Monday, November 19, 2007

Bloggers Invading Las Vegas Tips 5.0

By Pauly
New York City

Falstaff and some other bloggers asked me to re-post Bloggers Invading Las Vegas Tips. The next gathering of the bloggers is 17 or so days away and I realized that the timing is now.

It's hard to believe that this is the 5th version of this post and it's still harder to believe that the Prof and I set up the very first one on December of 2004. Anyway, I will cut and paste excerpts from four previous posts and rewrite a few parts 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, attorney, and/or parole officer.

Disclaimer: 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. Expect me to be aloof and heavily inebriated. 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 you sordid bunch. I'm only showing up for the free booze, a chance to be showered in glowing praise from your random compliments about my writing, and a rare opportunity to see Otis fall down.

So here we go... my Top 20 23 Tips on Surviving Las Vegas:

1. Cut back on sleep immediately.

As of right now, cut back on your sleep by 45 minutes every night and get 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.

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 frisson 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 yakked 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 the last three Decembers and benders in the last three summers 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. Don't get wheeled out of the IP in a wheelchair like Drizz. Moderation is the key to happiness.

3. Water and Motrin are your best 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.

Motrin is essential for combating hangovers. During college, one of my friends' girlfriend gave me several Motrin after I complained about my bum knee. She took Motrin for cramps and it's a reliable pain killer. If you expect to going running with the bulls and attempt to go shot for shot with AlCantHang, you will most likely die of SoCo poisoning. If you do survive, you will have the worst headache on the planet and wish you were dead. Dr. Pauly suggests taking four Motrin every three hours after a night of heavy drinking.

Also, I credit Kat for turning me onto Perrier last December. It's great to drink first thing in the morning. Or if you're stomach is churning after too much booze, drink some ginger ale.

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, please respect people's privacy or their wishes of anonymity, make sure you get their consent with the exception of anyone who passes out in my room like the Poker Geek (pictured above) or Bill Rini. My ugly mug is all over the internet, so snap away. There's a reason there are no pictures of Iggy on the internet. Let's help keep it that way.

7. Speak your mind and stay in the moment.

One of my regrets of these trips is 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 everyone, but that never happens. Don't make that crucial mistake. If you have the chance to talk to someone, take advantage of that opportunity. If you see Miami Don 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 let's find AlCantHang.

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 my brother Derek. With the huge number of people involved 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. Don't be Gigli.

Former winners of the Gigli Award include:
Dec. 2004: Bill Rini
Jun. 2005: Poker Nerd
Dec. 2005: Tanya
Jul. 2006: Spaceman
Dec. 2006: Easy Cure
Jun. 2007: Kram420
Dec. 2007: ????
If you bust out first in the blogger tournament, then you will 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 PokerStars.

10. 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: 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 The 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.

11. 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. At the first ever gathering of the tribes, I never saw Iggy eat one bite during our last trip. He was on the ciggies and Guinness gambler's diet. And never drink on an empty stomach.

12. 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 your legs in shape. Plus if you want to walk the Strip, everything appears much closer in the desert. Otis can tell you how wonderful Ecco shoes are. I have a pair and wear them all the time.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. $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.

16. Avoid the slots.

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

17. 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? The only thing worse would be to mention we're at a MySpace pedophile convention. 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!! And please don't out me at the tables to civilians. If anyone says, "Do you know who that is?" and points to me will get to experience the wrath of The Rooster.

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 former priest who left the church to pursue a career in professional sports betting where I get my picks from conversations with St. Peter. 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.

18. 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.

19. Never burn the locals.

Hunter S. Thompson mentioned that in Fear in Loathing in Las Vegas and it's the travelers mantra. Never, ever piss off the locals. That includes hotel and casino staff. They live in Vegas and don't need your drunk ass berating them.

20. Don't get rolled by a hooker.

This is self-explanatory. But if you have the desire to hire a working girl at the nearest Hooker Bar, then make sure you're not too drunk and never flash around your bankroll because you will get robbed. A 2005 WSOP bracelet winner picked up two hookers to celebrate his win and not only did he get rolled, they also stole his bracelet.

Also, be very careful of frisky girls in bars. You might think your mojo is in high gear or that all the women you meet in Vegas are super friendly, but they are usually not. They might be on the job, or they might just be a pickpocket. They usually target extremely drunk guys, so try not to get so shitfaced that you become a target to be rolled.

21. Avoid hangovers. Stay drunk.

If you need to puke, stick your finger down your throat and pull the trigger. You'll feel a lot better afterwards. Warm ginger ale is your friend, or any kind of warm soda like 7-up or Sprite. Perrier and Motrin always do the trick for me. And you can always start drinking as soon as you wake up to avoid a hangover.

22. Get off the Strip.

Take a side trip away from the Strip. Head to a locals casino like Red Rock or Green Valley Ranch. Take a drive through Red Rock Canyon national park. Head downtown and check out the Gambler's Book Store. Leaving the Strip is a great thing to do if you happen to go broke. It happens so if you do, you can always check out a post I wrote for Las Vegas Vegas called Things to Do in Las Vegas if You're Broke...

23. Don't die.

"I'm surprised no one has died on these trips," mentioned Iggy to me during one of the last get togethers. We both laughed but I could tell there was a tinge of seriousness to his comment.

Don't do something stupid and die from being an idiot. Not only will you be dead, but that would put an end to these gatherings and ruin the fun for a lot of people who desperately need a week in Vegas to escape from their hectic lives. Believe me, you don't want to be known for the rest of eternity as that dude (or that chick) who puked on their own vomit and died after passing out on the Monorail. Have fun, but just don't get yourself killed.

On that note, over the last couple of years, Las Vegas has been riddled with random incidents of crime that are trickling down to the Strip. Yes, there have been some shootings and drunks do drive up onto the street from time to time, so always be careful no matter where you go. There is a lot of gang activity in Vegas, but that usually goes down in North Las Vegas. The gangs avoid the Strip and the three or so shootings this year have been random and isolated incidents from lone gunmen.

Last year one blogger was robbed at gunpoint. If you are in parking garages make sure you are not being followed. If your hotel does not check keys to get access to the elevators, make sure no one suspicious is following you to your floor. It's not rude to chose not to get in an elevator with someone or several people you don't know. Sure it's a tad paranoid, but safety is always the key especially if you are holding large sums of money.

Be careful with what you leave around in your hotel room. If your room has a safe, use it. Although not all maids have sticky fingers, no need to tempt them by leaving out an iPod or anything of value.

And if you are robbed by an assailant with a weapon, don't be a hero. Just delay the situation long enough to get a good description of the person, then take your money out of your pursue/pocket and throw it one way while you immediately run the other. The tweaker or thug just wants your money, so toss it and haul ass.

* * * * *

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. The event is what you make out of it. So come with an open mind, relax, and have fun at the 4th Annual Holiday Classic.

And if you are looking for any poker tournaments to play in while you are in town, check out Poker Prof's Las Vegas poker tournament directory. Or if you are looking for a room to play in, check out his Las Vegas poker room directory.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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