Monday, May 09, 2005

Vegas Trip Report Part 1

Saturday April 30th seemed like it simply dragged on and on. We were leaving for Vegas baby and that time seems to never get here quick enough. I was traveling with my brother and two sisters our Dad had no clue we were going to be there. We were surprising him for his 50th birthday. Mom had surprised him with the trip to Vegas to celebrate this milestone in his life and we thought it would be awesome to be there as well. After a clearance through Mom we made plans and couldn't wait for the day to arrive. It was finally here. Originally it was just my brother and I but it didn't take long for my sisters to join the fray. We had all gotten the same flight which was good. We were supposed to get into Vegas around 9:50pm Vegas time. I made reservations at the same hotel my parents were staying so we could all be at the same place.....Bally's. I had never stayed there before and am always up for trying out a new hotel. When making the reservations Saturday night was double what I could get Monday night for and quadruple the Sunday night rate. After some discussion with my brother we decided not to make a reservation for Saturday night and simply wing it. My brother works third shift so he's used to staying up all night anyway and I remembered countless times I've gone to Vegas, dropped my bags in the room that first night, and didn't see the room again until well into the next morning. It was also my brother's first time in Vegas which would make everything that much more heightened once we got there and he started exploring and checking things out. When my sisters were added to the mix several days later I told them about the plans and offered to reserve us a room for Saturday night as well now that there were four of us sharing the cost. After some discussion we left it as it was and decided to see what happened. So that's how we left it and now it was finally April 30th and we all gathered at my sister's house waiting for the car to pick us up for the airport. The car and flight were on time and we were off on our Vegas birthday surprise adventure.

Upon arrival we took a cab to Bally's and checked our bags with the bellman. Even though we had no room to check into I was walking abnormally fast due to my excitement of being back in Vegas. We took a quick look around the casino floor at Bally's and found the "Poker Room" to be nothing more than an area slightly seperated from the floor with a couple of velvet ropes and a podium with a small cahier window in the back. It was also in a noisier area of the casino which I didn't like. Since it was my brother's first time in Vegas and we had ALL NIGHT to kill we decided to walk around to some neighboring properties to take a look around. I loved the idea because I was looking forward to seeing the Bellagio's new remodeled poker room. I have to say I wasn't overly impressed with the Bellagio's new room. It is big and looks very nice. I'm not sure how many tables they have but I'd guess 27-30. The problem is everything looks crammed together. In the 5-10 minutes we railbirded I saw several people's chairs bumping into the chair of a person sitting at the table behind them. And the cocktail waitresses looked to really be battling these chairs to get from table to table to serve drinks. That's not a problem for Doyle and the rest as they have a nicely enclosed area with several tables. I could see Barry Greenstein playing what I guessed to be a mixed game and a new table was starting with Jennifer Harman in there as well. It was, after all, Saturday night around 11:15pm. I'm sure there were others in there I would have recognized but simply couldn't see. It definitely was packed and even though I planned on playing there I new I didn't want to wait on the wait list for that night......Even though I had ALL NIGHT.

We didn't stray too far before deciding to split up for awhile and do whatever we deemed appropriate. My brother and I headed straight to Bally's "Poker Room" and told the ladies that's where they will be able to find us. I was hoping to find a 4/8 game going but all they had was 2/4, 3/6, and 1/2 No Limit running. It was 12am and the 3/6 list was several people long while there was immediate seating at 2/4. My brother and I sat 2/4 immediately and were pumped to be playing live poker in Vegas. The session was uneventful for the most part. I lost the majority of my buy-in by 3am with the norm being 6-8 people seeing flops. I learned that I didn't like playing at Bally's on a weekend night with the live music just across the table game area in the bar. It was sooooo frickin loud you couldn't hear a thing. My brother lost a little but fared slightly better than I and it was then our sister's hunted us down and we did some more walking around.

We found ourselves at the Imperial Palace from 3:30 - 4:30 am. I love to play poker but also love to gamboooool it up with blackjack and especially CRAPS. I've payed for many a Vegas trip on Blackjack/Craps winnings..........don't get me wrong......I've lost my share as well.....But getting on the right craps table is an awesome feeling. My one sister loves to play craps as well and the other one is learning. My brother doesn't have a clue how to play and I really believe he is more confused after the trip and me trying to teach him than he was going into it. Maybe that says something about my teaching? Anyway.....$5 Craps at IP was brutal and I dropped $200 in that session which I didn't realize was going to be the norm for me this trip at the 'ol craps table.

5am Sunday morning I tried like hell to sweet talk a cute asian lady at Bally's to let us check in giving her the full sob story and making up a bunch of shit to make it really good. No luck.

6am Sunday morning we were eating breakfast at the Sidewalk Cafe picking out who had just gotten up for breakfast and who was STILL up for breakfast. It was obvious where we fell. At this point we were thouroughly exhausted. If I was by myself or with my brother only I probably would have been playing poker still but I felt bad that my sister's didn't have a room to go to if they wanted so we decided to go check out the Wynn.

7:20am Sunday morning we were at the Venetian and I lost $10 in a Jacks or Better 5 cent machine when I really just wanted to sit down. I lost another $10 in a 25 cent Double Diamond Deluxe slot machine but we had recouped enough energy to finish the walk to Wynn. I thought along the walk how I had stayed up all night so many times before without much thought or problem and why this time was so brutal. The differences: Little to no alcohol this time versus A LOT of alcohol the other times and having the OPTION of going to your room. There's something to be said for knowing you have a place you CAN go to versus knowing that you have no place to go for awhile.

7:45am Sunday morning we finally made it to the Wynn and it was.......In a word.....Nice. I wasn't overly impressed. Maybe it was the fact that I had been up all night and was exhausted but it simply felt like Bellagio to me. Of course, I guess it should in a way since it was Mr. Wynn who built both but I really thought he would seperate himself from that "feel" and go a totally different direction. In my opinion......He didn't. The poker room was very nice but smaller than I thought it would be. There was no seperation for Daniel's high limit area other than a small riser to a seperate table (or it could have been tables). There were only 4 tables going this time Sunday morning. A 4/8, 15/30, 1-2NL, and 2-5NL. There is no maximum buy-in for there no limit ring games which I thought was interesting and I think will fail miserably in the long run but they are trying it. They have a shuttle to the monorail from Wynn but it either wasn't running at all, wasn't running yet that morning, or we missed something somewhere because we couldn't figure it out so we caught a cab back to Bally's. The best $5.60 I spent yet up until that point. Once back we set-up a limo to pick up my parents at the airport that evening through VIP services.

Approximately 8:45am Sunday morning I visited my first pool EVER in all of my trips to Vegas. It was at Bally's and while the sign said POOL CLOSED........The door was open. My sister's and I each made our way to a lounge chair and slept until 10:30am. I'd wake up once in awhile and have the strange feeling like someone looted me while I slept.......tap my pocket to be sure everything was present and accounted for......Then fall back fast asleep. People gave us strange looks as they came to the pool in their suits......Us in our jeans with no shoes or socks and various non-pool wear tops. It didn't matter.......We were tired. I loved the pool for that hour and 45 minutes.

The next Part will find us getting a room, more poker in my new favorite Vegas poker room, and more.

Baz out