"Since you like chicks, right, do you just look at yourself naked in the mirror all the time?" - Banky, Chasing AmySeveral years ago, Derek (who finally has a post up about Las Vegas on Poker in the Weeds) and I started a tradition of going to Las Vegas in December to bet on pro football. We'd head to Mandalay Bay and sit in the sports book, drink, and bet on different games. That tradition was the focal point of last year's blogger get together and many historians will point to the annual weekend with my brother as the origins of the entire bloggers in Vegas gatherings. It's something that we always did and it was cool that one of our family traditions became a staple in the bloggers in Vegas trips. Last year BG and Bobby Bracelet got to the sports book early to secure a spot. The rest was history. The lovely EvaCanHang passed out. AlCantHang led the entire sportsbook in the San Diego Superchargers fight song. And I won a shitload of cash betting on the Bengals because Iggy told me to do it. This year, we vowed to return and create more mayhem.
I woke up with severe cotton mouth after a Saturday night that entailed too many party favors and one too many SoCos. I gulped down two bottles of water while taking a piss and lamented as I looked in the mirror.
"For fuck's sake. I'm Ben Affleck in Chasing Amy. Somebody fuckin' kill me."
Jaxia went back to sleep and decided to sleep in and skip football. I woke up Derek and we stumbled out of the IP past the dealertainers and took a cab to Mandalay Bay. When we got there, we couldn't find anyone. We were late and the first games started. We didn't get any bets in. Derek found Mean Gene near the bathroom where I watched the couple fuck a few months ago and I found Drizz sitting in a row near the Race book. That was the only space they could get. Dejected, Derek and I headed to the cafe for breakfast. That's when Derek's order got fucked up by the waitress who looked a lot like Imelda Marcos. He asked for chicken fingers and she brought him chicken fajitas.
"Excuse, this is not what I ordered."
"Yes it is. You said chicken fajitas."
"No I didn't. I know what the fuck I wanted for breakfast."
Don't piss Derek off, especially when he's been drinking. When she returned, Derek got shorted one chicken finger. He was going to complain, but we just stiffed the waitress instead. No shoe money for her.
We headed back to the sports book and hung out with Drizz, BG, StB, Joe Speaker and on_thg. They were betting on the ponies and won a big bet on one called "Too Drunk to Call." Fitting. I gave BG some cash and told him to make some random picks for me. At one point, I placed a bet on a horse named AJ something in honor of Joe Speaker's kid. Lost by a nose too.
That seemed indicative of my long weekend. I had been stuck in one of the worst losing streaks in my life. I hoped that the Mandalay Bay would snap that streak. After all, I've won over five figures in the sports book and poker rooms combined since 2000. The poker room is where I padded my bankroll after the WSOP ended. The sports book is where I killed the games during March Madness at numerous times over the last five years. If there was one casino that I had the most career earnings at... it was Mandalay Bay. Plus I also met Jaxia for the first time at the bar in the sports book after getting cold decked by the video poker machine. MB was a magical and special place for me on several levels but I was afraid that I'd fall into a karmic funk and find myself knee deep in a ton of bad mojo over an incident that happened a few weeks ago. A friend of a friend dosed a hooker the night before Halloween at the bar in Mandalay Bay with LSD and I figured the gambling gods were not pleased. I had nothing to do with it but I watched and let it happen. I was curious and demented at the same time. I need to build a several churches in Africa just to get my mojo back on track.
We took the Chiefs getting 3 over the Cowboys and it came down to the last play of the game. Friggin' missed field goal made the game a push for us. Oh well. I'm pretty sure Gamecock and Dr. Jeff had money on them too.
I hung out and talked a lot with Trump Josh and Biggestron. It a hectic weekend that was the most time I got to spend with both. I wish I had more time because out of all the new bloggers I met, I felt I bonded with them the most. Joaquin was hitting on a ton of chicks. He asked one LA hottie where she got her jacket. He lied and said he worked for the Conde Nast building in Times Square. The Rooster can pick up women anytime, anyplace, anywhere.
Iggy and I had a funny conversation with Change100 about life in Hollyweird as she ate a tuna sandwich. She kept telling me, "Pauly we have to get you an agent."
No-fuckin'-shit. I need a pimp to whore out my ass.
A few bloggers hit the poker room and the rest kept betting money on the ponies. We picked a horse named Mr. Otis. And the fucker didn't come in the money. It was fun watching it race. The Heads were sorting through the Daily Racing Form and splashing the cash around on different races. Jaxia eventually arrived after she had lunch with Maudie. After the second game ended we headed over to MGM because a few guys like CJ and JoeSpeaker wanted to play in the 6pm tourney.
At the MGM, I got onto a NL table and Derek sat in the back of the room on a different NL table. He suffered two of the most brutal suckouts I had ever seen and lost two buy ins. He played with Alan, Grubby, and Russ Fox. I lost a buy in making an awful move against a severely loose player. I was on tilt and ended up sitting at a $2/4 table with Jaxia, Royal, his buddy, Joaquin, and Helixx. Steaming, I left and headed to the bar.
I sweated JoeSpeaker and CJ for a while and caught one hand in particular when JoeSpeaker had A-Q and flopped a Queen and threw out a pussy bet on the flop. At the bar, I chatted up MrsSpeaker and hung out with BigMike, AlCantHang, TeamScottsmith, ShepSmith, and Derek. We wandered back over to watch the final table which featured JoeSpeaker and CJ. Speaker took 4th I think and CJ went all the way for the big win. He's remarkable. Change100 called to say goodbye. She had to drive back to LA. Grubby said she had tears in her eyes when she left.
After the MGM we headed back to the Imperial Palace, were a slew of wasted people rode the monorail back with some cowboys. That's when I filmed the infamous quote from Human Head, "Cocaine in a can baby!" when he referred to Red Bull.
AlCantHang wanted to have a party where we drank the remainder of his liquor. Trump Josh had provided most of the beverages and we drank it all. They ordered pizzas and AlCantHang kept pouring shots for me and BigMike. The next thing I knew it, it was almost Midnight. I had two great conversations with Joe Speaker and the Human Head on writing. I also got to chat with Mrs. Speaker some more.
"Stop charming my wife!" Joe Speaker kept yelling at me.
I took a few pictures with Gracie up on AlCantHang's terrace before we headed to Casino Royale for $2 craps. Jen Leo met us there, along with Biggestron, Human Head, Mrs. Head, Jaxia, CJ, Travis, Royal, Royal's buddy, TrumpJosh, and Spaceman (I think). We passed by the Subway where Daddy spent $17 on a single sandwich with double the meat and double the bacon. Good Lord. I must admit, at this point of the trip I hit my peak "fuckedupness" of the weekend where I never should have been near any sort of gambling table, let alone walking and talking to strangers. Of course I was shooting dice with Trump Josh at my side which was one of my favorite moments of the entire weekend. I kept yelling at Jen Leo and called her "Jenny from the Block" when she tossed. CJ was on a bad run and when it was my turn to roll, he was all in. Well I can't recall specifics, but I went on a rush and rolled for over ten minutes. Some old guy standing in between TrumpJosh and Jaxia was timing all of us. I felt bad because I lied to him and said we all went to Harvard Medical School together.
Anyway, CJ went on a run while I rolled and built his stack back up. I nailed a hard eight and I had a bet out there "for the boys" who were pleased with my tip. I had not rolled a hard eight in over 3.5 years. Mrs. Head threw one as well.
I'll take that fuckin' memory to my grave. Shooting dice with my friends at 3am in Las Vegas. One of the top 100 moments of my life. Hands down.
We went back to the penthouse after I donked off $100 in craps where Derek and Iggy were drinking heavily. We headed down to the poker room around 4am and played for three hours. Alan, Travis, Iggy, Jaxia, Derek, Human Head, an Mrs. Head were all at the same table. Iggy was super drunk and kept dropping f-bombs. Three of the other guys were total fish and they had no clue what we were doing capping bets preflop with drunk and straddling non-stop. It was like that scene in Rounders when they went to the Taj.
Travis is one crazy fuckin' Canuck! He took down a monster pot when he caught a boat with the Hammer and cracked K-K. Jaxia took down a nice pot with J-9 and I ended up nicknaming that hand the "Jaxia." Travis also cracked my Hiltons with 4-7o after he played his entire hand blind. Iggy got one guy on tilt when he smoked a cigarette and played his hand blind from the rail. Iggy had the dealer raise the hand everytime. Here's the fucked up thing... the guy he played against mucked his hand on the river! We never got to see Iggy's hand.
That guy was a tool and Derek kept making fun of him because he kept trying to stare us down and intimidate us. He went on mega tilt and gave the rest of his chips to Jaxia. She declared that she was going to play her hand blind but showed me her hand without looking. It was Kc-9c. Not too bad for a blind straddle. She was heads up with the tilt-ish guy. The flop: K-J-9. Man, she flopped two pair. She bet out, he raised, and they went back and forth. At one point Jaxia thought about just calling but she kept raising. On the turn he was all in and he had absolutely nothing... Qs-5s. He had no draws. Nothing but Queen high. Jaxia flipped over K-9 and took down the monster pot with two pair. He stormed off and we all mocked the dude as Jaxia stacked up her chips.
F Train arrived with SoxLover around 6am. FTrain won the 11pm Sahara tourney, which meant two blogger wins inside of 12 hours. (Biggestron would win the 11am a few hours later). F Train was stuck over a grand, but the win unstuck him. Unreal. Great job, douche bag!
Jaxia and I left to crash around 7am. Mrs. Head left too. Derek, Travis, Iggy, Alan, and Human Head stuck around until Iggy got kicked out of the poker room for too many f-bombs. They headed downstairs to the bar and Mrs. Head couldn't sleep so she joined them for drinks. They wanted to wake me up, which I kinda wished they did. Since it was technically Monday morning, Derek got to see all the bloggers on their way to the airport. They had to walk by the Geisha bar on their way to check out. He drank with StB and the Heads got to say good-bye to everyone. Next time, I'm making sure I pull the allnighter on the last day.
As I reread this entry, I realized how bland it was. I had to leave out a ton of stuff for obvious reasons. Again, you'll have to eventually buy my Las Vegas book if you want to hear about the sordid tales of last Sunday night in Las Vegas. I think Human Head summed up best when we stood up on the terrace of Derek's room and looked out over the Strip with me and his wife. It got quiet for a moment and he asked me, "Does all the partying that me and Mrs. Head did with you over the course of the weekend qualify us for a merit badge in degeneracy?"
"You're officially big dogs," I replied. "You can piss in the tall weeds with me any day."
They just smiled and we enjoyed the moment in silence. The fourth and final day of a 100 hour bender was complete. This chapter finally ended.
I had one of the roughest weeks of all time as I approached the end of one of the most amazing years in the 3.3 decades I've been on this big blue rock flying through space. Las Vegas is a city built on escapism. At this point of my life, it was necessary that I lose myself in the warmth, kindness, generosity, and genuineness of people who I consider some of the best friends I have ever had. Some folks just don't get it. And that's fine. It makes the relationships and experiences that I have with so many of you feel much more special. One individual even went as far to confide in me that they thought we were soulmates. That's the kind of conversations that make you choke up inside.
We're connected on so many levels that it's frightening. When civilians asked me what I was doing in Vegas, I didn't mention that I was in town to hang out with poker bloggers. I proudly said that I was in Vegas to hang out with my friends. At the same time everyone's wry senses of humor and nefarious addictions were more than enough to keep me inspired for the next seven years. You guys and girls keep staying cool and being yourselves, and I'll keep on writing about it all.
.... to be continued