Las Vegas, NV
I made a triumphant return to the Gold Coast after finishing a much-anticipated screening of The Hangover 2. With visions of the smoking, drug-dealing monkey on my mind, all I kept thinking was: "I want a monkey as a mascot in the press box for the WSOP."
But my better sense suggested that WSOP suits would never allow it. For one, there's health reasons. For another, my pet monkey might go ape shit when he passes the Poker Kitchen and realizes they serve kangaroo meat as the base of the burger mix.
Depending on which starchild you talk to, humans are made of mostly monkey DNA with just a sprinkling of alien DNA. Even if you don't believe in aliens, and ignore your inner Agent Mulder and take a more scientific like Agent Scully, it's impossible to ignore the fine line between man and monkey. Even if poker players have no clue about genetics, they've seen peculiar monkey business happening at the tables.
If you've got your ass kicked during a donkament by inferior players, then you'd wonder if the person across the table has more simian DNA than human DNA. Ergo, monkeys can play in the WSOP, they can't be mascots for the press, nor chip counters. Oh well, so much for my idea of hiring cheap labor to actually publish chip counts on Tao of Poker this year.
Besides, where the fuck are we going to get all those bananas to feed the monkey?
My apologies for the tangent...
I turned on my phone as I exited the theatre. Homer sent me a message -- Pai Gow. How could I not indulge in a few hands on my first night in Vegas? Homer had fastened himself to the far corner seat at a Pai Gow table in the gambling pits of the Gold Coast, our humble home away from home every summer. Homer was ensconced in a serious session lasting several hours before I arrived with Change100. He was saucy, which was a total shocker because when was the last time you saw a Brit binge drink in Las Vegas?
Also at Homer's table were Timtern and Landon. At first I thought Landon was shithoused drunk because he talked kinda funny, but that's when I noticed he was sipping coffee and recalled he was Australian. This is his first WSOP as a member of the press corp and he dove head first into the late night madness.
"Get used to this," I mentioned to Landon. "We're do gonna this every fucking night for the next seven weeks."
I sat down in seat 2. Two civilians were also at the table, but we chased one of them off rather quickly and Change100 took that seat. We had a rail when KevMath and Marie showed up. The waitress brought me rum drinks and that's when the carnage began.
The first dealer was the slowest Pai Gow dealer I've ever experienced. Holy shitballs, I expect slow service when I go to a Waffle House in Bumblefuck, Georgia, but when I'm jacked up on pure Vegas adrenaline and have a stack of greenbirds in front of me, I want to see as many Pai Gow hands as possible.
The slow dealer was giving me questionable hands and the ones that appeared to have value were brutally ravished by the dealer's seven cards. Slow dealer and a bad beat? Talk about getting both your testicles sliced and diced.
They finally sent in a new dealer, but as per usual, she was a bot from the Nagai Corporation in Japan. I might have caught a break this summer because after Japan suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami (which cause a meltdown of multiple nuclear reactors), the country's industrial production shut down for many weeks and is slowly getting back online. The new line of Pai Gow bots will not arrive until late in 2011, which means I only have to deal with older version, which are prone to glitches and the occasional error. I guess that's the only good thing to come out of the Japan quake. Sure, Japan is drowning in radiation soup while traces of radioactive material flutter its way toward North American airspace, but at least I won't have to worry about an upgraded version of the Pai Gow bots.
Homer became my personal hero when he slowrolled a dealer. The dealer showed trip 4s. Homer had cheekily set his five-card hand. When the dealer turned it over, only four cards were exposed. Two of them were sixes, the other two were blanks. The dealer fished the covered card out of Homer's hand and flipped over the 6 of diamonds.
"Eat that you fucking bot," I muttered under my breath. "You just got slowrolled by a sschwated Brit who consumed his body weight in booze!"
Homer 1, Bots 0.
I lost a couple of $100 hands (yes I was betting 10 to 12 times the $10 minimum because I'm an action junkie), but I'll spare you the morose details. Bad beats, of course. I always get my money in good at a Pai Gow table.
It's gonna be a long summer.