Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stick's Las Vegas Trip Report 6/24 - 7/1/10

Hmmm. It's been 15 days since I've been back, so let's see how much of this trip I can remember (or how much has come back to me).

6/24: Stayed at the Imperial Palace on the Strip (separate review post to come) and got to my room at about 2pm. Unpacked and set up my room for my 7-night stay. Left my room around 4pm and decided to scout the block of the strip I was on. Found the Caesar's Forum Shops mall right across the street. Way cool place, even though it just oozed "expensive". Spiral escalators, fountains & statues, and the ceiling in the main mall walk is painted like the evening sky. Way cool effect. Found an ATM from my bank there so I could avoid extra fees.

Walked around and found O'Shea's Irish Pub & Casino next to I.P. It is where my buds & I spent most of our time on the trip. Also found Sin City Brewing Company inside the Flamingo in their rear promenade. Excellent IPA! It's an offshoot of Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. from No. Cal. They have a G.B. in Vegas that brews for the 3 Sin Citys. I came back a few times and also stopped by the SCBC in the Miracle mall a few days later. Then I found a couple of cheap grub places that I'll reveal in an upcoming "Cheap Vegas Tips" post.

6/25: Woke up and hit the I.P. buffet for the 1st time. Not bad and a good price. Placed some sports bets at the IP sportsbook. Neat little place. Then did a bunch more walking around and remembered my camera this time. Took a bunch of pictures, but I'm not sure which ones I'll post here (if any). Found another mall called the Fashion Show mall. More like a regular mall but the have a huge space in the middle where they have fashion shows every few hours. I picked up a couple more cool t-shirt deals at a place called Hot Cats. Later, I met up with my first wave of buds (Damon & Snow) and had a quick bite together. Watched them play some poker, but I wasn't in the mood yet. Walked around some more and discovered the Miracle Mile Shops mall behind Planet Hollywood Resort. You actually walk in the door and have a choice of entering the Casino or the Mall. I took the Mall and saw its cool architecture and painted sky ceiling, like the Forum shops but a notch or 2 lower on the expense scale. Found a bitchin' DC Shoes Factory Store and scored a killer t-shirt for $6 (more scores later). Came back to O'Shea's and lost a small cash game buy-in.

6/26: Woke up and tried the Flamingo buffet. Nothing special and the IP buffet was just as good at half the price. Met some more cool peeps from Cardschat.com (Sean & Toby). I got a pretty neat 20-min. oxygen treatment at the oxygen bar at O'Shea's. You breathe in oxygen while being massaged a little. It's meant to give energy and even help hangovers. The best way for me to describe it is that I felt like I woke up from the best night of sleep I ever had. Then had dinner at the Venetian and played the 7pm $120 tourney. I placed something like 166th out of 220. Basically card dead. Then I walked down to M&M's World across from New York, New York and picked up some souvenirs for the family. The mile and a half walk back to the IP at midnight on a Saturday night was pretty interesting. Many, many drunk people. Funny drunk people. Rookies & pros. People helping each other walk. Quite a unique event to witness.

6/27: Woke up and hit my IP buffet again. Free this time since I got my 24-hr Harrah's buffet pass that was included with my room deal. Played some 1/2NL at the IP. Card dead again. Took the free Harrah's shuttle over to the Rio with Sean to see the WS*OP main tourney room, etc. Nothing special since we found out all the hotel hoopla doesn't start until the main event starts, but we did officially meet poker player/coach/author Dusty Schmidt. Cool guy. Hit the Rio buffet for free on my pass. It was really good and pretty huge. Food from 5 or 6 different countries to choose from. Then took the free shuttle over to Bally's and walked to Planet Hollywood to play some 1/2NL again. Bit the biggie. Had some aggro Euros who would call down my C-bets with 3rd pair, etc. No luck there. So I regrouped back at my room, had dinner, and walked over to Ellis Island Casino & Brewery to try their beer. Nice little locals joint. Their own brews in a 22-ounce glass are only $1.50!! A dollar fifty!! Holy cow! I had 3 Ambers and they were great ...and only a dollar fifty!!!! Then headed over to O'Shea's to play 1/2NL again. Found a good table at like 1:30am, but it broke up before I could make more than $12 profit. Oh well.

6/28: Got up & ate at my IP buffet for free for the last time since it was just within 24 hours of my pass. Then rode the bus with Sean & Toby to Fremont Street to catch the OFC warm-up tourney at teh Golden Nugget. I didn't play, but I met a bunch more cool Cardschat people (too numerous to mention). Walked around Fremont St. for a while. I noticed how different things are downtown than they are on the Strip. Many more "gimmicks". "Cheap" atmosphere, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There was a pretty cool AC/DC cover band playing on an open stage. I bought some souvenirs from Binion's and checked out their poker rooms, etc. Eventually took the bus back to IP with Sean and called at a semi-early night.

6/29: Main OFC day. I was hyped up for it. Can't remember much prior to the tourney except that I sweat more on the bus ride down to the Golden Nugget than I have in years since it was so hot that day. Luckily, Debi gave me a new Cardchat.com shirt during the tourney. Met even more cool Cardschat peeps. Played and busted out something like 43rd out of 125. Paid down to 13th and forum points to 30th, so I did just OK. I actually busted 2 other players and built a decent stack, then I lost a couple all-ins. I walked around Fremont again and had an nice IPA at Chicago Brewing Company to drown my sorrows in. We hung out until the bubble hit at 12:30 am. One of our CC ladies, Beth/RoundCat, took 2nd place for a big cash. She finished at 3:30 am. Congrats to her. But we left when they were down to 13th and the bus ride back to the IP was very interesting indeed.

6/30: My last full day of the trip. I decided I was gonna sample some more local alcohol and live it up some. Walked down to the Miracle Mile shops behind PH to have lunch with Toby & Sean. Then they went to play 1/2NL at the PH and I stayed in the mall. I hit the DC Shoes factory store again and found some more killer deals. $10 backpack, $5 kids shirt, and a cool Flexfit cap for me for $10. Amazing deals in my bag. Then I hit the Sin City there and had a couple IPA's. Barman has cousins who live in my area. LOL. Then I went back to PH and cashed in a 2-for-1 drink coupon I had. Still was $10. INTERESTING STORY ALERT: Then I played some craps and won a little. Then I played some 1/2NL and was winning. Then I realized my DC bag full of deals was gone. So I kinda went nuts. (I had my hat on my head, so I only paid $15 for the stuff in the bag. But a drunk doesn't think about that.) I looked under the craps table. Nope. I looked at the $10 drink bar. Nope. So I drunkenly filled out a missing item report at the PH security station. Then on a whim, I decided to go back to the bar and ask a bartender. Yep they had the bag AND a ticket for what was still in the video poker machine I was playing at the bar. I actually made money on it! So I cashed that ticket and gave the bartenders a $10 tip to share. Whew. END ALERT.

Then we cruised back into the mall and had some expensive drinks at a place called the "Stripper Bar". It really isn't a real stripper bar since it's in a mall. But it has a 2-story statue of a stripper in front and a couple of poles that clothed girls dance on. Tourist trap all the way. So then we walked around in the new Aria building in City Center. Very new and very nice. Has a mall, too. And of course, the casino, hotel, and convention rooms. I was drunk and decided to ask for directions from employees there in some weird accent. Just because drunks do that. LOL. Anyway. Then I saw a pub there and wanted a brew, so the guys left me there to go play more poker. The place was pretty awesome. It was the first time I paid $16 for a beer, but it was Chimay special and served in a goblet. It was pretty funny watching dressed up rich people try to play beer pong, too. lmao. I had another beer that I don't remember and topped it off with a $7 PBR. It was worth the experience, though. Then I got back to my room and called Sean. He was low on funds, so I told him I'd by him a few pops at Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet's bar at the Flamingo. We had some drinks and watched the middle age folks get hammered while dancing to a cover band, but we were too cool to dance. Then I stumbled back to O'Shea's and blew $100 at 1/2NL with a dumb drunken all-in move. Then I stumbled to bed.

7/1: Woke up nursing a hangover, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I think it should have been. Lucky me. Then I ate, packed, caught my shuttle to the airport, flew home, hugged my kid and waited for my wife to get home from work. THE END.

I think that's about all I can remember. Up next will be some unusual tips I learned while staying in Las Vegas for a week. Here's a teaser: The tap water sucks and the busses are nice.

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