Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Chapter 8... Day 4, Part I: The Aladdin

Monday... I woke up with a nasty hangover and as the menacing Nevada sunlight crept through the blinds, I focused on the blinking orange light on top of the room phone. I checked the room's voicemail and found out that BG had been up for a while and was looking to hang out. I called and told him to come by our room while Derek and I got ready. We eventually rolled downstairs for some breakfast. The waitress gave BG a hard time about substituting an extra biscuit with his breakfast special. I ordered a chicken sandwich at 10:15am, swearing off all forms of liquor.

We hopped in a cab and I was still sick with a queasy stomach. The volume of alcohol consumed without the benefit of a decent night's rest and on a battered stomach half full with bad casino food and Krispy Kreme donuts, combined with a serious case of dehydration... it was all driving me to the brink of insanity. My sole desire was to pass out, curled up in the fetal position in my bed to sleep for a few more hours and curse the idiot who organized the remaining bloggers to regroup at the Aladdin for their NL tournament on Monday morning of all things. Wait... I was that jerkoff.

In a numb daze, I slowly banged my head up against the window of the taxi a few times to shake off my headache. We finally arrived and made our way to the poker room. Bob called. He was playing blackjack downtown and was snagging in a cab to come meet us.

As we wandered into the poker room, I noticed a well dressed woman speaking with two guys in suits. It was Edna. She was the poker room manager and had several years of experience running poker room all over the world, not just in Nevada. She met up with CJ and the Poker Prof the day before to discuss the possibility of hosting the next blogger event. We introduced ourselves and she was very happy that we were coming over to see the room and to play in her tournament. I told her that both BG, Derek, and I all had blogs and were in town for the WPBT Holiday Classic. We chatted for at least a half hour and let her know that we (as bloggers) had the ability to help spread the word about her poker room and tournaments. Next time you are in Vegas, stop by the poker room, play in one of their tournaments and tell her that Pauly, CJ, and the rest of the bloggers told you to stop by.

She had some great stories to tell about life in the poker world. I asked her some specifics about Doyle's home game... which the Aladdin hosts upstairs in a private suite. And yeah, it has a craps table up there too. She also told me how the poker room will be expanding when Planet Hollywood begins renovations.

While we were registering for the noon (or was it 1pm?) tournament, Otis' brother and Martin were leaving. They played in the morning tourney. We had some time to kill and wandered around the vast shopping area. I joked around that the Aladdin is nothing more than a casino in a shopping mall. We found Bob and BG shopped for knives. I looked around for a few Christmas presents and didn't see anything I really liked.

We headed back to the poker room for the tournament. Buy in was $35 plus $5 for an add-on. There was an optional $20 rebuy. I think we started out with T1500. We had a side pool going... a last longer pool. Everyone put up $10 and the blogger who outlasted everyone else. Anyway, Grubby arrived and then -EV and E (his girlfriend) appeared at the last minute. It was -EV's birthday too. What could be better than spending your birthday in Vegas?

Grubby and Derek drew the same table. Bob, BG, and -EV were scattered, and I was sitting next to E. My notes are sketchy. I think there were 60 players in total playing. I ordered a few ginger ales to soothe my raging stomach. I called Otis. His voicemail told me that he was most likely sleeping.

Level 2: I didn't play any hands early on and lost when one pot when my ATs fell to QJ. I flopped an ace but lost on the river to his two pair. -EV lost a huge pot early and was shortstacked when some nimrod caught a card on the river for a brutal suckout.

Level 3: I took my option to rebuy at the last chance and had T3000 in chips. Derek had started out hot and held a chip lead at his table and was one of the leaders overall. E lost a big pot when she flopped a set and some dude river'd her with a straight. She ended up coming in 44th place when her 99 lost to Ax.

Level 4: BG was the first blogger booted, finishing in 20th, when his 88 lost to Big Slick. -EV was next to go when his Hilton Sisters couldn't hold up against KJ. Ouch.

Level 6: With about T3800 I had AQs in EP and raised. I got two callers, both were loose players who had been seeing a lot of pots. One guy was the table chip leader and he called with KJo. The guy in LP had 10-10 and didn't reraise. The flop: A-x-J. I bet out about the size of the pot and both guys called. When a rag fell on the turn, I moved all in. Both guys called and my pair held up. I more than tripled up and now had over T12000. Bob was next to go.

Level 7: Derek was knocked out by a bad beat. With the blinds 2k/4k and 13 players on 3 tables, I found myself short handed with a chip lead at my table. I raised on the button with JJ. The LB was the big stack and moved all in. The big blind called. I decided to move all in. I was up against ATo and K2s. The K2s flopped a flush. I lost 2/3 of my chips on a hand I almost folded. The next hand I found the Hilton Sisters. I raised and everyone folded. I only picked up the blinds. I found nothing to play for an orbit until I saw K10s. I was shortstacked and moved all in UTG. I lost to J9s. I was pretty pissed especially because after I was KO'd everyone moved to the final table. Yep, I came in 11th place. Grubby was still alive and he won the $50 blogger pool. I was down $60, but I got a Howard Lederer DVD called Howard Lederer Tells All. The coolest thing about the DVD is seeing Linda from Poker Works in it! She is dealing in a few scenes.

BG and Bob had jumped on a limit table and were playing their last bit before they left for the airport and ended their Vegas holiday. -EV and E went for lunch and came back to play a little more. Derek and I sweated Grubby at the final table while I spoke some more with Edna. We discussed running tournaments and poker rooms as well as the poker boom. Grubby eventually busted out and we ate some of the kick ass cookies that Edna had brought in for all the poker players. The top 8 players got paid and Grubby took home $186. When I asked him how it felt to come in sixth place he said, "Aww it sucks!"

We chatted with Edna some more and she hooked up Grubby with a buffet comp. The buffet at the Aladdin is regarded as one of the best on the strip and we headed down stairs. Grubby graciously picked up the tab for Derek and myself (with his winnings!) and we chowed down. I felt like that scene from Animal House where Bluto is stuffing all the food in his face instead of on his plate. I walked over to the sushi station and pounded a few pieces and stacked up the empty plates on the side. I drew a few surprised looks from a tourist from Iowa but I had no shame. I was starving and stuffing my face with all you can eat sushi.

The deserts were heavenly. I had some sort of chocolate mousse cake and it was well worth the little space I saved in my weary stomach. It had been hard for me to eat chocolate mousse ever since a drunk friend of mine confided in me one night about a weird and freaky fetish that he had. He wanted Angelina Jolie to stomp through an entire Chocolate Mousse cake... barefoot... then slowly lick off all the food parts off her feet. Yeah, I couldn't eat mousse for almost two years. I'd rather shave my pubic hair with a cheese grater than stick Angelina's dirty feet in my mouth.

Sorry for going off on a tangent there. Anyway, Derek, Grubby, and I hung out for a long time at the Aladdin and later in our room talking about a ton of things. And that's when I realized I wished I could have spent that amount of quality of time with everyone.... a meal followed by a long conversation about life, about poker, about shared interests, and most importantly, about poker in our lives. I looked at the clock at it was late. It was our last night in Vegas and we still hand a lot of gambling left in us.

... To be continued.

Here's the timetable of the rest of my trip reports:

1.15 - Day 4, Part II: The Brawl revisited and Late Night with Otis
1.16 - 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
Chapter 6: Day 3, Part I
Chapter 7: Day 3, Part II

Derek finally posted some of his trip reports. Check those 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.

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