Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Searching for Fat Elvis

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Flipchip gave me a late Christmas present. It was a knife.

"Why did you give this to me three years ago when I moved into the Redneck Riviera?" I asked.

"I thought you already had one," said Flipchip.

"I could have used it then," I said.

"I think you need to stay in a new place this summer and call it the Hillbilly Hilton. That's what your readers want to read about - you living among the wasted masses and visiting strip clubs," he said.

"If I do, I'm gonna bring the knife."

* * * * *

Las Vegas is America's fattest city. Did you know that?

I'm sure the all you can eat buffets and slew of fast food chains all over town had a lot to do with it. Along with lack of parks, habitable weather for outdoor activities, and the most bars per capita than any other place on Earth.

And since I have impeccable timing, how fitting is it that I'm on a new diet in the middle of a trip to Las Vegas? I have been living off of egg white omelets, mineral water, and Cliff bars for the past week... aside from two or three normal meals. I have no idea if I lost any weight, but I feel a little better.

And I had no more than five or six drinks. For a week in Vegas, that's remarkable. Most of that was consumed this weekend. And they were healthy drinks... vodka and some sort of fruit juice. Definitely healthier than drinking eight beers in three hours.

The main reason I've been able to curtail my drinking and eating has been my lengthy writing sessions. I locked myself in my hotel room and fended off the maids who try to give me new towels every eight hours it seems. I turned off my cell phone and unplugged the clock in my room. I crank out two or three writing sessions a day. They last anywhere from three to six hours. Since Thursday, I wrote well over 50K words (and didn't write at all on Sunday). That's twice as much as I intended to write. I'm more than pleased that I had this opportunity to work everyday without any interruptions.

* * * * *

I have some qualms about lamenting over losing basketball bets. Its the equivalent of writing about bad beats, which I usually don't do. I get so many that I'd be writing up dozens of hands every night, so what's the point?

On Sunday, I liked Rhode Island, Denver, and Richmond and bet small. When the day was over, I went 1-2 and had slipped to 5-3-1. I went 1-1 in NBA games for the day and broke even.

On Monday, I mounted a comeback with the dogs. Winners included.... Villanova + 13 and Texas +5.5. I finally won an NBA bet! The Cavs line jumped at the last minute because they flew into Orlando on the morning of the game instead of the night before. They were getting +9.5 and I couldn't resist. They ended up winning outright by six, I think.

On Tuesday, the streak continued. It started with the Quakers at Penn beating Princeton by five. I had Penn -2. I also had Purdue -2 over Michigan State. Those two wins wiped out the weekend losses. I split my NBA games. Detroit won by 4 and the spread was -5. Fuckme.

I started a new handicapping system which I wanted to try out before the March Madness games. Looks like I'm doing better than average in college hoops and below average for the NBA.

I liked the notion of betting on games every day because I love the action. I crave the sweat equity, whether it's following along online or watching the game on ESPN in while pacing my hotel room or sitting in the sports book agonizing over the outcome.

* * * * *

Best friends of girlfriends/wives/spouses are a tricky thing for guys to deal with. There always a ton of pressure. It can be total heaven or utter hell. Lucky for me, Change100's best friend was cool and easy to get along with.

Bean is not much of the gambling type, so Change100 and her had set aside Sunday for a shopping spree. The problem was that Bean had blown her entire unemployment check on a "cute top at Barney's" to wear at LAX the night before.

Since she was broke and not much of a gambler, Bean was interested in seeing Red Rock Canyon. It's one of my favorite things un-Las Vegas things in Las Vegas and only costs $5 to get into the park and drive around the magnificent scenic loop. Bean wanted to touch the rocks because I told her that the rocks had healing powers.

On the way back to the Strip, we stopped off at Red Rock Casino. I popped into the sports book to check the score of the Mavs game,then met Change100 at the $10 Pai Gow tables. She had given Bean a quick tutorial.

When the session was over, Bean walked away as the only winner. She even got a straight flush. I wanted to die. I lost like $10, but couldn't believe the cards that she was getting unreal. It put me on Mega Pai Gow Tilt (MPGT). Ever since I swore of Pai Gow at the Excalibur, I played twice... at Mandalay Bay and at Red Rock.

On Sunday night, we were on a mission. Well, Bean was on a mission to find Elvis. The only place we could think of (besides Fremont Street) was the IP. Change100 had no desire to drive downtown. Instead, she drove up to the Mirage. We rescued Falstaff, who was playing Stud with guys twice his age, and drank at Revolution while a sultry chick/stripper/go-go dancer in a psychedelic dress shook her ass in front of us.

After a quick drink, the time had come to seek out Elvis. The Elvis Museum was closed and these days, andthe suits that own the casinos are imploding the old Las Vegas icons and wiping it off the face of the Earth. Las Vegas has been getting a face lift. Welcome to Hipster Vegas. That's why you don't see Elvis impersonators running rampant down the Strip. Instead, you get parties with Paris Hilton.

We wandered into the IP. I had not been back since I got fined for trashing my suite during a trip in December. Bean wanted to find Fat Elvis and didn't really like Skinny Elvis. We wondered if Elvis was working... and sure enough, Young Elvis was dealing blackjack. He didn't really look too much like Elvis at all and Bean was kinda disappointed.

Bean finds Elvis...

There was an open seat at Elvis' table and I told Change100 to play a few hands. That's when Bean shrieked and pointed at the table.

"OhmyGod! Is that an Asian woman with a mullet?" Bean asked.

"OhmyGod, it is!" said Change100.

* * * * *

On Sunday, I played 1/2 NL at Excalibur. I lost half of my stack with 10d-8d. I flopped trips against a guy with 9-8. We got it all in and he rivered a runner-runner straight.

I won a pot with 9-7o in the small blind. I flopped an open-ended straight draw and got there on the turn. I made a huge check-raise on the turn to chase any flush draws away. I got a guy to fold top-pair.

Anyway, after a long day of writing on Monday, I went to play poker. I won a quick $110 at Mandalay bay against a crazy Asian guy. I rivered an Ace-high flush and he had rivered a King-high flush.

Then I went to the Excalibur where I won $200 from a woman who I swear to God looked like Lindsay Lohan's mom. I flopped a set on fours and she couldn't get away from top pair.

I tried to sleep, but the people next to me were in the middle of a domestic dispute. The female was super drunk and the male was telling her to shut the fuck up. I left the room and walked over to MGM. I played 1/2 like a maniac. I three-bet almost every chance I had. I raised with junk. I built up a stack without having to show down.

Then I got my Queens cracked from a guy that, no joke, said that he was a parasitologist.

I was down to my last $60 and played a couple of hands blind. On the first hand, I raised and got two callers. I bet the Ace high flop and everyone folded. I looked at my cards... Qc-2c. On the second hand, I re-raised a limper and he called. The flop had two kings. He checked. I bet 1/2 the pot. He check-raised all in. I peeked at my cards. I had 6-3 and folded. On the last hand, I raised and got two callers. I moved all in on the flop Jack high flop and was called. I woke up to 8-8 and was up against A-Q. I busted when a Queen spiked on the river.

I was going to leave, but decided to stay when a very drunk guy sat down to my right. He said that he had been drinking all night... and looked like it. I could smell the booze on his breath from my seat. I was hoping to get his chips before he busted... and I didn't get a chance.

Instead, I doubled up with pocket nines and pissed off a kid wearing a Cubs hat. In a four-way pot, the flop was K-7-x, and action got checked around. The turn was a 9 and I made my set. I got it all in against J-10 and pocket sevens. The river was a blank and my hand held up. I nearly tripled up. The kid in the Cubs hat was a sore loser and bitched and moaned about the hand for ten straight minutes. A Middle Eastern guy told the kid to stop his whining.

"You played your hand bad. Stop complaining."

I didn't think he necessarily played the hand bad. If he bet the flop, I fold. He decided to slow play his set and got caught. That's one of the risks you take by slow playing a hand that's not the nuts.

I left MGM and walked back to the Castle. I was tempted to sit down at the Pai Gow tables, but managed to ignore that tantalizing vice.

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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