Saturday, May 31, 2008

Some Time Off, Maybe?

Hey everybody--hope you're all having a good weekend. Aside from the fact that I have to work tonight--in the pit--I'm having a pretty good one too. I saw the roadmap for tonight before I left the casino last night--no $5 blackjack for Mikey. I'm back where I belong in Chinatown, where I can relax, watch the highlights on ESPN on the bar TVs, and flirt with all my favorite waitresses whenever they come by.

Not a bad gig for a Saturday night.

Last night wasn't too bad, either, although a couple of my readers were witnesses to my shame and saw me sitting at the Let It Ride table for two hours. But frequent commenter and Seahawks fan T-Rev made the trip out to my casino, and while I was just wandering through the pit I heard him yelling for me. He was camped out at a Pai Gow table, but I was assigned a bunch of carnival games last night, so he made his way over to Crazy4Poker where I administered the first of several beatings.

Yep, unfortunately, I only gave him a couple of decent hands for the entire evening. Mostly I was kicking everyone's asses. But he was a good sport about it and was playing with house money that he took from the Evil Empire the night before, so we still managed to have a few laughs and it made the night go by much faster. Besides being a good example for the rest of the players with his generous toking, brothaman also told me that he found a Jack Youngblood bobblehead doll for me and will ship it along as soon as I get settled into my new place.

Speaking of which, I'm heading over there in about an hour to chat with my new roommie to iron out all the details and set proper expectations. I'm not really doing a lease, like we had here at the apartment, so we're just gonna talk and make sure there are no surprises, and also work out the logistics of my move.

Now that I know where I'll be living, and the fact that it's an even nicer place, I'm looking forward to getting it all done and living there instead of here. The stress of not knowing, which ate at me for several weeks, is now gone, and although moving all my stuff is gonna suck, I'm sure I'll be happy at my new place. And it's a couple of miles closer to work, so I'll save a bit of gas money every week, plus I'll avoid that clusterf*ck of stoplights at Green Valley Ranch and The District that I can never seem to catch green, even when coming home in the middle of the night.

On the job front, I spoke to all the people in charge of my destiny last night. First of all, I met with the Casino Director (the big BIG boss) and asked her if she'd gotten my transfer request. She said that she had, but was waiting to give it her stamp of approval and forward it along until she talked to me. She wanted to make sure I was aware that yes, I was indeed going back to the Extra Board and would be losing all of my benefits and such. I told her it was worth it to me, personally, because the money was better and I was much happier in the poker room. So she said that's all she needed to hear and would get with the poker room manager right away and get the ball rolling.

And I also ran into the poker room manager back in the dining room again, and he said that as soon as he talks to the Director, he's planning on hiring me. No news there, same thing he told me the other day.

I also had a chat with my shift boss and told her that I was likely to be leaving very soon, but I was wondering if she'd be willing to let me take a bunch of my vacation time on days that I'm already scheduled to work over the course of the next week or so. See, a full-time pit dealer, like I am, for now, gets a full eight hour share of tokes for every day of vacation that they take. But in departments where you 'roll your own' tokes, like poker dealers and cocktail waitresses, whenever you go on vacation, you get nothing but your hourly wage.

And I just hit my anniversary date a couple of weeks ago, so payroll popped another two weeks worth of vacation into my account, and I don't want to lose all those 'toke days' when I go to the poker room. So tonight, my boss and I are going to try and work out a plan where I can get as many vacation days in before I officially transfer over to the poker room. So I may not even be working this Sunday or Monday night. And I've already got Thursday night off as a floater day (Courtney is coming to town).

But the problem is, I'm not sure when I'll actually be officially transferred to the poker room. And the poker room manager keeps telling me he wants me ASAP, although I *know* they're overstaffed this week. So who knows what's going to happen. My work life is in turmoil right now, but kind of in a good way. But it would be nice to have a few fully-paid days off to spend preparing and packing for the move. And I'd love to spend a day or two relaxing by the pool getting some sun, too.

So that's the news from here. I'm hoping that by the time most of you read this on Monday morning in your offices that I'll know a bit more.


Friday, May 30, 2008

The Return of the Mundane

I'm glad to see that everyone liked the poker story--for being such a grind, it was a pretty interesting day. And 33 comments (so far) is a new record. The old one, I think, was 29, when I wrote about the difficulties I was having with Kimmy a few weeks back and everyone was feeling sorry for me. But the way I see it, I can never have too many commentors. It means that what I'm writing is interesting to people other than just me.

But my weekend is over, and it's back to the same old same old. I wasn't sure where I'd be working when I got back to work last night--if I would be in the pit, or if I'd be in the poker room. Luckily I was in the pit, because I only have one poker dealing shirt, and I left it sitting on my bed when I took off for the casino. I was back on my favorite string of tables, two pai gows and the deuces wild game, and I started on table that hadn't even been opened yet, so it was a nice way to ease back in from my weekend.

Of course, once the table was opened and ready to go, I got the first overstuffed old lady waddling up telling me that it was such a darn shame that I had to sit there by myself and do nothing.

Yeah, it just really sucks sometimes...

My second table was *much* better--it was Deuces Wild, and a couple of my favorite players were there, my girl Kathy (from the Palms) being one of them. I told her of my adventurous weekend, and that I expected to see her down at Binion's but she said she didn't know about it or else she would've been at the tournament (I don't have her number, or else I would've called and told her). And the last time I saw her, I completely forgot about it. So she was a little bummed that she missed it, but was happy for me for doing so well.

Since we both have Wednesdays off, and have talked about going and playing poker together, she asked me if I'd want to go play in a tournament with her next Wednesday at Green Valley Ranch. Apparently, they have a pretty juicy HORSE tournament with just a $40 buy-in and all kinds of crazy action. So our plan is to meet up a couple of hours beforehand and play a little 4/8, and then play in the tournament together. And we've also talked about a 'last longer' side bet, but we haven't quite settled on the stakes just yet.

So that hour of dealing just cruised by--before I knew it, I was on break again.

My Pai Gow tables were fun--none of the usual fleas were in attendance, and I had some fun players. I had one chick laughing so much, that she kept putting me up for a dollar on the bonus, and I eventually dealt her a Royal Flush--$750 for her, $151 for me!


Around 11:00 pm, the Chinatown pit just went completely dead, so I did a whole lot of sitting and doing nothing. On the plus side, my gal Beth had escaped from the bowling alley and had taken over the cocktail waitressing duties in my section for the gal with the nasally voice and bad attitude who is usually there on Kimmy's day off. So because it was dead slow, she'd come over and visit with me for a few minutes at a time between rounds because neither one of us were doing a damn thing.

One of the gals who works the floor at that end of the pit noticed this a few times and finally came over to say something about it.

Damn Mikey, did you get a new girlfriend? What happened to the brunette?

My only response was to shrug and say Uh, I was tempted by the fruit of another...

I lasted until about 1:30 this morning, but finally gave up once they started closing all of my tables. If I were to stay, my only option was to deal $5 blackjack in the bar, which rates just below dental work with no anesthesia as far as things I want to do this week. So I took the early out when they offered it.

When I was leaving the pit, I saw Kathy sitting at a $25 blackjack game and asked her if she wanted to go play some poker with me as soon as I got changed, but she declined, say she had just come from two hours in there and had gotten crushed at the 4/8 table, yet was making it all back playing blackjack. Interesting...

So a few minutes later, I ambled over to the poker room, and bought in for a hundy at a the $4/$8 table. Unfortunately, I burned through $40 worth of blinds without ever seeing a pocket pair or a card with eyeballs, so I asked for a seat change. I ended up sitting next to gal who also happened to be a dealer at The Palms, and of course was also a friend of Kathy's. We hit it off immediately and yucked it up for a couple of hours. I started winning, but she wasn't doing so well, dumping a lot of chips to a couple of guys who were just sucking out with junk almost every hand. But she made a lot of loose calls and raises, so it wasn't completely unexpected. It might've had something to do with the Patron on the rocks she was sipping on all night, too.

There was also the biggest of our regular asshats sitting at our table on the other side of her, and he was getting all jealous that her and I were getting along so well, when he'd spent an hour hitting on her, coming up empty every time. So every time he'd say something completely stupid, which was pretty much every time he opened his mouth, I whispered something that would make her laugh and he'd get all paranoid that I was talking about him. Which I was, but still...

He'd already busted out of the no limit game earlier and was down to his last $100 in our game, and we had a lot of fun taking all of his money from him and sending him home broke. The other dealers told me that he's a complete loser and used to get thrown out every night. But they won't ban him because he's such a shiatty player that everyone wants him to stay at the table. They generally wait until he goes broke, and then they throw him out. But he left on his own this morning.

Of course, I stayed too long, but I was having a lot of fun. But the game got pretty loose when we got shorthanded around 4:00 this morning, and instead of leaving when I doubled up, I got involved in a pot with one of the suck-out fish at the table, and he called every raise, making his hand on the river. Instead of leaving with $200, I walked with only about $130, which kind of sucked, but like I said, after the Binion's tournament, it was all house money!

But my new friend--Amanda was her name--colored up, and I didn't want to play four-handed with two jackasses that never folded, so our game broke up and I came home.

I'm gonna go to bed at some point, but I had three cups of coffee when I was playing cards. There might've been a drop or two of Bailey's in the cup, but I'm not quite sure I remember correctly. The point is, I'm not quite tired yet, and the sun is up anyways, so I'm gonna try and make it until about ten am, and then just sleep all afternoon before going to work.

I'm also hoping that I hear some news about my job situation tonight. They were in a huge rush to hire somebody, but the poker room manager has been off the past two days, so I've heard nothing new. But I'd love to get out of the pit and into the poker room this weekend--I'm sure the money would be better.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Do You Feel Lucky?

I certainly do.

I've had a helluva week and it just seems to keep getting better. So far, I found out that I'm able to move into that house that I really liked, my career prospects have gone from kinda dull and predictable to new and exciting, in addition to being more lucrative, and I had one of the most amazing 'Vegas' experiences the other night while dealing in that high-roller poker game. It's just been one cool thing after another.

And who is the main beneficiary of all this good fortune? Well of course, it's YOU--my readers. When life is fun and exciting, I think it reflects in the quality of my writings, if not strictly the quantity. It's much easier to share the fun stuff than it is to try and make the normal-everyday stuff sound exciting. So I hope y'all are enjoying the ride as much as I am by sharing it with you.

So, where were we--yesterday was kind of a blur. Oh yeah, I got home late from the Silverton poker tournament, where I played really well but still didn't get into the money, but it was good for my confidence. I finally made my spaghetti sauce and did a bit of housework. I was up when Rob got home, but he was fairly exhausted and we didn't stay up and watch TV or talk sports or do much at all--he gave me a quick rundown of his night in the casino and he went off to bed.

I did the same, but I couldn't sleep. I don't know why I was so keyed up--I knew I needed my rest. But my email box kept ringing on my computer, so I knew that Mamasan was up back in Nashville, drinking her morning coffee and forwarding me the latest amusements that show up in her mailbox. So I called her up and we ended up chatting for almost an hour about not much at all, but it did serve to help put me to sleep. Heh.

I think I finally fell asleep at 6:30 in the morning, and had my alarm set for 10:30. Unfortunately, my phone was ringing a half hour before that--it was Mamasan calling me back with breathless excitement about her booze shopping at Frugal McDougal's that morning. Apparently, mama's got a stocked liquor cabinet now... But I was so far out of it that all I could do is grunt and say 'ok' for the balance of the brief conversation.

But I knew that alarm was about to ring, so I got up and turned it off, did another load of laundry, took a shower and shaved, and boiled up some pasta. The sauce was happily bubbling away in the crockpot, filling the house with a tasty aroma.

Lunch was quite good.

Since most of my chores were done, and I was still tired from lack of sleep and a big meal, I sat down in the magic sleepy-time chair and fell asleep watching ESPN. I guess I dozed for awhile, but I woke up again around noon to my phone ringing again, and it was Dougie, calling to make sure I was awake so that I didn't miss the poker tournament down at Binion's yesterday afternoon.

How did he know? Seriously, while I was sitting there half-passed out, I had almost convinced myself that I was dead money and I should save the hundred bucks and go back to bed.

But he would have none of that--I guess it's much more fun to live vicariously through someone if they're out doing interesting Vegas-style activities instead of just napping all afternoon. So, he motivated me to get up out of the chair and put my shoes on, and a few minutes later, my sleep-deprived carcass was driving down the freeway, heading downtown, wondering if I was doing the right thing.

I got to the casino about 45 minutes before the tournament started, paid my registration fee, and got my seat assignment. I saw that I was at Table #25, seat 7.

Not bad, I thought--there are at least 250 entrants, which was by far the largest live field I've ever played against. The buy-in was $110, so I figured that first prize would be around six grand. Again, not bad.

Since I had time to kill, I took some time to wander over and look at the Poker Hall of Fame pictures, and I even snapped a photo or two of the last final table for the World Series ever held at Binion's. If you click on them for full size, you can see some interesting autographs and colorful commentary.

Anyhow, just trying to read all the famous autographs was a great way to kill time until the cards were in the air.

By the way, the tournament in question is the kick-off event for the the Binion's Poker Classic, which competes indirectly with the World Series of Poker (which starts tomorrow down at the Rio). The first event has always traditionally been a Dealer's Tournament, but that's just what they call it--it's open to any casino employee, as long as they show a paystub or a casino ID card.

It turns out, there weren't actually 250+ players in the event. There were only 120, and not one of my friends who said they'd be there actually showed up, either. Still, it was a nice-sized field, and my only hope when they dealt for the button was to not be the first one busted out.

I shouldn't have worried though, my first hand of the tournament was pocket tens, and when I saw a guy make an obvious bluff to steal the first blinds, I came over the top of him, and he immediately abandoned those plans. As the dealer pushed the pot towards me, I raised my arms in triumph and announced in a loud voice Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new chip leader... which got a chuckle from the surrounding tables.

I realized fairly quickly that there were three other very good players at my table, and unfortunately, one was directly to my left. But I raked three or four quick pots, and earned myself a table reputation as an aggressive player. So for the first three rounds or so, whenever I raised, most cards went into the muck.

Unfortunately, that worked against me, too. At one point, when the blinds were 100/200, I got three monster hands in a row --pocket Aces, pocket Kings, and unbelievably, pocket Kings again. The first hand, I raised to $700. No action--everyone folded to me. The second hand, I dropped it a hundred bucks and raised the bet to only $600 to go. Still no action.

On the third hand in that series, when I miraculously saw the cowboys staring up at me again, I raised it to just $500 and asked if anyone wanted to dance. Nobody did. All those good cards and all I could pick up was $900 worth of blinds. Ugh.

The action dragged on all afternoon, and I kept texting Dougie once or twice an hour with the progress of the tournament.

Down to 100--I'm still in!

84 players, still alive.

F*cking Ace-rag. I swear it never wins!

They just broke another table

Halfway point. I KNEW I was better than half these jokers.

My only real trouble came when I called a short stack who went all-in. I thought he was holding junk like queen-jack or maybe even 8-9 suited, so I called with the same hand that got me knocked out the night before at the Silverton -- Ace-Ten suited. He actually had pocket Kings, and of course they held up, and he took a fair chunk of my stack, putting me below par for the first time all day.

Unfortunately, that's about the time I went absolutely card-dead and was playing short stack poker from behind for almost two hours. It was a rough go and I was surprised that I was able to outlast it and scratch out a few small wins.

The problem was, I was sitting at what would be the 'featured' table. Tables were getting broken right and left all around us, and new players would come in and sit with us, and then go broke awhile later. One hand later, a replacement would be found, and the cycle would repeat itself. But the four of us--me and those other three guys I started with whose skills were evident early on--kept chugging along. We took to calling ourselves the Table 25 Original Gangsters because at one point before the dinner break, damn near everyone else in the tournament had changed seats at least once, and none of us had moved all afternoon.

And believe me, it was tough playing with those guys. I had to be very careful not to get too loose, lest I found myself on the rail as a spectator.

Around 6 pm, they finally broke our table and sent us off in various directionss. Well, sorta. Two of those other guys and I ended up together at the same new table.

By then, we were down to about 40 players or so. The next objective was to not go out on the 'dinner bubble'. At 7:00 pm, there would be a 45 minute break, and everyone still left playing would get a voucher for a free catered dinner up in Benny's Bullpen on the second floor. Even though I was sill below par, I figured I could make it that far.

Unfortunately, at my new table, directly to my left, were two huge stacks, both of which were sitting in front of two of the biggest asshats I've ever had the sorry luck to share a poker table with. It didn't look good for me, and I figured I'd probably not even get a free meal for my troubles.

But these two, I soon realized, were just dumb lucky, and made some pretty iffy calls, and both of them were bleeding off chips at an astounding rate. I was content to just go in the tank and wait for a monster hand, hoping I wouldn't get blinded off.

It finally came when the blinds were $400/$800 with a $50 ante. I had pocket nines on the big blind, and three people limped in. I checked and hit my trips on the flop, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster was kind enough to put an Ace on the board at the same time. I went all-in, and sniffing blood in the water because they all thought their aces were good, they all called. A few minutes later I sent Dougie a text message saying that I had just quadrupled up.

Hell yeah--no dinner bubble for me! I was now in serious contention.

The last hand before dinner knocked a couple more people out, and when we took our break, we were down to 28 survivors. Prize money went to the top 12.

Dinner in the bullpen was surprisingly good--Caesar salad, breadsticks, pizza, and of course, spaghetti... I passed on that, but hit the pizza. I was absolutely shocked at how good it was. I even asked the guys bringing out the food if it was available there at the casino somewhere, but they said no, it was catered in from the Chicago Brewing Company.

The one at Four Queens?

No, they don't have the capacity I was told--our dinner came from the store out on Sahara and Ft. Apache.

Hmmm, I thought, I might have to make a trip out there--it was that good! And their beer? Well, I'm thinkin' I can talk Falcon Rob into a cross-town road trip one of these days.

Anyhow, dinner was excellent, except the asshat from my table followed me around the whole time and didn't shut up the entire break. It was awful--I couldn't escape him, either.

Luckily, when we got back from the dinner break, they moved him away from our table, and everyone was thankful, saying stuff like Thank God--that dude was the most annoying douchebag ever.

Before too long we were down to two tables, and with me having a big chip stack, I was able to bully a couple other people out and isolate the short-stacks, knocking a couple of them out whenever they went all-in. Just as I finished dragging a pot and knocking out a chick with my Ace-Queen (Yes!!!! It actually won!!!!), they made that magic announcement over the PA system.

Congratulations tournament players, we are now in the money!

My next text message to Dougie was a simple one.


It didn't seem like it was very long thereafter that we got down to eleven players and went hand-for-hand to determine the final ten players. I still had a monster stack, I was maybe fourth highest chip leader, so I wasn't worried. I knew I could fold my way to the final table if I had to.

It didn't take long before 11th place got knocked out, and once that happened, they moved us all to the 'featured' poker table--the one on the little stage with the guardrail around it. The first thing they did was give us all a commemorative card protector chip that said Binion's Poker Open 2008 Final Table. That was kind of cool.

Once we got to that final table, I honestly don't remember playing a single hand except for my very last one. We were down to seven players and the blinds were $2000/$4000, with a $400 ante. I was on the big blind, and looked down to see to pocket Kings smiling up at me.

A couple of people limped in, and the button went all-in. I closed my eyes and put my head down, like I was thinking about a call.

I want him to think I was pondering a call, but all I'm really thinking about is Vegas and the f*cking Mirage...

Actually, at that moment, I wasn't thinking of Rounders quotes--I was saying to myself I'm going to win this f*cking tournament. I'm about to become chip leader on a shorthanded table. I can *do* this!

I took about ten seconds to stare the other guy down, then calmly said, I'm all-in, also.

The other players hopped out of their seats in excitement, knowing that another showdown was another jump in prize money. Everyone, that is, except the guy on my left who had previously limped in.

He asked the dealer to count down both stacks. The guy on the button had just over $32,000. I had $43,800 left. The player on my left had us both covered.

He paused for a second and then said it-- I'm all in too.

We turned over our cards. I was pumped to see that the button had Ace-King, and the guy on my left had pocket Jacks. My Kings were good!

Well, they were good until a Jack came out on the flop. The guy on the button went out in 7th place, and I took sixth-place honors.

My share of the prize pool was $630. Not bad, but damn, I thought for a moment there that I was going to win it all. Not only was I playing well, but I got all my money in the pot when I had the best of it. Just pure dumb luck--that Jack on the flop--kept me from the prize.

I remember sitting at the dinner table, while trying to ignore the asshat who wouldn't quit talking, and thinking that at the time I would've been extremely satisfied with a top-30 finish. Yeah, I wanted to win, or at least get into the money, but this was a *real* tournament with 30 minute levels, where skill actually counts for something, not just 'push 'em and pray' because the blinds are about to go up, again, like so many other tournaments around town. I felt validated--like I wasn't wasting my time or just getting lucky whenever I do well at the poker table.

I can actually play this game. Maybe not well enough to earn a bracelet, and certainly not well enough to make a living at it, but now I know that I can hold my own against good players. Getting to the final table is a big deal in a tournament that size. And outlasting almost 120 players when there are no re-buys takes more talent than luck.

So even though I was quite disappointed at the time, I'm quite satisfied with the outcome now that I've had a few hours to think about it.

Mikey got mad skillz. And six hundred bucks. And a nifty new chip protector, too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

For Julie and the Other Mikey

I guess some folks think I'm some sort of Vegas expert, and I get questions all the time about what to do, where to go, and what to see while visiting Sin City.

I'm usually happy to oblige, but I got an email yesterday that had a whole butt-load of questions, so I'm gonna post them here and offer my opinions as to the answers. If y'all disagree or have anything to add, fire away in the comments section.

1) What is the best pizza without having to venture too far (cab fare) off the strip? Without getting too far off the strip, your best bet is Metro Pizza at the corner of Maryland Pkwy and Tropicana, or the outlet at Ellis Island. But if you want better pizza, spring for a rental car and go to either Grimaldi's on Eastern (best pizza in Vegas), south of 215, or NY Pizza & Pasta at the corner of Jones & Sahara.

2) Any great brew pubs - sports bars? Well, you're staying at Monte Carlo, and they used to have a good brew pub. I don't know if the restaurant is still open or what they've got going on in the space or even if it's still open or under construction. My two favorite brew pubs are downtown--the Chicago Brewing Company at Four Queens (and they have absolutely awesome rootbeer), or the Triple 7 Brewery at Main Street Station. And Triple 7 doubles as a sports bar, too. There is also a microbrewery at Ellis Island, but I don't like the way their beers taste. Never had a bad beer at Triple 7, though, and the monthly 'Brewmaster Specials' are great.

3) Hubby is a martini fan - any spots you recommend? My two favorite spots are the Petrossian Bar at Bellagio, or even better, the Parasol Up bar at the Wynn. The new favorite spot with the locals is the Blue Martini down in the Town Center Shops south of Mandalay Bay, near the 215.

4) Any good beer/drink prices in town? Man, I have no idea. When I'm 'doing the Strip', my beer is free. I don't know of any happy hour specials off the top of my head, because of my swing shift hours. Anyone else?

5) Where go I go for a great steak? Doesn't have to be fancy, just good! My faves--The Palm at Caesars in the Forum Shops. They have a great lunch special that'll save you a few bucks. Also, downtown, Binion's Ranch Steakhouse, on top of the hotel--great view, old school ambiance, good prices. If you wanna go spendy, try Craftsteak at MGM--one of the best meals I've ever had. A lot of people rave about the $5.95 steak special at Ellis Island, but I hate it. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The $7.77 steak special at Mr Lucky's in the Hard Rock is much better. But it's not on the menu, you have to ask for it.

6) Where should I take hubby for seafood (not my cup of tea) - King Crab & such? I'll let the readers handle this one. My only recommendation is Aquaknox at the Venetian, although most steakhouses sell King Crab legs.

7) Mexican food and margaritas - love them almost as much as beer and pizza - what do you recommend? On the strip, Isla at Treasure Island! Lots of folks like Border Grille at Mandalay Bay, but I don't like it nearly as much. Also, Garduno's at The Palms is a good spot.

8) Any night spots that aren't to trendy for a couple of almost forty year olds from Idaho? Gotta go with the old standby, Voodoo Lounge at the Rio. You can't beat the view, and the drinks are only nine bucks--a bargain compared to most 'ultra lounges'. And you won't have to wait in line with a bunch of poseurs. I haven't been to Tao at the Venetian, but it seems to be one that I would like, too. And I'm a forty year old... Ok, forty one...

9) Any good comedy clubs or acts we should see? I've only been to the Improv at Harrah's. Anyone else got any ideas?


Funny, I Don't *Feel* Stimulated

I hope you folks are able to read all these posts in chronological order, instead of top-to-bottom, and are enjoying the hour-by-hour adventures of my own personal Truman Show.

So, where did I leave off? Oh yeah, as soon as I hit the 'submit' button on that last post, it was off to the Silverton to play a little poker. But by then, I was pretty hungry. I arrived at the casino about fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time, and I know from past experience that the tournament never starts on time. Hell, when I walked up, the floorman was telling a player We'll probably get started about ten minutes after the hour...

I had some time, so I wandered over to their Mexican joint, Mi Casa Grill and Cantina, and took a seat at the bar. They stop serving food at ten p.m., so I got in just under the wire. I ordered a Captain & Coke, and looked at the menu. My plan was to just get an appetizer, snarf it down, and head back to the poker room without my stomach growling all through the tournament.

But there are no appetizers on the Mi Casa menu. So I ordered a steak fajita salad instead. Of course, one can't sit at a bar anywhere in Vegas and not slip a buck or two into the video poker machine, and I decided on taking a shot on winning at some sort of poker during my visit.

Wouldn't you know it, just about three hands into it, I got four queens, so dinner and the poker tournament was paid for. And they took my drink off the tab, too. Heh. Only in Vegas. A few minutes later, the biggest frickin' salad in captivity landed in front of me, and I think my reaction was something along the lines of Holy Shiat! I just wanted a small salad, not the bowl from the buffet line...

The bartender said that everyone reacts that way when they first see it. Anyhow, this salad was served in a huge deep-fried tortilla, secured to the plate with charro beans, filled with greens, grilled onions and peppers, black beans, and grilled skirt steak. It also came drizzled with just a touch of sour cream, and a side of nice spicy dressing.

It was excellent! But the clock was ticking and I was only able to finish about a third of it. When I looked at the bill, I was amazed that it only cost eleven bucks and change before tip! Definitely a good value, and I think I'm going to go down earlier next time so I can actually enjoy it.

But I got back to the tournament and got my seat just as they were drawing for the button. I was playing really well, but got crippled by a guy on a flush draw who ended up getting runner runner to make trips against my two pair Kings & Queens. I wasn't out, but I was bleeding. I was still playing as well as I have in a very long time, and even made it to the final table, but was short stacked. My only mistake was the last one of the night, when I called an all-in with Ace-Ten of hearts. But the blinds were $400-$800, I had only $1400 left, and I was two seats away from the big blind, so it was Go-time.

The other guy had pocket eights, and the flop came out Ten-Eight-Ten, making my trips but giving him the boat. I went out in ninth place. I feel like I'm playing well enough to get into today's tournament down at Binion's, but a couple of times these past two days or so, I almost talked myself out of it.

Since I only had time to finish about a third of my salad, by the time I came home, I was hungry again. I kept thinking that I *really* needed to make that spaghetti, because the Italian sausage would have to go back in the freezer, and the onions and peppers would go bad if I waited another week. (And if I do well in this tournament at Binion's, I won't be home for dinner--it's a big one that lasts about seven or eight hours). But I spaghetti wasn't going to help me right then anyways, so I made a quesadilla, watched a couple of episodes of Anthony Bourdain, and then dozed for about an hour.

When I woke up, I told myself that I have to get that spaghetti sauce made, so I hit the kitchen with full-on gusto at 2:30 this morning. I was chopping veggies, grilling meat, mixing spices and sauce, and generally making a huge mess. It was hot, but I was having fun. Oh, and the kitchen doesn't smell like bacon anymore. It now smells like sauteed garlic and onions. But the whole mess is finally in the slow-cooker, and I figure around 10:00 or so this morning, I'll cook up the pasta and have a nice lunch before I leave to go downtown.

I've since cleaned up the entire kitchen and ran the dishwasher, put that two-week-old load of whites in the washing machine, and even considered vacuuming before losing my motivation.

Once all those chores were done, I wandered down to the mailbox to see if my $600 'economic stimulus' check had arrived--I got my letter from the IRS on Saturday saying that it would be here this week. I figured that they'd deduct the balance of what I owe in back taxes, but that was less than $300, so I was looking forward to getting a little extra scratch from the gub-mint this month.

And there was a letter in the mailbox, unfortunately it wasn't one of those nifty brown envelopes that everyone knows is a check from Uncle Sugar. Nope, mine was a white legal-sized letter from the Department of the Treasury, saying that they applied my balance to the what I still owe to the Department of Education. I figured that might happen. So instead of four more years of student loan payments, I'm now down to three years and eleven months.

Woot. So much for stimulating the economy. Y'all can blame any recession on me--I'm just not doing my part.

On the bright side, I won't be getting any more mail from the IRS telling me to Pay Up, Bitch! They are now officially Off My Back. And once I finish off with the Dept. of Education in a few years, I'll finally stop feeling like Jody Foster in The Accused every month when I balance my checkbook.

Anyhow, I'm wide awake now, although I should probably try and get some sleep for a few hours. But that's impossible since both the washing machine and the world's loudest dishwasher are both running. And it just a few hours, I'll get to contend with the leaf blowers and the lawn mowers, too.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

About That Spaghetti...

Well, here it is almost 9:00 o'clock at night, and I never made that spaghetti I've been talking about for the past two days.

I was up early this morning puttering around, and after I had my breakfast and coffee, I left the house around 8:45 and headed back to the casino one more time. Luckily the in-house employment office was open, and it took me all of fifteen minutes to get my transfer paperwork submitted. While I was there, I was talking to a gal who was applying for a job as a cocktail waitress--just smoking hot with old-school pin-up girl looks. I hope she gets the job, because well, y'all know my thoughts about cocktail waitresses. Before all is said and done, I'll probably end up with a couple of them as ex-wives.

Once the paperwork was done, I had to go over to the HR office again and get a new ID badge--the bar code on my current one was scratched up, and I haven't been able to clock in or out since Thursday, adding another degree of difficulty for my bosses who have to keep track of my whereabouts as I've been bouncing back and forth between the pit and the poker room all week. But that didn't take long either.

I escaped the clutches of the casino and then headed over to the bank to deposit a good chunk of my earnings from the past week to cover all the checks I wrote this morning. I usually don't pay the bills until after the first of the month, but I'm not taking any chances until things get settled with my living arrangements and new job. So any money that lands in my pocket immediately goes out to the first creditor in line. After the bank visit, I stopped by Casual Male to pick up a couple of new t-shirts.

Due to my lack of being around and/or accomplishing anything these past two weeks, I've got laundry climbing the walls in my closet. The only load of laundry I've done since the last full moon or so has been loads of black clothes, so all of my light-colored shirts are dirty. And I was wearing this ratty-assed old polo that I've always hated, but it was the only thing on a hangar that was clean, didn't have holes in it, wasn't long-sleeved, and wasn't black. So I did a bit of shopping there at the men's store, and got out for around fifty bucks--and I had the clerk cut the tag off of one shirt and I put it on right there at the store.

Now, my original plan was to come home and start cooking, but it was barely 10:15 by that time. So I decided to head back down to dealers school and get some one-on-one time with the poker instructors. First of all, I wanted to let them know that after three years in Vegas, I finally seem to have secured a poker-dealing gig, but I really wanted to get a few hints from them on how to speed up my game and push an extra pot or two every down.

I ended up staying there for almost four hours, and got a lot of good practice in, and learned several tricks on how to shave a few seconds off of every hand. If it helps me push three or four extra pots an hour, that's just more money in my pocket. So it was well worth the time and frustration of driving all the way to the other end of town.

When I finally got home this afternoon, I was way more tired than hungry, so instead of cooking, I grabbed a book and headed for bed. I got maybe ten minutes of reading in before falling asleep until around 6:45.

I'm still not that hungry, but man, I'm kinda bored. I could 409 the kitchen (it still smells like bacon), or I could tackle the laundry monster. But I think I'm going to end up down at the Silverton after all. Here's the thing, there is a *huge* poker tournament at Binion's tomorrow--the kickoff event for the Binion's Poker Classic, which is the poor cousin of the World Series (which kicks off on Friday over at the Rio). Anyhow, the first event is the hundred-dollar Casino Dealers tournament, and pretty much all of my friends are going to be there.

I've talked about doing this tournament, or the one just like it at the Rio, ever since I got here, so I decided that no matter what, I'm gonna do it this year. But of course the self-doubt is creeping in, and I'm wondering if my hundred-dollar buy-in is just gonna be dead money. But I really want to play in this event. So I figure that the Silverton tournament tonight would not only get me out of the house and cure my boredom, but would also be a nice cheap tune-up.

So I think that's what I'm gonna do. The spaghetti can wait.


Kitchen Day

Well, I finally got a little bit of sleep last night. I actually wrote this morning's post around 11:00 pm, then set it to auto-post at midnight, but by then, I was already in bed, sleeping like a corpse with a clear conscience.

Of course, around four a.m. or so, I was wide awake, and craving a cup of coffee. Don't ask me why, because I haven't had coffee at all during this past stretch of self-abuse. I fought it for awhile, but finally gave in and got up. I sat down at the computer for a bit, then Falcon Rob came home from his night at the casino.

We stayed up to watch last night's episode of Jeopardy, and a bit of Mike & Mike before Rob called it a night. I think the last meal I'd had was the Breakfast Jack about 24 hours previously, so I decided to bang around in the kitchen. I finally got my coffee pot brewing, and cooked up some bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns. The hashbrowns turned out better-than-usual, probably because I cooked them in the same cast-iron skillet that I did the bacon in, after draining off the drippings. Oh, and I bogarted some of the minced onions from Rob's spice rack to sprinkle on top, so they were quite tasty.

Sidebar--Rob claims that he's never smoked weed, but brothaman listens to a whole lot of Pink Floyd and uses words like 'bogart' as a verb, so I'm not convinced. And I have no other explanation for his late-night munching sprees, either...

Anyhow, breakfast was excellent, and just what I needed--a good relaxing meal in a comfortable environment (*not* the employee dining room with all the noise and asinine conversation going on). In just a few minutes, I'm gonna go take a shower and get dressed, and get busy running all of the errands on my agenda.

I figure that once I get back home, I can get my spaghetti sauce started and let it simmer in the slow-cooker all afternoon while I take a nap. I almost forgot how much fun it was to be able to spend time in the kitchen--for the past two weeks it's been nothing but sandwiches because I've eaten most of my meals at work. So I'm really looking forward to eating my spaghetti and *not* hearing the Spanish-language tv in the background.


And On the Thirteenth Day...

Rest. Finally, my two-week-long neon adventure has come to an end.

These past 12 days have worn me out. I basically slept all day on Monday, then dragged my carcass back to the casino for another eight hours behind the green felt.

I saw that Let It Ride was one of my assigned tables for the evening, but I was hoping the poker room would call and rescue me like they did last Monday night. But a quick fly-by of the poker room showed me that they only had two tables going when I got to work. That wasn't a good sign.

After twelve straight days of work, and seeing that the poker room was dead now that the bad beat jackpot had hit, I was hoping to sign up for an anytime ASAP Early Out. I made enough last night to justify it. But no, when I went to sign in and such, and there was no early out sign up sheet.


So I shuffled off to my first table, Crazy 4 Poker, and got to enjoy about three minutes of peace and quiet, staring off into space, before the first person decided to come up and tell me how awful it must be to have to sit there and do nothing.

Yeah, you have no idea...

So as soon as I started making change and shuffling up the cards, a couple of other people showed up, and it was Game On once again. I switched over to autopilot and tried not to make too many mistakes. You've heard of sleepwalking? Well, I was sleepdealing. I think that if I would've gotten paid a dollar for every time I yawned in the past three days, I could already be retired and living like Hef with a bevy of half-naked cocktail waitresses at my beck and call.

And speaking of waitresses, of course Kimmy was in my section and gave me my standard greeting when I first saw her, which earned her a wink. But she took an early break and then Michelle came by and said hello, so while I was dealing the cards I gave her a wink and one of those silent 'air kisses' that we sometimes do from a distance. Then about ten minutes later, another one of the gals walked by and waved on her way to the sports book, so I gave her the head-bob and wink acknowledgment. And right after she got out of sight, Beth walked by and said Hey Mikey, Happy Friday!

One of the guys sitting on the end of the table had witnessed all of this and finally spoke up.

Dude, how did you get so popular with all the hot women in this place?

I responded with Well, I learned it on the Discovery Channel. If you can somehow work your way into the herd, it's much easier to eventually pick one off...

That got a laugh, which I needed to keep from falling over face first in my rack. Seriously, I was feeling pretty burnt out.

Eventually, Cheryl, the assistant shift manager came by to talk to me about reconciling all of my time sheets between the two departments, and I told her that she could put me down for an ASAP early out. She said she'd do what she could--maybe close a bar game early and send me home.

But my rotation ended, and I went on break. As soon as I got back to the dining room, who did I see sitting there eating dinner but the Greg, the poker room manager. The first thing he said to me was Hey, did you get your transfer paperwork done yet?

I reminded him that I couldn't because the employment office has been closed since Thursday and doesn't open again until Tuesday at 8:00 am because of the holiday weekend.

He then told me to make sure and come in and do it first thing in the morning because he *has* to hire somebody within the next two days and I'm at the top of his list. He also told me that he got no complaints at all about me from any of the regular players, and I even got a few good comments. Apparently, whenever a new dealer comes in, he gets a few days worth of complaints before they get all the kinks worked out, so he said he's really enjoyed having me work there this past week.

Basically, I got everything but the official job offer right there in the break room while I was sippin' my iced tea.

So I was in as good a mood as I possibly could've been in, knowing that my next table was the dreaded Let It Ride. Again, it was dead when I got there, but within five minutes of sitting down, another full table. Good lord, only the hot Asian dealers with the fake boobs can fire up a dead table faster than me. I don't know what it is, but there could be six dead games in Chinatown, and the first person to walk up and play will choose my table EVERY time... And nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, so as soon as one lemming sits down, the rest follow.

Suprisingly, it was a good table, and I dropped way more tokes than you'd ever expect, especially for a game that grinds people up as bad as Let It Ride does. But don't get me wrong, nobody was happier than me to finally go on break an hour later.

I thought I was going home then, because I saw the bar games were closed, but nobody said anything, so back to the break room I went. I sat in the 'quiet room' with my head back and feet up, and actually dozed off for a minute or two before somebody said something to wake me up.

Once I got back to the pit, one of the other bosses told me that I was going home, but to go see Cheryl first. I had to go over all my time for the week, and apparently, she'd already talked to the poker room manager and is anticipating losing me for good almost immediately. At some point this week I need to talk to the casino director to get my official 'release' from the pit, and also find out how they're going to handle my status--if I'm going to remain full time or go back to Extra Board, if I lose my benefits, how my vacation time is going to get paid, etc. I'm full-on prepared for the worst case scenario, so any consideration they give me will be a nice unexpected bonus.

But even so, making the jump from the poker room, is worth whatever I lose. The money is so much better, and I enjoy the work much more. And as laid-back as it is in our pit, it's even more casual in the poker room. It is *not* a stressful job.

Once I got all done with my business in the pit, I headed over to the poker room to say goodnight and just check in to see if they anticipated needing me again on Tuesday night. But they said that they plan on being pretty dead until Friday night, so I could relax and enjoy my weekend.

Oh hell yeah. Talk about sweet music to my ears.

So my plan for the day is to get some sleep, go to the bank and deposit all my cash, pay some bills, then head down to work again and make my transfer official. After that, I'm gonna come home, enjoy a martini or two, and cook a huge pot of homemade spaghetti sauce. Once dinner time rolls around, I'll cook up some pasta and bake a loaf of garlic bread, crack open a bottle of red wine, and make a silent toast to all the good fortune I've had as of late.

And I think I'll take the night off from the poker tournament at Silverton. As relaxing and enjoyable it is to play poker, a night or two away from the casino environment is probably just what I need.

Besides, if I polish off an entire bottle of red wine, who knows what kind of interesting stuff I'll be inspired to write.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Piece of Cake? How About the Whole Enchilada

Here it is, Monday morning, Memorial Day, sometime after four am. I am beat. My entire body aches. I am beyond fatigued. If I were a smoker, I'd probably be on my third pack of the day by now, because in my world, it's still kinda Sunday night.

And it's been one of those nights that just grinds you down. The interesting thing is, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

As miserable as it was to work on Saturday night, I'm glad I made it the entire shift. When I returned to the casino last night, I saw that we'd made $255 apiece in the pit. That's a pretty damn good night--I think it's the second best ever since I've been working at this particular casino. So that made me happy. And I saw on the roadmap that they changed my string of tables--oh, I was still sitting on my ass in Chinatown, but instead of four tables and doing hour-and-twenties, it was changed back down to our normal three-table rotation.

So I leisurely wandered my tired carcass over to the Deuces Wild table to begin my shift. It was dead when I got there, but as soon as I sat down, instant crowd.

Yay! Mikey's back! Oh we're so glad you could be here tonight!

Yep, everyone was thrilled that I was back home in Chinatown, and my table was full about thirty seconds after I sat down.

So there I was, just happy to be there, pitching the cards, crackin' jokes, droppin' a few tokes, basically back in my element. Of course Kimmy was working my section, which is always a nice thing, and when she came by my table and nobody ordered a drink, I stopped the game completely and said Ok gang, new rule at Mikey's table. If you're playing with me and Kimmy is the waitress, there is now a TWO DRINK MINIMUM!

She gave me a smile and a look that said Yeah, that's why I keep you hangin' on... and the game continued for a few minutes, while all the players ending up with drinks in front of them.

But then, one of the other gals--a dual-rate floor person in her dealer clothes--came up behind me and said Go see Cheryl immediately.


At that moment, I just *knew* I was gonna get sent to dice, because the gal that took me out deals all of the games except dice, and there was no other reason she would take over my games, unless it was for me to deal a game she didn't know how to.

Depression immediately struck me, full force. It was like the life just got sucked out of me. My shoulders sagged, the smile left my face, I knew I was in for a looooong and miserable night of sweating my ass off on a table that I just didn't want to go to.

But Cheryl, the assistant shift boss, was right there in the Chinatown pit, glasses down on the end of her nose, roadmap in hand, looking like she was there to bear the bad news. The first words out of her mouth were--

Go to the poker room immediately! Don't even change your shirt.


So I ran my chubby little tired ass over to the poker room, and asked the manager if I had time to change my shirt, and he said Yeah, if you can be back here in five minutes. So I got all this stuff movin' at full speed back to my locker, changed into a poker shirt, and headed back, all with a minute to spare.

The first thing he did was hand me a six racks of white chips and a set of keys, and told me to open up table number six. I noticed the line-up and saw that we had nine tables going with only two 'break' dealers, so everyone was either doing two hours or two and a half hours straight without a break, and I had to come in and open another table.

To say it was a busy night in the poker room would be a vast understatement. So busy that it got me out of the pit, but at first I was a little uneasy, because the guy who was toking us so hugely for the past two days was there on Blackjack #2, betting $300 a hand for the dealers, and a two thousand a hand for himself. As much as I wanted to go deal poker, I had mixed emotions about giving up a $250 night and a comfy chair after only one hour...

About the time I was tapping in to my third table of the night, the players at one of the no-limit games just started screaming and going ape-shit. In a good way, I mean. Somebody screamed JACKPOT HAND! and a cheer went up in the room. Some fanfare type of music came on over the P.A. system, and all the players were high-fiving each other. Apparently, over at Santa Fe Station, somebody with at least four sixes lost to somebody with a bigger hand (I heard later that it was two straight flushes in the same hand--somebody had the high one, somebody got the low one, while the three middle cards were on the board). Anyhow, the Bad Beat Jackpot was just under $250,000.

When somebody loses a monster hand like that, they get $45,000, the person who beat them gets $30,000, and everybody who is involved in a hand at that exact same time at every Station Casino in Vegas splits up the rest. It turns out that there were over 700 players at the time, so the players share was like $278 apiece. Not bad, but I was thinking it would be closer to $500. So every player at every poker table got $278. That put everybody in a good mood.

Once the jackpot hits, it takes about two hours to get everyone documented and paid, so it was business as usual after that. Eventually, the floormen came around with a bucket and a bunch of chip racks, each stack holding $278. The players all had a special chip that was distributed when the jackpot hit, so as soon as they turned in their chip, they got their $278 worth of casino checks. But while this was going on there's this huge not-very-subtle-at-all bucket in the middle of the table, for the dealers, and everyone threw their 'breakage' in there--basically the three bucks--as a toke. Some put in more, some put in less, a few stiffed us completely, but about an hour later I got my share, and it was $32. Not bad for just being there when the jackpot hit. Of course, I was still pocketing a buck or two--or more--after each pot I pushed, and I was on pace for a good evening after all, so I figured I was competing favorably with what I would've made in the pit, anyways.

But then, I went to one particular no-limit table, and the dam just burst. Sitting in seat one, was probably our biggest high-roller in the casino. When this guy comes to town, nobody in the pit leaves early, because if he's winning, he is hooking us up. The cocktail waitresses just *love* him, and of course so do the poker dealers because, well, they get to keep whatever he gives them.

Just as a for-instance with this guy, one time I was dealing dice to him, and I cracked a joke and he tipped me $200 for it. And for the whole night, he was 'buying' the 4 and the 10 for $500 each. Whenever a four or ten was rolled, the payoff is $975. So I cut out two pink $500 chips and told him to drop me a greenie, and he said No, cut it out, meaning, 'just pay me the $975 in the lower denomination chips'. So I did, and he said, Keep the greens for yourself! So that was a nice $75 tip. But he then said, Whenever it hits, you keep the greens every time, Mikey. So I dealt to this guy all night long, and whenever a four or ten hit, I was dropping $75 in the toke box. That's the kind of player he is. Of course everyone who lives on tips just *loves* this guy.

Anyhow, he was telling me that he made $38,000 on the dice table earlier in the day, and asked me if I got any part of that. I told him no, not if I'm working in the poker room. Then he asked me if I got anything extra for the jackpot hitting that night. Again, I told him just what people in here want to give whenever they got their payoff.

His exact words were F*CK THAT!


Out came a stack of red chips, a hundred bucks worth (and remember, this is in the middle of a poker hand, so I've got about a million things going on at the time). He said Here--put that in your pocket, it's yours!


I dropped that in my pocket so fast that half the people at the table had no idea what was going on.

Of course, it was a pretty big game, and he was pushing the action, so there were some HUGE pots being pushed around the table. And I was the beneficiary. Of course I was rooting for him to win, because whenever he took down any pot, no matter what the size, he toked me at least $15.

He was also having bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label brought in for the table. Normally, at our casino, the only Scotch you can get at the table is the shiatty Red Label. Even a single glass of Black Label requires a comp ticket issued by the pit or a host before a waitress can bring it. But this guy just tells the waitress, Hey, bring a bottle of Blue Label to the table with ten glasses, and they do it, no questions asked. (For those of you that don't know, a single bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue runs about $350 retail nowadays).

When I finally got off the table and went on break, I had over $200 in my pocket, so I figured I wasn't missing anything from the pit. And my hot streak continued when I got back to the dining room and saw Kimmy sitting there all by herself.

Mikey was having a good day.

Of course, with the good comes the bad, and the 4/8 game I tapped into after my break was one that everyone hated--full of whiners, and three good solid stiffs to go along with it. When I tapped the dealer out, he turned and whispered to me Have fun with these losers...

He was right--it was a shiatbag game, and I was very happy when I got tapped off the game a half hour later.

But then, it was back to the monster no-limit game where everyone was drunk on Scotch and throwing chips around like candy from a parade float. Our high-roller was still there, thank god, because I knew with him there I'd make a nice chunk of change. And he was still tossing me at least $15 a pot on every win. I also noticed three empty bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue on the cart next to his chair...

But there was one guy at the table who felt a little threatened by the alpha-male at the table, and wouldn't you know it, he was on seat ten, so I was right between them. They were snipping at each other every hand, and I had to tell 'em both to play nice a couple of times. Eventually, there was going to be a showdown.

Luckily, it came just a few minutes later. I dealt a hand, and the high roller raised the action to $20 to go. Four people called. The guy in seat ten went All-in, and then the high roller stood up and announced for the entire room to hear, I will crack those Aces, BITCH! I'm all-in!

It was all I could do to keep from laughing my ass off.

Everyone else folded, and there was a nice pile of chips in the middle of the table. They turned their cards up, and seat 10 had pocket Aces, while the high roller in seat one had an eight-ten of hearts. I ran out the flop, the turn, and the river, and I'll be damned if I didn't put three hearts on the board to make his flush.

Yep, the Aces got cracked, and the chirping started again.

I pushed the huge pile of chips over to the winner in seat one, and I couldn't believe what came out of his mouth next. He pushed all the chips back towards me and said, You keep it Mikey, I think I'm gonna go get some sleep.


There were so many chips that they wouldn't come close to fitting in my shirt pocket--I had to rat-hole a handful or two in my pants. Of course, the other guy was still chirping and the floor guy had to come over, so everyone was watching this drama unfold and nobody noticed me pocketing a monster pot.

The game slowed down a bit after that--the high roller was gone, and his whipping boy had left broke. I was only there for about ten more minutes, and I couldn't wait to go cash out. But I had at least one more down to do before the night was over (and they asked told me that I might need to stay and work overtime, too!).

Finally, a few minutes after three am, I got taken off the game, and they said I could go home.

The finally tally for the night? Almost $600. I left fifty bucks behind for the floor guys with instructions to rescue me from the pit tonight and then I came as close to skipping out of there as my tired ass would allow. I was starving, so I made a quick stop at Jack in the Box for breakfast sandie, then came on home. Of course I'm feeling like I was run over by a truck, but I'm just a little too keyed up for sleep right now, as you can imagine.

Oh, the last thing I did before I left was check the roadmap for tonight. They've got me scheduled on three carnival games that are usually the first to be closed and that everyone deals. It looks like they're planning on losing me to the poker room already.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Runaround Sue

Here's my story, sad but true...

Man, I had the Day From Hell on Friday afternoon, and it just never got much better, either.

By now, everyone and their cousin at the casino knows that I'm trying to transfer away from the Table Games department to the Poker Room. Not that I don't enjoy my job--usually I really do--but the poker room is just a much better fit for me. I even heard a second-hand compliment from one of my co-workers who is close friends with one of the poker dealers.

Apparently, my co-worker was asking his friend if he'd seen me dealing over in the poker room yet, and the poker dealer said "Oh yeah -- we were all amazed at how well he did!"


So on Thursday night (maybe it was Wednesday, hell, I don't know, all my days are starting to run together) when I saw that they'd posted positions in the poker room, I wanted to get the ball rolling right away and get the paperwork done. So during my break, I was on the internal website, and when I selected the job to apply for, it sent me to that stupid external JobFlash website. I tried to log onto that (I still have an account there from three years ago when I was a noob looking for a gig), but it wouldn't let me in no matter what I did. Going back to the internal website, it even said for internal candidates to submit transfer requests through our 'In House Corporate Recruiter'. Ok. So I went back to my boss to see if she had the paperwork for me to fill out and submit to Human Resources.

Nope, I was told to go see the manager of the poker room--he'd have the proper forms.

Ok, no problemo, except that he's off on Wednesdays and Thursdays--I had to come in on Friday.

So Friday afternoon rolls around, and I know the guy comes in at four and works till midnight. So I show up around 4:15, tell him that I want to submit the transfer paperwork, and he tells me that I have to go to the employment office over behind the sports book (completely different from Human Resources).

No problemo, so I shuffle off in that direction. But the door is locked and the sign on the window said that they're closed on Fridays. Great. And it's a holiday weekend, too. So I go back and tell the poker room manager that they're closed and to make sure that I have more than 72 hours to submit the paperwork (in the pit, when a new position opens up for internal candidates, you only have 72 hours to apply). He said it's no problem at all, but I should probably go over to the HR office before they close, because they'll also have the paperwork.

So off I go, clear to the other side of the property, and show up at the Human Resources office. I tell them of my plight, and the toadette at the front desk says to me "Well, you need to submit the paperwork from the internal website".

So I told her about how it only links to JobFlash and says internal candidates have to go through the recruiter.

Oh, well, just apply through JobFlash, it's the same thing...

I told her that she is mistaken and that she's giving out incorrect information (I know this because Falcon Rob jumped through these same ridiculous hoops a few months ago). Besides, I asked, how would an external website, that posts openings from almost every casino in Vegas, differentiate between me and some guy off the streets. (Besides, I'm not about to sit down and type out ten pages of employment and residential history for an internal transfer again, which I'd have to do using that site).

She had no answer for that except to say All positions have to go through JobFlash.

I just shook my head and muttered What the f*ck ever to myself and walked out. She was obviously no help at all.

So I went back to the poker room and told the manager of my adventures, and he said not to worry about it--just come in on Tuesday morning, go to the employment office, and get it done then--the position wasn't going anywhere over the holiday weekend.

So my Friday afternoon was wasted. Luckily, I figured something like that would happen, so I was prepared to spend all afternoon there and I was wearing my black casino clothes with a t-shirt. And since it was almost 5:00 pm by then, I didn't want to go back home for an hour and a half and then turn around and drive back.

I considered going to a movie, but it was opening weekend for Indiana Jones and the theatre was packed. What else was there to do?

Gimme a rack of white!

Yep, I sat down at a 4-8 game to kill the time before work. As soon as I got my chips, I noticed that my gal Kathy was there, but there wasn't an empty seat at her table. So I went over to talk to her for a minute, but they put me on another game. And for the two hours before I had to show up for work, no seats opened up on either game, so we were never able to sit together.

And wouldn't you know, the very last hand before I left to go to the pit, I got Ace-King suited, raised pre-flop, it got re-raised and capped, and I flopped two pair when the board showed Ace - King - Five, rainbow. I pushed the action all the way, when finally all but one jackass dropped out. The turn was a three, the river was a four. And this stupid out-of-position motherf*cker with a 6-7 offsuit had called about 12 raises and made a straight on the river, raking a huge $140+ pot. My pot.

Man, I was pissed. Instead of ending the session up about $100, I was down about forty.

I couldn't say anything but "Well done, sir. You can't argue with results..." and I got up and headed to the pit. I left it to the other players at the table who folded out to heap the scorn upon the guy. Which they did with much gusto.

Adding insult to injury, I found out that I was scheduled on a bunch of $5 blackjack games that night. And even worse, we were doing hour-and-twenty minute downs, which sucks worse than tofu bacon. The only bright spot was a few minutes later I was standing there on my empty five-dollar table, having just opened it and waiting to crush the dreams of the first loser to show up with a crumbled up twenty, and I heard that familiar voice with that 'mating call' of Hey Miiiiikeeeey coming up behind me. Yep, it was Kimmy, asking me why I was over in that pit instead of Chinatown.

I told her I was being punished for asking for a transfer. Then I asked her why she was over here with me. I dunno--I got assigned to this pit tonight. I'll chalk it up as a happy coincidence, which I doubled up on because our dinner breaks overlapped later that night, too.

So other than that, my night was just plain miserable. I hated being there with every fiber of my being. But I'm glad I didn't call off or take the immediate Early Out, like I considered. We made $238 per dealer that night in tokes.

And I think last night was even better, moneywise--I'll find out in just a couple of hours.

But Saturday night was just as awful for me--they put me on that same string of four shiatty blackjack tables over in the barely-used 'party pit'. Clearly, I could see that they were sending me a message. They knew it was my tenth straight day of work, and instead of letting me relax at the Pai Gow tables (like I've done every weekend for the past year or more), they put me on those crappy blackjack tables that everyone hates where you get worked to death because nobody ever leaves.

So about halfway through the shift, I got off my game and I saw the shift boss, so I asked her for a moment of her time. I reminded her of my not having any days off for pretty much the summer of 2008, and I'd really appreciate it if maybe tomorrow I could get off my feet for an hour or so and maybe get rotated into a pai gow game. Hell, I'd even be willing to deal Let It Ride--and you KNOW I hate that shiat... I'm just beat and the money is too good this weekend to take early out...

She just kind of grinned and said that she'd see what she could do.

Later on, once they started closing tables, the assistant shift manager came over to my table and said that I was going on the next break, and when I come back, Follow Scottie on... BJ.... (pause, waiting for a table number)

So before she could finish her sentence, I jumped in with Pai Gow what?

Pai Gow what?

Did you say for me to go to Pai Gow?

She finally gave up and said, Well, I don't have an open string in Chinatown yet, I'm still getting rid of all my six o'clockers. Come see me when you get back from break.

Of course, when I got back she sent me to BJ 9, one of the tables I hate--the double deck SuperFun game. Walking away, I called back to her Hey, you're not gonna have Mikey to kick around much longer! which got a laugh.

That's where I ended my night. When I finally was able to go and sign out, I saw the roadmap for Sunday night. I was back 'home'. Instead of just one sit-down game for the night, I've got two Pai Gow tables, Deuces Wild, and a three-card poker game. I'm still doing one-twenties, but at least I'll be sitting on my ass in Chinatown for the entire evening. So tonight should be a piece of cake.


A New-Found Favorite

It's amazing the wonderful 'accidental' discoveries you sometimes stumble upon, and when it's truly new-to-you, it makes it even more of a pleasant surprise.

Let me explain.

Late on Thursday night, I came shuffling home from the casino, exhausted as I have been these last several days. Falcon Rob was chillin' in the living room watching a live David Gilmour concert DVD. Now, I'm not much of a Pink Floyd fan, but I do appreciate good music, so I sat down to join him. He had watched most of the DVD, so we basically hit the highlights for an hour or so. But when we got to the song 'Fat Old Sun', I was awestruck.

That song was written almost 40 years ago, and I'd never heard it until two nights ago. It was amazing. I don't know why, but all I could say was "Wow--that is GOOD music!" I think it's another example of exactly what defines 'art' for me. If I see or hear something that just stops me in my tracks and makes me wish that I was able to do the same thing--be it good music, painting, drawing, sculpture, writing, etc.--that's what I consider to be Fine Art. If it doesn't 'speak' to me, than it's just a pleasant diversion. But for some reason, this song just blew me away, and with my background as a guitarist, I can appreciate watching a virtuoso in action--somebody doing something that I know to be so incredibly hard to do, yet making it look so simple. And the fact that he get a sound like that out of an old Telecaster is pretty cool too. In some musician circles, it has a reputation for only being a 'country' guitar.

As good as the song is in it's entirety, it's that finishing guitar solo that got me, and it is right up there in the Pantheon of great guitar solos. It's the kind of music that will inspire somebody to be a musician if they find it when they're young enough.

Without further adieu, here is 'Fat Old Sun' by David Gilmour:



Saturday, May 24, 2008

Still Chuggin' Along

Hey gang.

I'm about to embark on my tenth straight day of work, and as you can imagine, it is very tiring. Even though I got a good eight hours of sleep today, the casino environment is very fatiguing in and of itself--it's loud, bright, sometimes smoky, and the work can really drain you. I'm on my feet all night, not only standing at the tables, but walking back and forth every hour from the dining room. And my casino is *huge*, so even going from my locker to my truck at the end of my shift requires another substantial hike--it all adds up to make me tired. And not getting any time away to recharge the batteries just compounds the low-level fatigue.

As much as I 'need' the money this month, I'm almost to the point where I'd happily pay $200 out of my own pocket for 48 hours away from the place. I'm feeling a little burnt-out. And having gotten a taste of the poker room this week, just the thought of dealing blackjack all night is depressing, indeed.

Oh, and since I'm scheduled to work all weekend, my next day off isn't until Tuesday--but guess what? The in-house recruitment center is closed on Fridays, and Monday is a holiday, so I can't go submit my transfer paperwork until Tuesday morning. So even on my day off, I have to go back down there. But it gets better--the poker room still wants me to work for them whenever I can get away from the pit, so honestly, I have no idea when my next day off is going to be. I may be working for a month straight without any time off.

I had a nice big juicy rant-post about my activities from yesterday rolling around in my head this morning when I got home but I was just too damn tired to sit down at the computer. I took a shower, and collapsed into bed, where I stayed basically all day, waking up only because my phone was ringing around noon. But maybe I'll type it up tomorrow--Friday was a very long day for me, and I don't know how long I'm gonna make it tonight.

On the home search front, I got some good news yesterday. I got a message from Gavin, my soon-to-be new roommate, and it looks like I will be moving into that house I liked so much that is just down the road off of Horizon Ridge. You know, the Ultimate Male Retreat house with the balcony, pimped out backyard, and game room. We're gonna get together at some point this week and iron out all the particulars before I start herding all of my shiat in that direction.

But now I've got to come up with $1100 to move in. I guess there's a reason I'm working every day this month... But any spare change y'all can donate would be appreciated, so if you have an extra buck or two, just go ahead and hit that Amazon tip jar over there on the right.

Once I get moved in, I'll post a few pictures--it's pretty cool. And I'm gonna recruit Lars and his digital SLR to help me take a few pics from the balcony. You will not believe the cool view of Vegas I have from this place.

Unfortunately, the only view I'm gonna have for the foreseeable future is the inside of the casino. It's getting late in the afternoon and it's almost time for me to go get dressed like the man in black and endure another night of ultimate suffering.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Eight Days A Week

So there I was at work last night, bitching that I was tired and that I wanted to go home since it was my eighth straight day in the casino... Of course my boss was quite unsympathetic--

Well, it's your own fault!

Now that you've made your money for the week, I know you just want to go out and spend it...

Well, she was right about that second one. I made more take-home pay in three six-hour shifts in the poker room than I usually make in four eight-hour shifts in the pit. But I certainly don't want to go out and spend it--I'm holding onto it like it's blood.

Anyhow, I was quite pissy and tired, being forced to go back to the pit, when I'd rather deal poker, or short of that, have the night off completely. Nope, I got option number three, aka, the shiat sandwich--working in the pit all night.

So, all of my fellow dealers where like Dude--are you with us or with them? What's the deal? How come you're dealing blackjack tonight?

Because The MAN is keepin' me down!

Yep, I was told that 1) No, I couldn't have the night off, no matter how many days in a row I've already worked, and 2) We're too busy in the pit to let you go to the poker room (who by the way told me they wanted me again last night).

So when I saw them not opening a couple of Pai Gow tables, and found myself standing on a dead game at 9:00 pm, I was rather unhappy. Too busy, my ass. It was dead in the casino last night. Well, relatively dead--just not nearly as busy as I thought it should be. And I'd put myself on the Early Out list, with the notation ASAP next to my name. Seriously--I was beat. I was so tired--and I was on a shiatty string of games too--that $5 flea gow game, the $10 double-deck SuperFun game, and a shoe. The problem was that the five dollar flea gow game is a grind, and on the blackjack games, I only had one player at a time, which just *kills* you because you can't move--you're stuck in one spot the entire hour, hunched over, dealing at full speed. It really takes it out of you. And then once I wiped out my players, I stood there doing nothing, which was ok, but then again, that makes you more fatigued to just stand there not moving at all. So last night at work was especially tough.

Finally, around 10:30, while standing on a dead game and seeing SIX other dead games in the pit, one of the floor people came by and asked me how long I'd been in, and I said that I was due for break at the next push, ten minutes hence. She said that once I get tapped out, I could go home.


As soon as I'd signed out and changed and stuff, I gimped my tired ass over to the poker room to play a little bit of $4/8 Hold-em. I figured my gal Kathy (from the Palms) would be there because she usually always plays on Thursday nights, but she was nowhere to be found. Regardless, that Bad Beat jackpot is worth $45,000 to the winner, and it's gonna hit soon, so I figured I might as well take a shot at it.

Anyhow, as soon as I walked up to the desk, they asked me where my dealers shirt was--We've got a table with your name on it!

For a second, I was like.... Are you serious? But they just laughed and said they needed me earlier but the crisis had passed. Of course we were so busy in the pit that I managed to get out four hours early. Hmmm...

The second thing they asked me was if I'd gotten my transfer paperwork completed yet. But I told them I had to do it on Friday, once Greg the poker room manager came in. So that's on my list of errands to run this afternoon. But once the work-chatter was done, I bought a rack of white and sat down at a $4/8 game.

Now, this 4/8 game is unlike any I've played before, except maybe at Mandalay Bay several years ago. The blinds are $1 and $2, and it's $2 to call, but you gotta make it $6 if you want to raise (increments of $4). After the flop, it's $4 to bet and raise, and after the turn and river, it's $8. But then, the game has a half-kill, so once a player wins two pots in a row, they have to post $3, and then it's $3 to see a flop, and the betting levels are $6 and $12. It's a pretty fun game, and not nearly as many suckouts as there are on a regular 3/6 game with no Kill.

Oh, and it's fairly easy to deal, too.

Anyhow, I realized very soon that besides myself, there were two other 'good' players at the table, both of them, unfortunately, immediately to my left, so I was always playing my raises out of position, but everyone else was just plain awful poker players. Mostly very easy-to-read calling stations.

So I liked my chances. And I played one hand just perfectly--too long of a story to type it all up here, but the gal I beat wouldn't quit complimenting me on how badly I outplayed her on the hand and how she just *knew* she had me beaten (but actually, I had her all the way). She just sat there shaking her head for about two or three minutes and kept saying, Man, you really got me on that one...

Why didn't you bet or raise on the turn?

-If I would've bet out would you have raised?


-And if I check-raised you on the turn what would you have done?


-Then I got two extra bets out of you after that. But check-calling on the turn and check-raising on the river earned me another $16 out of your stack. You were in love with your hand and committed to the pot by then.

Damn. You're right.

-Yeah, I read it in a book somewhere... Heh.

But she was friendly about it and didn't go on tilt or anything, and since she was sitting right next to me, we had a pleasant and enjoyable poker conversation for almost an hour while taking turns raking pots.

I was doing *really* well, only making one bad lay-down, and I won every showdown except for one, when a guy made trips on the river. But then the game broke up after about an hour and a half and I decided to call it a night. I had managed to turn my hundred-dollar buy-in into just under two hundred, so I'd call it a successful night. (Besides, I had to make up for the four hours in tokes I lost by taking early out, somehow. I figured the poker room offered me the best chance).

As I was leaving, I sent a text message to my gal Michelle, asking if she was still at the bar (she got off at 11, but usually hangs out for awhile afterwards). But no, she wasn't there, she'd already gone home for the night.


Oh well. I figured I should use some of my poker winnings on responsible stuff like a tank of gas and some groceries, so instead of going out drinking and chasing the mini-skirt, I stopped at the Sinclair station and WalMart.

When I got home, I found Rob sitting in the magic sleepy-time chair in the living room watching a Roger Waters concert DVD, so I stayed up to watch. And then we knocked out the remaining six or seven episodes of Jeopardy off of the DVR list. Oh, and this current champion? She's gonna give Ken Jennings a run for his money--she knows every question about Shakespeare, Opera, Poetry, Labor Unions, and all that other shiat nobody cares about. (And Rob and I decided that we're going to bother the executive producers of Jeopardy until they give us an entire week without any Shakespeare questions. Jesus H. Christ at the Renaissance Faire--enough f*cking Shakespeare already!)

So that's what I've been doing all night. Sleep is on the agenda for today, then later this afternoon its off to do the paperwork required to get my ass into the poker room permanently. And I'm hoping that tonight I get to relax for eight hours, dealing Pai Gow back in Chinatown where I belong. Enough of this blackjack shiat.

That's all for now.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


Howdy all...

I want to thank everyone for the words of encouragement regarding my potential job change. I appreciate all the good thoughts, but there is something sticking in my craw that I just have to address. I don't know if it's a problem of semantics, or if people just don't know how else to express themselves, but coming to Vegas and working in a casino, in any capacity, is not my dream--by any stretch of the imagination. It never has been.

I'll say it again. It's just a means to an end.

When the company I worked for back in Tennessee got bought out, I got a relatively generous severance package, and plenty of time to plot my next move. At the time, the way I saw it, I had five options. I could've stayed with the company, worked a boring job, and have to do it in Memphis. Ugh. Or same scenario, I could've moved to Little Rock. Double ugh. I could've stayed in Nashville and tried to find a similar position. My initial job search when I first moved there told me that probably wasn't an option. And the bottom line was, I just really didn't like living in Nashville all that much. I could've moved back to Phoenix and returned to working at Schwab, but after my first go-round (and subsequent discussions with them), I just wasn't feeling it. That left the fifth option of moving to Vegas and trying my hand in the casino business.

You all know how that turned out--I feel like I made the right decision, and it seems to have worked out for me so far. I'm relatively satisfied. But it is far from being a dream of mine to live and work in Vegas, although I'm getting the feeling that it's the dream of a lot of my readers.

You wanna know what my real dream job is?

I would love to own a little chunk of a beach bar down in the Caribbean that specializes in rum drinks and Cuban cigars, where you can catch a siesta in a rope hammock under the shade of a palm tree or sit on the sand and gaze out at the clear blue water, where people gather to grill their dinner and socialize around a campfire when the sun goes down. And maybe there is a poker table in the back room for an occasional impromptu low-stakes game among my friends... That, my friends, is my dream job--spending my days running a place like that.

What nobody knows, yet, is that the wheels are turning in that direction. It's still a ways off, but it's not as far away as you would think. I'm not gonna be in Vegas forever.

In fact, when Hurricane Mikey's Beach Bar (Casino & Brothel) finally becomes a reality, I may eventually say goodbye to Vegas and never come back.


I'm Ready For The Shuffle, Ready For The Deal

--I'm ready to let go of the steerin' wheel...

I'm back at the Man Cave, having survived another pretty good evening in the poker room. There was a new crew of bosses there tonight, none of which I'd met before, but they all seemed to like me a lot. And yeah, I overtipped their chip bucket every time I cashed out, too, just so they knew how much I liked it there--But again, they were very helpful to me and very accommodating whenever I had questions about procedures or whatnot, so I was happy to do it.

And even though I've only worked six hours per night each night this week, my money has been very good--way better than I would've made in the pit. But the party ended last night at 1:00 am--I have to go back to the pit tonight and deal Pai Gow and/or blackjack.

On my first break from the poker room, I went to talk to my boss (the assistant who sent me over to the poker room in the first place back on Monday night), but then she took me to go see the HNIC Shift Boss. The three of us sat down to discuss my situation, and tonight, they can't spare me--apparently they fired three dealers last night, all three of which I am not the least bit saddened to see go. They were all costing us money. So the pit is shorthanded for the weekend, and I have to go back and do my 'official' job. However, I was told that if the poker room needed me, and if the pit wasn't as busy as they predict, then I can go back over there. But I'm not holding my breath--this is a holiday weekend. I'm sure we'll be slammed.

However, by the time I got back to the break room, they had posted three openings for poker dealers on the internal website. So I tried to figure out how to do the transfer paperwork, but I have to go to H.R. during office hours to do it. And I think I have to have the poker room manager and my boss both approve it.

I really like my chances, but here is the thing--I'd have to go back to the Extra Board. I'd lose all my benefits, and I couldn't work more than 32 hours a week. And there are a couple of dealers in the poker room who have been on extra board for over two years.

As much as I'd love to do it, this opportunity truly couldn't have come at a worse time. I've got to come up with moving expenses at the end of next month, and while my initial comparison of numbers says that I'll be making just as much in the poker room part time as working in the pit full time, well, there's always a chance of a slowdown and I'll be starving. It wasn't so bad when I didn't have a truck payment, and like I mentioned earlier, my student loan payments would go down (all I'd have to do was show my new paystubs), but I just know there will be difficult months ahead. More likely sooner than later.

But dealing poker is what I want to do, and if I want to be happy (happier) with my chosen profession, I guess that sacrifices will have to be made.

The extra-board poker dealers all tell me that they're getting four nights a week, and they seem to be keeping them around for at least six hours--and it's fairly easy to make $150 or more in tokes in six hours on weeknights--even better on weekends. So it's very doable. But with change come uncertainty, and with uncertainty comes stress. And lord knows I've got enough stress in my life right now.

But you know what? I'm gonna do it. It's what I wanna do. I've always said that my biggest regret since coming to Vegas was listening to all those idiots at dealer school that said I should learn to deal dice first because You'll always have a job in Vegas... Well, had I done poker first, I would more than likely have been part of the first group of guys they hired at the MGM poker room when it opened in late spring of 2005, and I would be living LARGE right now. I've always kicked myself for missing that opportunity. It was right there in front of me and I let it pass me by. Never again will I let that happen.

So today, my eighth day of work in a row, I've got to go down to the human resources department during the day and do paperwork. Then go back in again later for work. The odds of Mikey making it the entire eight-hour shift? Not very high at all, I'm afraid. I've got that tired ache behind my eyes, and once those games in Chinatown go dead, I'll be yawning and head-bobbing and begging to get sent home. Although, I guess I could get some sleep at some point between now and then. But here's the rub--I've already worked nineteen hours this week. In the timeclock-punching world, that leaves me just 21 more hours of work available until I hit overtime during this pay period. And I'm scheduled for 32 more hours. Something's gotta give. And I don't want do give up any time on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, because we should make decent money. So yeah, as soon as my tables go dead tonight, my ass is heading for the door. Besides--and I can't discount this point at all--Kimmy is off tonight, meaning that the crotchety old waitress with the shrill voice who talks out of her nose will be working in my section all night. Ugh. No Kimmy, no Michelle, and Beth is in the bowling alley all shift. None of my favorite ladies will be around the next two nights, so life in the pit is gonna suck a little more than usual.

But who knows? Maybe I'll just play dumb and stick around and let the bosses figure out the hard way on Sunday night that I'm working overtime.


Speaking of Kimmy, I was fortunate enough that both of our 'long' breaks overlapped and we were able to spend about a half hour chillin' together, alone, back in the 'quiet' room. (We actually have two dining rooms connected to each other, and one is designated as a relaxation area). We had a fun, somewhat innuendo-filled, conversation, just like we always used to, and I'm happy to say that things between us seem to be back to 'normal'. Truly, it feels like the last three weeks of drama never happened. I still dig her, of course, (I can't switch it off, as much as I'd like to), and she still loves the attention I give her. And we've always got something to talk about whenever we get together--even as badly as I want her, it's nice that she's still a pretty good friend to have, too.

So that's the news from the casino this Thursday morning. Things seem to be working out for me, but as is my lot in life, they can never be easy.

Apparently, I've got a lot of Karma to burn off...