Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vegas, Baby (maybe)

It was rather cute: the elderly gentleman hobbled up to cashier at Starbucks with his Grande cup and asked for a refill. She tried to explain to him that refills were not something they did, at least not for anything less than the price of the original. He complained and then he conceded. "Worth a shot." I heard him mutter to next person in line.

Not really. Yes, the old man hobbled and tried his best to understand that another cup of joe would be at the minimum $2, and he left muttering, yet he wasn't shooting an angle. Or, at least he wasn't fessing up. It was my mind. As incredulous as the old dude was, so was I. Who has been where for a lengthy period of time to not know that everywhere else except the local eatery where the coffee comes out of a carafe into a ceramic cup or mug, and is instead individually made and sized portions is there such a thing as a refill? Therefore, I did not rule out the scam. I was firmly in the grasp of the Vegas mindset.

It is easy slippage for me, twenty years in Chicago not too far from standard midwestern dialect in which I project that I am the one with the gun. Likewise, it is easy for me to ignore those card clickers (or whatever they are referred to on the streets here), the pan handlers and "hey sweetie" comers. No, that's not what bothers me.

I never sleep well when I am here. Right now I am working on two hours plus an hour nap yesterday evening. The point of exhaustion is elusive. Maybe it's being away from home and DW. I'm sure that plays into it, away from my routine and familiar surroundings, just like the codger who misses his Kountry Kafe koffee klatch. It also could very well be the oxygen that they supposedly pump through these casinos (I don't buy it), but at the very least, I think I've nailed it down to the air, or rather, the climate.

It took less than 24 hours for my feet and legs to become swollen, dry, itchy and sore no matter how well-hydrated I try to stay. I anticipated this from my experience in years passed and purposely brought my loosest-fitting shoes. Still, it is painful to walk. The inside of my knees are chaffed for cryin' out loud, and that never happens at home. Moisturizer offers some but inadequate comfort, so, now that the bulk of the PA responsibilities are out of the way, here I sit in my room, paying $12 a day for internet service instead of grinding it out at the poker tables.

I could be home. That is what keeps returning to my thoughts. I could be sound asleep at 4 in the morning instead of  being awakened by the persistant itch on my right calf.

Suck it up, Bud.

And so I do. Take last night for example.

In that it would be the last night in town for my Chicago buddy, I hoped that we might get together one last time, but for various reasons that didn't work out. However, I did have a tweet from BWOP asking if I was going to be playing poker. (Forgive me, my blogging friends, for not linking. If I were at home, I'd just pull up your blog on my sizable monitor and make the link. On the laptop, I am too lazy. For other readers, look right.) I hadn't planned on playing, yet I hadn't met BWOP, and in that she was 'next door' at the Venetian, I didn't want to pass up the opportunity. I squeezed my swollen dogs into my boots and off I went.

My boots. I should take a moment here and digress. As longtime readers might remember, I come from farm stock, of which there are two types: tall and lanky like how one might invision a rancher; and those who are built closer to the ground with the lower center of gravity that comes with such the squat build. I am one of the latter. And a common feature in our group are feet that are tapered in such a way that the shoe box might be a better ftr than the leathers within. Consequently, we aren't provided with a wide selection of shoe styles that others are afforded. EEEE, and anything less elicits the sound of that letter's grouping.

I found my boots in an Amish general store ten years ago in central Illinois. They are black, ankle high, round and capped-toe. I don't have an occasion to wear them often as they are a bit on the dressy side, but they seemed perfect for this trip as I was sure to be eating in one or two nice restaurants, plus I anticipated the swelling.

Listen to me, going on like an old fuddy.

Further tweeting led me to BWOP's table and we greeted each other warmly, as if we had known each other for some time. Blogging, I guess, will do that to some. She told me that Pokergirl/Cardgrrl and Grump were going to stop by in a bit for some food and asked me to join them. "Are you going to play?" she asked. As I looked around the huge room with almost all of the tables going, I couldn't resist, even if it was just for a short time, and let her get back to her game.

I was immediately sat at a table and scoped out the competition. A few locals, a couple guys who looked like conventioneers, one young gun, an Asian guy who sat shortly after me who was very intent on getting in the game, and Mr. Yapper to my left.

I watched the action for the first round and quickly figured out the nits, the table captain and the spewer...Mr. Yapper. It seemed appropriate. He was persecuted, and to prove it, he kept calling bets. I watched his stack dwindle to half of its size within the first eitht hands I was at the table. And it was at that point I picked up KK UTG.

Most opening raises so far had been in the range of $11 or $12, and I suppose I could have gone with something along those lines, yet  I was worried that a raise of that size UTG might set off some alarms. Plus, with so many players left to act, I figured I'd see at least one big Ace and a pair call with me OOP. I settled one $7.

I was not surprised when Mr. Yapper called, as did one convetioneer in middle position. The flop was 38J rainbow and I led out for $12. Mr. Yapper raised it another $12 and the other guy folded. As I sat there, earbuds installed, he couldn't help himself and said, "I can beat a Jack." Well, you know I called with that angle. If he had a set, I suspect even he would keep his mouth shut. No reraise preflop, likely meant no hand that could beat mine. The turn was a blank and I led out with $30. More chatter that I pretended to ignore, only now he was truly perplexed. He had $45 behind and put it all in. I called, the river was another blank and he flipped over AJ.

And with that, it was time for dinner.

Four bloggers sit down for dinner, and you know what the primary topic was. Still, it was delightful. BWOP and I sat for a while thereafter and before I knew it, it was time to call DW to update her, and, tell her how much I miss her.

I then hobbled back to my makeshift dungeon.

I am scheduled to go out into the flora and fauna of the reall desert in three hours with Crash and Wolinski, so if you'll excuse me, I think I'll try to close my eyes for a bit. I'll let you know how it goes.



Memphis MOJO said...

Good report. I've just met BWOP once, but she went out of her way to be nice to me.

Photos from the desert?

lightning36 said...

Great trip report! I can't wait to go back to Las Vegas in about three weeks. You mentioned my favorite room -- Bally's.

And yes, ck is great. MOJO and I first met her last summer. I saw her again at the December blogger gathering.

Good luck with your final nights. Come back with money bulging out of those pockets.

BWoP said...

It was great to finally connect a face with the writing :-)

And yes, after reading about peoples' adventures online, meeting them IRL for the first time doesn't feel so odd.

See you tomorrow!

bastinptc said...

Yes, desert today. I took a ton of photos of scrub, cacti and such. We also went to Hoover Dam. Maybe we can get it so that all four of us can make sure everyone sees our pics. But again, after I get home I'll be looking at the bulk of them.

joxum said...

Good post. At least you seem to be crowding with some good company.