Saturday, February 07, 2009

Recession? We Don't Need No Stinking Recession!

This one is for the weekend re-clickers out there!

After yesterday's flurry of blog posts, I thought the creative well might be dry for a few days. But just like the constant downpour going on here in Vegas (It's been raining nonstop since yesterday afternoon), I'm not finished yet. Oh, and for the record, as much of a rain-hater as I am, I hope it keeps up for another few weeks. Lake Mead has been shrinking for years, and a few months of rain on the Colorado Plateau would be most helpful. But it's been cold and rainy--a combination guaranteed to turn me into a whiny bitch, regardless of how badly the rain is needed out here in the Mojave desert.

Anyhow, enough about the weather...

Because of working in the tourism industry, coupled with the unpredictability of my schedule, I have a front-row seat for the economic passion play that's unfolding before us. Some days I think, Eh, we'll be ok, and some days I wonder if they make those blue vests at Walmart in my size. After working nonstop for almost three weeks, having more than 36 hours away from the casino had changed my outlook from 'feast' back to 'famine' again. In fact, yesterday, I was actually hoping to get called in to work.

On Thursday, while I was out gum-shoeing around The District, I had my phone turned off while in the movie theatre, and of course I missed one single call. You know, the one from the poker room asking me to come in and pick up an afternoon/evening shift--an easy $200+. But no, the one time in three weeks that I turn the phone off is when I miss a shift. And I *hate* to miss picking up an extra shift.

Luckily, that bad beat jackpot still hadn't hit by yesterday evening, and it was up over $235,000. So everybody was playing poker. Thinking that I might be able to pick up a shift over the weekend, and waiting for my phone to ring, I didn't leave the house or take a chance on getting into any poker tournaments, online or otherwise. I woke up yesterday at 5:00 in the morning, did my morning coffee ritual, and then realized how bored I was, just hanging around waiting for a call that may or may not come.

So I got busy. It's amazing how much clutter one can amass in just a few short months. Not that my room was filthy like the interior of my truck last week, but it was certainly cluttered. I haven't seen the top of my desk since before Christmas, and my inner packrat had kept me from tossing out various shoeboxes and other random containers that were scattered about. Couple that with a few empty Coke bottles and the odd booze bottle here and there, plus all the laundry, both dirty and clean, and well, my little fortress of solitude was in need of some serious attention. So that's how I spent my Friday--cleaning, organizing, doing laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing the bathroom (my roommate had houseguests for almost two weeks straight, so my bathroom got plenty of use), and trying to bring a sense of order to the chaos I lived amongst.

I have to admit--it looks much better now than it did on Thursday. And for somebody who harbors an obvious disdain for wearing shoes, I'm amazed at how many pairs I had lying around. If I had my druthers, it'd be flip-flops or barefoot every day for the rest of my life. All those years working in an office has turned me completely off of Dockers, penny loafers, and button-down shirts. I might as well be wearing a prison jumpsuit. I got spoiled working at Go Daddy back in the day. Half the time I'd show up for work in a damp pair of swim trunks and an old Jimmy Buffett t-shirt. And as soon as I'd sit down at my desk, the sandals came off. So you know it just kills me to have to wear those hideous black pants, 'dress' shoes, and ugly long-sleeved polyester work shirts every day. I'd much rather be dealing poker in a tiki hut with a sand floor, where I can wear shorts, a t-shirt, and sunglasses for my entire shift. One can dream, right?

Anyhow, all that housecleaning and dozens of trips up and down the stairs kinda wore my ass out by the end of the day. I tried to relax for awhile, but I didn't get a nap in. Once the sun went down, I ran a few errands. I topped off the tank, bought a few groceries, stuff like that, then came home and made some dinner.

Around 8:30 or so, Mamasan called with good news--her neighbor and best friend, Crazy Jane (yeah, that's what we call her), decided to come out to Vegas with her for Amy's wedding and March Madness weekend. So she was excited to share the news that she'd have a fellow slot jockey to hang around with while the rest of us drunken kids Got Our Vegas On. But the conversation was almost impossible to follow because we were both yawning constantly. The activity from the day was starting to catch up with me, and I told her that as much as I'd like to go to bed, I just knew that as soon as I did, work would call, and I'd have to go back to the casino. Not that I would've minded, but sleep was starting to sound really good about then.

We said goodbye a few minutes later, and I watched TV for a bit. Nothing was on, so I said the hell with it and turned it off, along with the light, thinking I might get called around midnight or so. But I was wrong. I had just gotten under the covers, not even 45 seconds after turning off the light, and the phone rang. I remember it was 9:07 pm on the cable box, and they were asking if I could make it down before 9:30. That was pushing it, but being on call, I keep my work clothes handy like a fireman so I can just jump into them at a moment's notice. And luckily I had showered and shaved an hour earlier.

So I hopped right back out of bed, got dressed in under a minute, and was out the door. When I got to the poker room, it was packed like a train to Calcutta. Absolutely insane. The casino itself was hopping, but the poker room was wall-to-wall in humanity, and it was uncomfortably hot in there with all the bodies in attendance. I went right in at the top of the line-up, and proceeded to work my ass off for several hours. When I got there, we had three no-limit games going, which is rare--we normally never have more than two, with the rest of the players grinding it out on the 4-8 tables.

But one game in particular was absolutely over-the-top insane. We had a couple of our more 'action' players there, and the pots were ridiculously huge for a $1-$2 game with a $300 max buy-in. But everyone kept re-buying, so there must've been about six or seven grand on the table. Before I got there, one of the other dealers told me to Deal fast--that's a hundred dollar down! And he was right. In my first half hour on the table, I made a $120 in tokes. Amazing. Unfortunately, something that juicy never lasts, as people go broke, and that was the highlight of my worknight. I managed to get to that table two more times, and although the money was great, it wasn't insanely awesome like it was on my first go-round.

Of course, the good money was balanced out by the grind at the low-limit games, where a couple of tables had no action whatsoever. A $30 pot would be considered big in those games, so I was lucky to pull twenty bucks out of 'em while I was there. They weren't there to play cards so much as to sit there and hope the jackpot hit, so there was a lot of 'showdown poker' being played, where everyone limped in, checked down, and hoped they'd win a small pot. Those kind of games drive me insane.

Even so, it was a great night. I worked like a robot set on 'high', and made fanstastic money. And I came one card away from dealing the bad-beat jackpot myself--one guy had a straight flush, and there were a pair of nines on the board, and another player kept pushing the action until the river. When the guy with the straight flush re-raised, the other player hesitated, so what we all thought were four nines turned out to be just a Full House instead. Damn--so close.

We still had three games going at 4:30 this morning, and the floorman told me I'd probably have to work overtime until seven. I was cool with that--it's like I was printing money while I was there, anyways. But the crazy-action no-limit games can't last, somebody always starts busting the short stacks, and even the old folks playing 4-8 don't have enough Geritol in their systems to stay all night. So after five o'clock, with three dealers there, two games broke up while I was dealing the last remaining 4-8 table. I ended up doing the 'hard eight' as they call it in the poker room--a full eight-hour shift with very few breaks--and finally called it a day at 5:30 this morning.

I cashed out, drank about half a gallon from the water cooler, and headed for the door. Even though I was starving, I was just too tired to eat. Steak and eggs sounded really good, but bed sounded even better. I came straight home, took a hot shower, and crashed to the sound of the pouring rain outside my window.

I got a good six hours of solid rest before waking up, and I'm pretty sure tonight is going to be a repeat of last night. So instead of heading downtown to play at Binion's (I really wanted to play in their 11 o'clock tourney tonight), I'm gonna lie low and wait for my phone to ring. That jackpot is gonna hit eventually, and as soon as it does, I'm gonna have a lot of free time on my hands. There's still a recession going on out there, and all these players will have a serious case of poker fatigue the longer they have to wait for that jackpot to hit. The current feast will eventually be a famine, and I've got to get while the gettin' is good.


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