the plane. At first I thought she was waiting to use the bathroom, but then I realized that several people had gone down to use it and come back and she just kept walking from the back of the plane near the bathrooms to the front of the passenger cabin, pausing two minutes at each end. Eventually a flight attendant said something to her in a hushed voice and the lady sat down.

By the time I arrived in Vegas and made my way to my hotel it was past 1AM Eastern time, so I figured it was pointless to go play poker while I was so exhausted. I read for a few minutes and then fell asleep.

Wednesday 09/02/05

I woke up at about 6:30 local time and immediately headed down to the Bellagio poker room. When I got there I was astonished to find only two games going, both of which were way over my limits (a $30/$60 and a $60/$120 if I recall). I couldn't believe there was less action here than at Foxwoods. I realize there's more dispersion in Vegas, but still, this is the Bellagio! I walked across the street to the Aladdin, as their 40 foot video screen out front had been pushing their new poker room. Even more deserted than Bellagio: two dealers sitting around and a dude washing the table tops.

This underscores another thing I noticed at this hour of the morning: the only people awake were conference attendees, people with early AM tee times and the minimum wage earners charged with the upkeep of the glitz monolith. Take for example the lush flowerbeds outside the Bellagio. They must be comprised of species which just die in this environment, because there was a horde of gardeners digging up flowers which were starting to die and replacing them with identical replacements. How often does this happen? Every day? Janitors drove around on big carpet cleaning machines and a team of underwater mechanics was out in a dinghy in the man made lake in front of the casino.

I finally found a Starbucks slightly off the strip where I could get a coffee and croissant for less than $12. I went back to the Bellagio at about 8:40 and discovered that I had arrived on the very day when they were moving their entire poker operation into a lobby so that they could begin construction on the current poker room to double its size. This wonderful quirk of timing left me waiting for 2 hours to get a seat. Finally, at around 10:30, I sat down at a brand new $8/$16 game.

The most memorable player from that table was an extremely pissy and aggressive asian woman about 30 years old. She played with the stereotypical maniacal belief that she could win any pot by hammering away at it like crazy. She and her friend (who was super-tight) played tag-team style, switching off every hour or two. It was important to keep track of who was playing the seat, because their styles were wildly opposed. I basically stayed there and ground it out all day, timing my breaks to get the full hour and a quarter of being away from the table without being picked up.

I had a ridiculously strong run during the last couple hours before Reid arrived (about 10:30 PM) and when we cashed out to go home to bed at about midnight I was up $779 on the day. Not a bad start to the trip.

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