Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bloggers Invading Las Vegas Tips 3.0

I will be cutting and pasting excerpts from two previous posts and rewriting parts of them on tips on surviving Las Vegas, meeting bloggers for the first time, and advice for Vegas newbies.

Feel free to print this up and hand out copies to your entourage.

I do not want to disappoint anyone who is meeting me for the first time, but I want to warn you that I am not as wild and crazy as every thinks I am. For the record, I will not be showing up in Vegas with two nymphomaniac teenage gymnasts (from a Eastern European county that no longer exists), along with an eight-ball of Colombian Snow Flake and a brick of Moroccan hash the size of Herve Villechaize. Believe me, if I had access to those kind of drugs and were able to woo nimble nymphets like that, the last thing I'd be doing would be hanging out in Vegas with a bunch of degenerates gamblers.

So here we go... my Tips on Surviving Las Vegas:

1. Cut back on sleep immediately.

As of right now, cut back on your sleep by 30 minutes every other night. Inside of two weeks, you'll be down to about 3.5 hours of sleep per night. The average Las Vegas visitor gets around 3 hours of sleep and the average poker blogger gets substantially a lot less. Cutting back on sleep right away is an easy way to get adjusted to sleep deprivation by following my simple routine. Seriously, if you are used to getting 8 or more hours per night, you're in trouble, I'd cut back 30 minutes everyday between now and Vegas.

2. Sip, don't chug.

Pace yourself with your alcohol consumption. Al Cant Hang is a machine. His blood type is 180 Proof because Al is really an alien. He's not of this world. Don't succumb to the frission of being in a casino bar with all your favorite bloggers and foolishly attempt to keep up. If you do, you'll end up clutching the porcelain God at 4am wondering why the hell that cab driver punched you out after you yaked up your dinner and a half a bottle of Southern Comfort in his back seat. Surviving the Sherwood Forest bar at 9am on the morning of the blogger tournament was a moment I'll never forget. It's a badge of courage like a soldier who managed to get through D-Day without a scratch. I'm glad that we made it through an entire weekend of partying in Vegas last December and another bender in June without anyone getting their stomachs pumped at the hospital or landing themselves in the drunk tank at the Clark County jail. Let's keep it that way. Moderation is the key to happiness.

3. Water is your friend.

Las Vegas is in the middle of the fuckin' desert. Drink water. Lots of it. I used to try to drink one glass of water per alcoholic beverage consumed. In Vegas I do my best to double that amount. Sure, I'm pissing every eight minutes, but you're head will thank you the next day when you're experiencing a hangover-free morning. One of my biggest expenses in Vegas is my water tab, well that and trips to strip clubs with Grubby.

4. Bring a cell phone charger.

Don't forget one. Since you will be staying up from anywhere from 20-36 hours straight, you might want to make sure your cell is charged before you begin your gambling session. With bloggers in town, having a phone will be necessary to arrange meetings or if you need someone to post bail money. Besides, you should throw your loved ones at home a bone every 12 hours and send them a drunken text message or get someone on the horn for a Dial-a-Shot. When you are sleeping, charge up your phone during the few hours that you're crashed out.

5. Take pictures.

Come on, I know you geeky bloggers can't wait to spice up your Vegas trip reports with pictures. I encourage it, especially if you have never been to Vegas before. Don't be afraid to go camera happy and take more pictures than a menagerie of Osaka businessmen. Bring a camera, even if it's one of those disposable ones for $7. You have to leave Vegas with at least one good story and at least one good picture.

6. Ask before you post pictures on the internet.

If you are a person who thinks they look awful in photos or is just camera shy or they want to keep their identity a secret, then by all means please tell everyone now. Conversely, if you are going to post pictures of bloggers, make sure you get their consent with the exception of anyone who passes out in my room like the Poker Geek, Bill Rini, and that freakish moment when Eva "Icey Toes" CanHang crawled into my bed and passed out after an all night bender. My ugly mug is all over the internet so snap away. And no Mr. Ten Mile, I will not be wearing any of my pestiferous shirts that I wore last December or June at the blogger tourneys.

7. Speak your mind and stay in the moment.

I never got to really hang out with Bill Rini last December and I barely had anytime to talk to Chilly or April in June. That was one of my regrets... not making enough time for everyone. I simply assumed that I'll have time later in the trip to shoot the shit and play cards with Bill, April, and Chilly. That never happened. Don't make that crucial mistake. If you have the chance to talk to someone, take advantage of that opportunity. If you see Iggy at the pisser, seize the moment to talk shop with him. You never know what might happen during your time in Vegas. With such a big group, you won't have time for "quality one-on-one time" so whenever you cross paths with a fellow blogger, whether it's Otis sitting by himself at the Pai Gow table at 4am or running into Bad Blood at the Bellagio at 2am or shooting craps with Obie at the Plaza... stop by and shoot the shit. You won't regret it.

And don't feel shy or intimidated about saying what you want to me or anybody else. Our time is limited, so speak up! If you want to ask me questions, feel free. If you want blogging advice, just ask. If you want to buy me a drink, let's do it. If you want to go to strip clubs, then hold on a second and let me call Grubby.

8. Understand that it will be impossible to spend quality time with everyone.

I have already accepted the fact that I will not be able to hang out with everyone, even my friends and even Derek. With the huge number of people inovled with this event, it will be impossible to find blocks of unfettered time to spend with everyone. Expect splintered conversations that last about five minutes or ten minutes if you are lucky. Use meals and time at the poker tables as an opportunity to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So please understand ahead of time that I'm gonna feel horrible that we didn't get to spend quality time together. However, whatever time we do spend, it's going to be special and meaningful for me... so let's just have fun and live in the moment. I'm sure we'll all get together in a smaller setting at sometime in the future.

9. Table image is a factor in real life.

A lot of us play the majority of our poker online. Some of you haven't played extensively in casinos, so here's my quick tip... image is important. How do you want to be portrayed? Like a dipshit tourist from Hootersville, Indiana who's playing poker for the first time? Or a punk-ass kid with wraparound sunglasses at a low limit table who watches too much WPT? Or a know-it-all table captain who tries to take charge of the table full of drunks? Or do you want to blend in and become a blur to your table mates? I usually cut my vocabulary in half and talk about topics like Celebrity Poker Showdown. I make sure I drink heavily in front of them, refer to women as "broads" and play one really awful hand like a donkey in the first orbit that I showdown to the river. Too bad that I'm just being myself.

10. Don't be Gigli.

If you don't know Bill was the first blogger knocked out in December's tournament and the Poker Nerd was busted first in June. They were both awarded the infamous Gigli DVD for coming in last place. I bought a new copy of Gigli (how sad is it when the postage costs more than the actual DVD?) which I will be giving to the first blogger out of the Holiday Classic tournament. Will it be you? And rest assured I will torment you for the rest of the year with chants of "Gigli! Gigli!" in your chatbox every time you play on Party Poker.

11. Never underestimate the importance of a $20 tip.

Do you wanna get shit done in Vegas? Tip the hell out of every person you see. I'm from New York City and we tip everyone. In a town like Vegas, most of the people working in the service industry are not paid extravagantly. They rely on tips to supplement their wages. You would be surprised how much attention you can get with a simple $20 tip. Heck that's like one big bet for some of you.

Example #1: I call this move The Grubbette. When you check into a hotel and they ask for your credit card, carefully place a folded up $20 bill underneath your card. As the front desk person is picking up the cash and card, quickly ask them if they can bump you up to a better room. It never fails. But then again, Grubbette is a lot cuter than me!

Example #2: When I was in Vegas last March, when I called around to find a reservation for dinner on Easter Sunday, I found out that every place was booked. Grubby, Senor and I made plans to meet Flip Chip and Poker Prof at Ceaser's Palace. I decided to pop into Palm to see if they had any open tables. The hostess checked her reservations book and said she didn't have any open spots for us. When I spotted two open tables, I slipped her $20 and said "Did anyone every tell ya that you have beautiful eyes? By the way, can you check again? That's Dr. Pauly, for a party of five." We were seated within five minutes.

There is only one instance where I will tell you to save your tips... and that's in a strip club. Never, under any circumstances give a stripper a tip. If I find out you did, I will smack you personally.

Now if you think $20 gets you a long way... try tipping $40 or $100.

12. Food is fuel.

If you have the opportunity to eat, do it because you never know when you might never have another chance to get some grub. Last December, I never saw Iggy eat one bite during our last trip. He was on the ciggies and Guinness gambler's diet.

13. Wear comfortable shoes.

As a native New Yorker, I walk everywhere and I'm used to trudging along for five or six miles in a day. If you are a lazy fuck who's a slave to their vehicle, then start walking a mile or two everyday to get yor legs in shape. The entrance from the Rio to the actual place where the WSoP is being held is a hike. Plus if you want to walk the Strip, everything appears much closer in the desert.

14. Bring a watch.

There are exactly six clocks in the entire city of Las Vegas and you won't see any of them in an actual casino.

15. Keep your gambling bankroll separate from your other cash.

I think this one is self-explanatory. Don't bring more cash to Vegas than you are willing to lose. Always keep your bankroll separate from your strip club money. You'll thank me later.

16. $50 bills are bad luck.

Don't feel weird about asking to change in your $50 bills. That is one superstition I've been following every since Grubby clued me in.

17. Avoid the slots.

Grubby will try to turn you over to the dark side of gambling and get you to hit the slots with him at 3am. Resist the temptation!

18. Don't tell people at your poker table that you have a poker blog.

Please for the love of God, do not tell anyone you're in town for a poker bloggers convention. Why don't we just slap the loser mark right on our foreheads and walked around with Bonus Code Iggy tattooed on our asses? I never tell "civilians" that I'm a blogger. If they recognize me, then that's fine. But never reveal who you are. Because if you do, then you can't talk about them or make fun of them in our blog!!

You're in Vegas. It's a surreal place. Make shit up. Pretend you're a fish. I lie to dealers, strippers, cab drivers, and my tablemates all the time when I'm in Vegas. During previous trips, I've told random strangers that I was a marine biologist, an aquarium salesman, a trumpet player in a Latin jazz band, a radiologist, and my favorite... that I've just got out of prison. The ladies seem to like that one. Bottom line is this: if you can't successfully lie to the people at your table and if you are unable to convince them that you are in fact an astronaut, then you shouldn't be playing poker in Las Vegas. Go home and fire up Poker Stars instead.

During this trip I intend on telling folks that I'm a proctologist or I'm thinking about being the malcontent heir to the "Spork" fortune. A spork is not a fork, but not quite a spoon. One of my fraternity brothers in college used that line to try to pick up girls in bars. He even convinced a few that he had a spork shaped swimming pool. And if I happen to stumble into a strip bar, my cover story will be that I'm the tour manager for a metal band called The Al Cant Hang Experience.

**** Newly Added ****

19. Bring a jacket and sunglasses.

Sloshr suggested that I tell everyone to bring a jacket or sweater. It gets cold in Las Vegas in December so pack something warm. It's cold in parking decks and most card rooms have high powered A/C.

***** *****

Here are some random pics that I took this past June:

Al and the Fat Guy playing video poker

My Bounty courtesy of Al Cant Hang

Poker Geek minus the light saber.

Tanya's card cappers

The Poker Prof moves all in...

Joaquin flexes while Spaceman calculates pot odds

Flip Chip in action

The Final Two: G-Vegas vs. LA

Al does a huge shot.

Bobby Bracelet's shirt

Al wears Heather's tiara

***** *****

Ok that's it for now. Those were my half-baked ideas on how to survive Las Vegas. If you can remember half of these, then you should make it home in one piece. I'm scheduled to leave for Vegas on Wednesday. And it's 12+ days and counting until the Holiday Classic at Imperial Palace....

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