Nine of us stood in front of Craftsteak. The reservations at celebrity chef Tom Colicchio's eatery were for twelve of us. BG's flight from Chicago was delayed and he had just arrived at the MGM. AlCantHang and BigMike were drinking at the sportsbook and said that they on their way. The hostess led nine of us to a large table. As my friends took their seats. I slipped her a $20 bill and told her that three members of our party would be arriving late.
"Are you Mr. CantHang?" she asked.
"No," I said, "I'm just his assistant. Mr. CantHang is the rock star and I just cater to his affairs. He'll be arriving shortly with his personal security detail, a gentleman named BigMike. When you see him, you'll understand why he's called BigMike."
"I'll make sure that Mr. CantHang is seated immediately," she said.
A couple of minutes later, the young woman returned with AlCantHang shuffling behind and clutching a tumbler filled with Southern Comfort. BigMike sauntered behind Al with a menacing gait. BG finally arrived and everyone was seated for a last minute rehearsal dinner for Gracie and Pablo. But as far as the management at Craftsteak saw it, we were just a bunch of leeches and hanger-ons who mooched off of the AlCantHang Experience.
Dinner was fantastic. Conversation. Kobe. Wagyu. Scrumptious. My favorite part of the dinner involved AlCantHang's cigarette break. About midway through our two plus hour meal, AlCantHang excused himself to have a smoke outside. Craftsteak was non-smoking and the Studio Walk area just outside the restaurant was also a non-smoking zone. Al wandered up to the hostess and asked her where he could smoke a cigarette. She pointed out the area on the casino floor and asked him if he needed a security escort. Because you know, there's nothing worst than getting mobbed by fans when you're just trying to get a nicotine fix.
AlCantHang respectfully declined the security escort.
The bill arrived. $2,700. I picked up half of the tab and put it on my gold card. Less than twelve hours later, I had not gone to bed yet and was lit up like a Christmas tree when I got call from American Express. That transaction was flagged as suspicious activity. I explained to the customer service rep in the faud prevention department that I indeed had my gold card on my person and that I also charged a hefty sum at Craftsteak.
"I love steak," I slurred like a Bowery bum, which drew a hearty chuckle from the person on the other line.
On Friday afternoon, there was a charity tournament over at the Hard Rock. I skipped it. I was on vacation and the last thing I wanted to do was hang out and railbird a poker tournament. A couple of friends played such as AlCantHang, who has a big heart and wanted to rack up some karma points. He sent me text updates during the charity tournament. Al even knocked out Tiffany Michelle. He said that she was pretty pissed after he busted her. Out of all of the people I know who played, Garth went the deepest. Our favorite Aussie advanced to the final table and finished in fourth place. Nice job, sir.
I decided to bet on a couple of the Friday night NBA games. I needed a small taste. Action. Any action. Nothing big. No more betting two dimes. I'm a reformed gambler. I'm an enlightened degenerate. Games are fixed. It's a part of life. Despite the obvious obstacles and pitfalls, I just went to bet a couple of bucks here or there to make things interesting. I love the empowering feeling when you pick something that otherwise lacked value and all of a sudden it becomes the most important thing in the world. Like random NBA games that I'd usually ignore. I acted conservatively at the sports book and bet the chalk. I picked two obvious favorites (Boston and the Spurs) and both teams easily covered. Luck? Or maybe I was on the good side of the fix.
The only thing sweeter than winning Otis' money in a prop bet... is cashing a winning sports book ticket. It's like getting a gold star and a blowjob at the same time. Validation and gratification. The true opiate of the masses.
Many moons ago, Felicia convinced the MGM to spread mixed games for our group. She even finagled them to open up one of the private rooms upstairs. Since then, Fridays at the MGM have been Vegas a tradition. The poker junkies infiltrated the poker room, while the drunkards congregated at the bar in the sports book behind the poker room.
Only the curious observers were brave enough to take a closer look at the AlCantHang Experience. Some of the newbies were extra cautious and brought a protective layer of clothing, like the people visiting Niagara Falls for the first time on the Maid of the Mist boat. They must wear plenty of rain gear to prevent them from downpour of the mighty waterfall. Just substitute booze for water. Barrels of it. Thundering over a cliff.
The smart ones run in, snap a photo with Old Faithful, and rush out before they get swept up in the overwhelming currents of the AlCantHang Experience. The bathrooms by the poker room at the MGM are Venus flytraps that gobble up soused bloggers. The victims who lacked endurance and tolerance passed out on the cold tiles and all shriveled up in the fetal position. They quickly became plant food.
PKPNF had disappeared sometime on Friday afternoon. He started drinking heavily with BettyUnderground. I introduced the two this summer when we were in San Francisco. They hit it off at a joint called the Pork Store in Haight-Ashbury. That magic spilled over into Las Vegas over cocktails. PKPNF unleashed a tweet that mentioned something about an engagement. Hey, in Vegas, you never know. People get drunk and get married all the time. Like Britney Spears. Not to K-Fed, but to the other poor schlub.
Sometime after Midnight on Friday, I emerged from my food coma. The party favors kicked in and the booze soaked deep into my bones. I collected my NBA winnings but promptly lost a prop bet to Spaceman. Who was taller? Mrs. Spaceman or Grubbette? Both were damn close. So close that it came down to fractions of an inch. I picked Mrs. Spaceman and I lost by the slimmest of margins. Grubbette literally won by a hair.
Michalski showed up and we taped a couple of episodes of Tao of Pokerati. Derek was a special guest. Mean Gene made another cameo and PKPNF and Michalksi supposedly met for the first time. On air. Little did I know that they two actually knew each other back in Texas. Neither let on that they had met many moons ago and played it off very well. The specific details about their murky and jagged past has yet to come to light, but I'm expecting to get the full story someday. Regardless, Michalski and PKPNF got off to a rough start. Michalski innocently asked PKPNF advice on how to play Keno numbers and PKPNF quickly snapped.
"Shut the fuck up!" he said matter of factly which absolutely stunned Michalski.
The two would eventually make up. Later that night while partying it up in my suite, PKPNF would utter one of the funniest lines of the trip.
"Actually, the reason I don't watch TV is because I did so much meth, that I took apart my TV."
You can hear the rest of the infamous interview with PKPNF in the Tao of Pokerati episode titled... Hookers, Keno, and Meth.
"I hope you don't have a gun," mentioned Linda.
The courthouse does not allow firearms. I wasn't packing heat, but I definitely had enough opiates on me to put 67% of Jasper, Indiana into a deep freeze.
"We're not going through any metal detectors or anything?" I wondered. "It's not like I'm going to get searched going to a wedding?"
Gracie and Pablo were getting married at the courthouse. AlCantHang and BigMike rented the party bus. The champagne and Southern Comfort flowed. Lots of pictures were taken. The group stumbled off the bus and almost got swindled by a bunch of shills for a different wedding chapel. Luckily we found safe passage to the justice of the peace.
The wedding room was a small room behind the judge's chambers. It would only fit about half of the group which swelled to over 30 people. The judge looked like a hobbit. She was small and feisty. She allowed AlCantHang to say a few words as long as he didn't evoke the powers of Satan. She also did everyone a favor and conducted the ceremony in the lobby... so everyone could see it.
It was a tender moment. Lots of people took photos from their cameras and iPhones. Grubby showed up late, but made it in time to eat the wedding cake provided by Dave Yestbay.
We hopped back on the party bus. The driver took the long route to the Venetian. We finally arrived with plenty of time to sign up for the tournament. Last year, Grubby, Bad Blood and I embarked on the Procedure before the tournament. It must have worked because Grubby made the final table and I bubbled off the final table. This year, I skipped the strip club in favor of the wedding.
82 players this year. Numbers are way down from last year and previous years. My starting table included... KJ, Mattazuma, Falstaff, PokerPeaker, Gracie, MiamiDon, MeanGene, Linda, and one guy who I forgot what his name was. Of course, that would be the guy who eventually busted me.
It took a while before someone won Gigli. During the first blogger tournament at Sam's Town in 2004, I awarded last place a copy of Gigli on DVD. Ben Affleck was playing a ton of poker back then and it was sort of a cruel inside joke to hand out a free copy of one of the worst movies made in the last decade. Previous winners of Gigli include Bill Rini, the PokerNerd, Tanya, Spaceman, Easy Cure, Kram420, and The Mark. This year's winner? Aunt Maudie.
Linda flopped quad Kings. Last year's champion, The Rooster, busted out second. PKPNF took out a couple of folks, including Michalski who was steaming after his elimination.
"You got Keno'd!" would quickly become a catchphrase and an integral part of poker vernacular.
Kat was moved to our table. I pushed her off of A-10 on a board of Q-10-x. I had 8-8 and made a move. She folded. I almost showed.
I was eliminated in 51st place. I made a bad play against KJ in a battle of the blinds. He crippled me and I was out on the next hand. PKPNF busted just before me in 52nd place and we both headed to the bar where AlCantHang was holding court.
PKPNK and I taped a bustout interview where he called out Michalksi for playing like a pussy.
I split my time between the bar and the tournament. Derek and Change100 were both still alive, but when they busted... it was time to head back to the IP to party it up with Iggy and GMoney. We nested at the Geisha Bar, where Derek struck up a conversation with a working girl and told her that his name was Dan Michalski.
Change100 and Mrs. OhCaptian played nonstop video poker. Junkies. Change100 finally nailed quads after an relentless pursuit and I watched Mrs O ride a wave of unreal luck. Inside of a ten minute period, she hit quads twice and picked up a gutshot straight flush draw.
Bobby Bracelet got raped at the roulette table in front of the Geisha Bar. Poor kid. He walked away from the table.
"Is Bobby Bracelet going to play blackjack now?" asked Iggy.
"No, he's going to the ATM," explained Bobby's better half, Elizabeth.
Yep, Bobby was caught doing the walk of shame.
The party migrated to the MGM around 5am. We alternated between my suite, Derek's room, and the Zuri Lounge. Hookers were a flocking. Michalski and I even got one of them to make a cameo on Tao of Pokerati. Listen to Hooker Q&A (featuring "Valerie"). She wandered up in the middle of an episode that we were taping. Since the November Nine ended, the Tao of Pokerati has at least two episodes featuring cameos from hookers.
I found a new tagline for Tao of Pokerati... Not only are we the shortest podcast out there, we're also the most hookery.
Derek and the Human Head were engaged in Existentialist Hooker Theatre, while PKPNF was on a mission looking for some chocolate love. We captured some of those hijinks in podcast form in an episode called Existentialist Hooker Theater 3000.
It was around that time that I formulated a theory about hookers and Las Vegas buffets. The more expensive the buffet... the better looking the hookers were. The quality of hookers was directly correlated to the price of the buffets in the various Las Vegas casinos. For example, the casinos with the cheapest buffets often had the worst looking hookers. While the high end casinos with pricey buffets attracted the cream of the crop.
After partying for almost 50 hours straight, my body shut down around 8am on Sunday. I saw the sun rise for the fourth mornings in a row. That happens to me a lot in Las Vegas. Too many times to count.
Sometimes, you have to pull the plug on your own fun.
Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.