Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Chapter 6.... Day 3, Part I: Sports Book Sunday
"Then I start to empty my pockets. When I find two $5 Luxor chips, I start to think maybe I have been to the Luxor. The ATM receipt confirms it. Apparently around 1am I was in the Luxor playing.... something. To do this day, I have no idea. I kind of remember thinking midnight was noon and I was late for football. But that could all just be a drunken dream." - AlCantHang
The phone was ringing. I sheepishly answered another wake up call minutes after I finally fell asleep. I could have sworn that the maids were popping into the room for a "bed check" and were stealing $100 out of my pants pocket while I was passed out. Or maybe that was just a dream? I was greeted by a minor migraine headache, the kind that you get the morning of day three of a week long a bender, the type that never goes away no matter how many painkillers you pop or no matter how many drinks you consume to drown it out. You just have to gut it out and pray that it doesn't get any worse. Derek was much slower to get up and moving. Me too for that matter. I had an extra few minutes to write before my shower. Short on time, we skipped a sitdown breakfast and grabbed something quick from the food court.

I remembered that Iggy wanted me to put $100 on the Bengals for him at the sports book. Since we were cutting it close on time with kickoff a few minutes away, I made the bet at Excalibur then took the tram to Mandalay Bay. When we arrived at MB's sports book, the spread was an extra point in Iggy's favor. Ouch. For bettors that's a huge difference. I ran up and put another bet on the Bengals for myself and got it in just a few second before kickoff I had them at 10.5 and 11.5 and was praying that they would not get blown out. Let's be honest. It's not that I had faith in the Bengals. On the contrary, I had been picking New England consistently all season and that was the first and only time I bet against them in 2004. And why? Because Iggy did it. Yep, I'll adapt that old expression my Mom used to scream at me as a small child... because if Iggy jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, I would too. The lowly Bengals were my Brooklyn Bridge. And I took the leap of faith with Iggy.

The weekend football games were pretty big for me. My fantasy football team, Uncle Jodd's Band, were in the playoffs. We were without Priest Holmes, so I was hoping for a miracle game from Drew Brees and Kevin Jones. The entire purpose of the trip was for Derek and I to gamble on the NFL games at Mandalay Bay. We do this every December. That was the specific reason for our jaunt to Sin City. I pretty much organized the poker event around our original intent of a Sunday at the sports book. Yeah, I am fond of the Mandalay Bay. I used to love the Mirage, but in the last few years I have gravitated to Mandalay Bay sports book to place bets on March Madness and NFL games. It's one of the few casino's in Las Vegas where I can boast about having career earnings reaching five digits... all on sports betting.

When Derek and I arrived at the Mandalay Bay sports book, both BG, Daddy, and Bob had already snagged a table! They have these really cool marble tables with comfy chairs twenty feet from the bar. We sat down and I scanned the Daily Racing Form. BG and Bob had been placing bets all morning. BG suggested a horse with the name Briana in it... a long shot at 30-1. I wandered up to the window to place my bet, and sure enough, the horse was scratched. Not a good sign. I called up Briana to tell her that she was already jinxing my day.

Within a few minutes, we had a full crew soon after AlCantHang arrived and we were cracking jokes with our scantly clad waitress. She was cute as a Georgia peach and had the slow drawl to match. My notes have me knocking back shots of SoCo with ACH at the bar around 10:08am PCT. Gotta love being on the west coast for football season. Games start at 10am! I was giddy by 11am, drunk by noon, and shitfaced by 1pm. I can thank ACH for that. Derek was wicked wasted. He was visibly slurring his speech and speaking with a three second delay. I picked up some chicken fingers from the cafe to help sober him up.

Otis and Bad Blood arrived and hit up the poker room (steps away). Soon after Iggy wandered over with EvaCanHang. She had been up all night playing slots with Grubby. Iggy found a small piece of paper in his pocket that I had given him the night before at the poker room. It said: Mandalay Bay sports book - Sun. @ 10am. As soon as he discovered the note, he rushed over. I gave him his ticket for the Bengals and we just sat back and waited.

The game wasn't close in the first quarter. NE got off to a quick start and the Bengals fought to hang in there. At some point they lost their starting QB to an injury and I quickly accepted defeat. Out of nowhere, they faked a punt and scored a TD. That made the game closer than anyone imagined. The Pats ended up winning, but they didn't cover. A slew of us had bet on the Bengals, and we were all winners.

AlCantHang's buddy Phil is from San Diego and he's a huge Chargers fan. He was hanging out with us rooting for his favorite team. I also had some money on San Diego so I got as excited as Phil did when they scored or made a big play. ACH and Phil began singing the San Diego fight song. You've seen it on a few blogs already so I won't post the actual lyrics. They are quite catchy and easy to memorize, even for a bunch of drunk hooligans like ourselves. By the fourth quarter, we had the cheer down perfectly, and everyone's attention in the sports book was focused on our group when we would burst into a rowdy rendition of the Chargers' fight song. An old guy in front of us would stand up and direct the chorus of poker bloggers as if we were members of a local church choir.

I watched Bad Blood drop the hammer on his poker table. He flopped a pair and river'd two pair. He proudly displayed his Hammer for the table and scooped up a big pot. I also saw him take a vicious bad beat at a NL table with Mrs. Slick against ATo. BB flopped an ace, and some nimrod river'd him when he hit a 10 on the river. Ouch. He also had his cowboys cracked by the Hiltons. Here's what BB had to say about The Hammer:
The second kill-pot, I notice the good Dr. standing behind me. I peel back my two cards and find....

Yes, the hammer.

Since Pauly was there, I had to play it. I caught a 2 on the flop and bet out. The turn brought a 4-card straight draw to the board, but nobody bet. I knew the hand was mine when the river brought the 7. An eruption of "Hammer! Hammer!" echoed through the casino as I looked behind me at the blogger contingent rooting me on.
The Jets lost to the Steelers and Chad Pennington played like shit. I won 3 out of four games on one of my parlay cards... the Jets the only team not covering. At some point, Julie, CJ, and G-Rob were hanging out and I was too sloshed to recall when they arrived. Ferrari was in the poker room with Otis and BB. EvaCanHang was at the tail end of a 36 hour bender and she quietly passed out in one of the chairs. I made up a "Do Not Disturb" sign and gently placed it on her. She slept through all the loud drunken chatter, even through the San Diego fight song.

I had a great conversation with CJ about his breakfast meeting with Edna, the poker room manager at Aladdin. She wants to host a future blogger event. Pretty cool, huh? I also had a great conversation with Iggy over several ideas regarding the future of our blogs and about the community in general. We also came up with an idea for a blogger tournament around March. Stay tuned for those details. I hope Iggy still has the notes from our "meeting" which I scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin.

EvaCanHang decided it was time for her to crash. She got up said her good-byes. Before she left she mentioned, "Don't buy any more shots Al. They're too expensive."

As soon as she walked away, AlCantHang stood up and announced to the entire sports book, "Who wants a shot?"

I went with him to the bar to help carry the multiple SoCo shots back over to the table, including a Lemon Drop for Julie. The bartender mentioned that his tab was somewhere near $177.

"Only $177? Holy shit!" screamed AlCantHang, "I thought it was $300!"

When we all had our drinks I offered up a toast for AlCantHang. He quickly interrupted and said that we should all toast for me.

"To Pauly!" he said as our entire group hoisted their drinks and shots. At the same time, there was a huge play on the big screen, an interception, and the entire sports book cheered in jubilation just as the bloggers were toasting me. That was an awesome feeling, to hear "To Pauly!" followed by a thunderous applause from the entire sports book.

I realized that the majority of my drinking with AlCantHang all happened within the hours of 9am and 5pm. I wonder if that qualifies as a full time job? At the least, it gets a mentioning on my resume.

... to be continued.
Here's the timetable of the rest of my trip reports:

12.22 - Day 3, Part II: Late night hijinks including Bellagio hookers
12.24 - Day 4, Part I: Aladdin tourney report & hanging w/ Grubby & Derek
12.26 - Day 4, Part II: The Brawl revisited and Late Night with Otis
12.27 - Day 5: Afterthoughts plus my fav. pictures & quotes

And here are the ones I have already posted:

Chapter 1: Day 1, Part I
Chapter 2: Day 1, Part II
Chapter 3: Day 2, Part I
Chapter 4: Day 2, Part II... WPBT Holiday Classic
Chapter 5: Day 2, Part III

Derek finally posted his Day 1 trip report. Check that out.
As you can tell the timetable for my trip reports have been constantly changing. I have too much to write!! Stay tuned for more wild and wacky Vegas stories. There are plenty fo Hammer stories too. In the meantime, please visit everyone's blog for their kickass trip reports; HDouble, Iggy, Derek, Poker Prof, Flip Chip, and Foiled Coup from Lasvegasvegas, Dick from Buy It In Vegas, Riding the F Train, Boy Genius, Bad Blood, Bill Rini, Felicia, Glenn, Otis & CJ & G-Rob, Al Cant Hang & EvaCanHang, Maudie, Signor Ferrari, - EV, Bob, Grubby, Mas from Genius of Poker, Martin from JMC Automatic and Brian, Linda from Poker Works, and Daddy from Snail Trax. Did I miss anybody? Some are up, some are in the process of writing them, and some people like my brother are swamped with work, so I'm sure you'll be reading about this trip over the next few weeks. Thanks for stopping by.

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