After eight days in Vegas, I'm amazingly still alive and not broke. Over the last week I've seen a grown man eat crayons for money, watched a hooker flash her crotch to a table of limit hold'em players, marveled at an 80-year old man dropping the hammer, and spent an inordinate time in a place called the Tilted Kilt. I drink more booze most days than I do in a month in Los Angeles, though consequently, my weed bill has gone down. And though I quit smoking more than a year and a half ago, the palpable aroma of fresh Malboros burning in restaurants has made it that much more difficult to resist.
I have about 30 minutes before I have to leave the comfort of the media room to go home and change for the Bodog party tonight, so I'll spit out as many words as I can before I'm whisked away in Pauly's rental Honda.
Thursday night, I played poker at Green Valley Ranch, a swank locals' casino in Henderson near Grubby's (former) apartment. I'd eaten a number of meals there in the Grand Cafe since arriving in Vegas and I was dying to check out the action in the poker room. I got there around 8:30 and there was already a list 10 deep for $1-2 No Limit, so I took a seat at in the $4-8 with 1/2 kill game. It turned out to be a very wise choice. Full of tourists and conventioneers, half the table had no idea what they were doing. The guy on my left had to ask me if he could bet more than $4 on the flop.
I had a rough start when I saw a five-way limped flop with A2d from mid-late position. The flop came 8 T 5 with two diamonds and three of us capped the flop. The turn was a black T. The small blind bet, I called and the third guy called. A beautiful six of diamonds fell on the river, making my nut flush. The small blind bet, I raised, the third guy folded, and the small blind 3-bet. I just called, since the board was paired and I'm glad I did. He turned over 8T offsuit for the boat, thrust his hands into the air and yelled "Yeah, baby! That's what I'm talkin' about!" Tersely, I gave the asshole a "nice hand, sir" and maintained an ice-queen stare. I would get those chips back. Not necessarily from him, but this game was too good to sacrifice to tilt.
For the next two hours, I went on a tear. I hit top pair with AQ and it held up. I flopped a set of sevens and got maximum value out of the hand against two other players. AA held up in a three-way battle and a free flop from the small blind with 34o brought me a straight, paid off to the max by a confused conventioneer. I hardly said a word to the table as I raked in their chips.
After the confused conventioneer gave up upon emptying out his second rack, an 80 year old man named George took the seat on my left. He pulled out two players' club cards. One was for the "President." The other, the "Chairman of the Board."
"How can you be the President AND the Chairman of the Board?" I asked, sweetly.
"Been askin' myself the same darn question," he said. "You know I have over 4 million player points? I bet I can get my own funeral comped."
A couple of hands later, I picked up AA and flopped a set on an A Q X board with two hearts. I got checkraised on the flop by the Gavin Smith lookalike in the small blind and smooth-called. The turn was the 5s. Gavin bets at me again and I raise. Gavin calls. River is the queen of diamonds. Sweet sweet boat for me. And even sweeter, Gavin leads out. I raise him and he calls. His forehead hits the felt when I turn over my aces.
"Nice hand, darlin. You played that perfectly," George whispered as he pat my arm with his wrinkled hand. Gavin muttered to himself as his friend chided him for betting the river.
"Why bet out there when you missed your draw? You knew she was coming!"
I racked up my chips at the end of the orbit and cashed out +202. But not before I saw George drop the hammer, and beautifully. I pointed to my pin.
"That's the hammer! Well played."
"I always raise with 2-7" he smiled.
* * * * *
On Saturday, Wil was feeling a bit down after busting early from the $2000 NLHE event. Pauly and I found him drinking at the Hooker Bar with Otis and cursing at a video poker machine. An intervention was necessary. What's the best cure for the poker blues?
Wil, Otis, Spaceman, April, Pauly and I departed the Rio for the Gold Coast and in short order the six of us took over an entire table. While most of us bought in for a couple hundred and were making bets in the $10-25 range, Otis was pounding Greyhounds and pulling wads of hundreds from his pocket. He was almost instantly stuck over $1000. This is when he decided that the only way he'd get unstuck was to bet $800 a hand. He did this THREE SEPERATE TIMES. He pushed twice and (thank God) won once.
Otis' atrocious Pai Gow play earned the six of us a $90 food comp that we decided to spend in the Gold Coast's diner. Before we could open our menus, Pauly set two Keno crayons on Otis' placemat.
"$400 if you eat them both."
Pauly pulled four $100 bills out of his wallet and spread them out on the table.
"You're seriously going to pay me $400 if I eat two Keno crayons?"
"Totally. But no water."
Otis bit into the crayons with total drunken abandon. I wondered how many people had touched the crayons as swished the black waxy paste around his mouth. Pauly offered to let him out of it multiple times (for a price, of course) but Otis would have none of that.
The now-legendary video, can, be found here. It is the cure for all tilt. My sides ached for hours afterward I laughed so hard.
Alas, it is time for me to leave for Bodog's fete at TAO. If only I knew what I was going to wear.
More soon from the City of Sin.