Saturday, April 04, 2009

Get Comfy, Kiddies...

'Cause it's gonna be a long one. Grab a cup of coffee, or an entire pot, or if you're lucky enough to be in some tropical locale with sunshine and ocean breezes, a bucket of Coronas will do nicely, too. Those of you with small bladders may want to use the facilities before we get started.

Ok, so right now, as I'm starting to type this, it's about 2 pm on Saturday afternoon. The past 48 hours have been a complete whirlwind, and I still haven't exactly come down from all the silliness. In fact, I kinda feel like Jason Statham in Crank, without the benefit, of course, of getting to hump Amy Smart in public. Ah well, some guys are just luckier than others...

Let's rewind a couple of days, shall we?

I'd been sleep-deprived on Thursday anyways, but the plan was to hook up with Carmen and go to the weekly Beer & Bloggers meet-up down at the Freakin' Frog that night. She flaked, again, so I flew solo. When I got there around 5:30, there were very few familiar faces, except for Todd, the brain behind So I grabbed a beer and sat down to join him. It looked like it was gonna be an off night--none of my ladies were gonna be around, and you know I can't make a public appearance like that without my entourage. Linda Lou was resting and recuperating from her cross-country travels, Carmen had gone Chuck Norris on me, Serena was up in Utah on a little personal retreat with a snowboard and a pile of books, Kri-azy Biatch was home, sick, and Sarah, well, we're not quite sure where she was--word on the street was that she was on her way to San Diego for the weekend to drink all of their beer.

So there I was, on my own. But all was not lost--the Frog is a fun place, and lots of people started to show up. While chatting with Todd, I met another gal to add to the Playtone Galaxy of Stars. While she seemed very nice, it turns out that she goes under the moniker of 'Mean Katie'. She's got a semi-defunct website right now, but she swears that starting on April 6th, she's gonna crank it up again. I'm looking forward to that, because she's a very talented writer--that last post about riding the bus home from the Mariner's game is a great read. So go over there and offer up some encouragement...

By the way, here she is:

I forgot to bring my camera along, so that was taken with the phone. Todd also has a picture posted on his site, but there's some ugly dude sitting next to her and it kinda ruins the whole thing, sorta like if there were a streaker in the background of the Mona Lisa.

Even though the gathering was pretty crowded, I pretty much talked to Todd and Katie the entire time. I found out that I'm considered to be the James Michener of the local blogging scene--not because I'm some great writer, but because I have a reputation of writing posts of epic length. Apparently, I'm told, the MTV generation doesn't have a long attention span. Heh. Oh well, I can't help it--sometimes when I start writing, it's like a runaway train. It's kinda like when I start running--Once I get all this stuff moving, it's hard to stop. Momentum, baby--I has it!

But it was an interesting night. I met one of Katie's friends, who for the life of me, I can't remember her name (I'm the worst with names), but it turns out that she's part of a local roller derby team. Yep, there is women's roller derby in Vegas! And oh yeah, I'm going to a match (Race? Meet? I don't know the proper word) at the end of the month. Oh yes, there will be pictures and a full report, and I'm guessing that it'll be even more fun than midget wrestling.

It turns out that both Todd and Katie are avid photographers, too, so we had a great conversation about that. Todd had a duffel bag full of electronic toys, and a Canon DSLR was one of them. So we took a few pictures of random people in the bar, on the sly, and I pried their brains for info, as I plan on purchasing a 'nice' camera eventually.

Anyhow, the evening was winding down after a few hours, and I still had to go to work that night, so sometime around 9 or so, I called it a night and headed home, hoping to get a couple of hours of sleep before going into work. Normally, I never work on Thursday nights, but since we lost a dealer, I picked up that shift on an ongoing basis. Score!

So, there I was, asleep, and ten minutes before my alarm went off, the phone was ringing. I have the ringtone for the poker room set as Workin' Man by Rush, and that's what woke me up. I figured that it was the floorman calling to tell me not to bother coming in because the last game was dying. But that was not the case--we still had three strong games going, but he wanted me to stop at Circle K and pick up a can of Skoal long-cut for him. It looked like it was gonna be a long night, and brothaman can't smoke up at the desk.

No problemo--I was still pretty tired and was gonna stop and get a can of Starbucks Doubleshot anyways...

So I got up and did my thing, then headed down to the casino. I stopped at the convienence store, grabbed my drink, and went to pay. Standing at the counter was an extremely attractive blonde gal with a pink thong peeking out at me and wearing a low-cut top. But she was obviously short on cash and was counting out change trying to come up with enough money to make her purchases. I stood there for a minute, just enjoying the scenery at first, but after a little too much time had passed, she was still short of change. I heard the cashier tell her that she still needed two more dollars, so she said Ok--give me just a second, and she went back out to her car.
Ok Hotshot, pop quiz! A hot girl is short of cash at the Circle K and you have a pocket full of money. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO???
Well, the first thing I did was pay for my stuff, but looking out the window, I could see that she was still rooting around in her car looking for two bucks worth of change. Of course I knew nothing would come of it, but I gave the cashier two bucks and told her to pay off whatever the chick outside needed.

On my way out to my truck, I just got her attention and told her that I covered the rest of her purchase. She thanked me, and I drove off. When I got to work, I told the story to my buddy James, and he asked me if I would've done the same thing had the gal been ugly.


Well, since this is the third or fourth time in the past couple of months I've covered somebody at that very same Circle K who was short of cash, I told him that yeah, for two bucks, even if the girl was ugly, I'd still pay it. (Usually it's more out of impatience than altruism--I just don't want to wait in line, and it's worth an extra buck or two to me to just get the hell out of there as quickly as possible).

But what if it were FIVE bucks? he asked.


Well then, I guess the ugly girl ain't gonna be gettin' her Thirstbuster and pack of smokes!


Anyhow... I was glad to see that the room was busy that night--I had a good shot of making some decent money for once. (I'd already worked two nights earlier in the week, but only for a grand total of five hours). On the other hand, the room was full of a lot of players who I knew I could beat, so I was torn between wanting to work and wanting to cut up the game.

It turns out, I wish I would've been playing. At 2:30 in the morning, the Bad-Beat jackpot hit again, dealt by one of my compadres, and the players share was $886 per person.


The first thing the smirking floorman said to me, knowing that I would've been in the game playing if it were my choice, was Aren't you glad you were able to pick up an extra shift this week?


Ok, so I was a little pissed that I wasn't able to get a table share, but on the other hand, the happy side effect of the jackpot hitting is that it *really* loosens the game up and the pots get huge and the tips get bigger. And since I was the last man standing as far as dealers go, I got locked down for hours. When the players got their shares, they all tossed a few bucks in the toke bucket, and they were very generous. There were only 17 eligible players when the jackpot hit, but between the four of us on the clock at the time, we each ended up with $181 in tips. Very nice.

Of course, once everyone got paid, half the players went home. But half stayed, and I dealt to them for the rest of the night. It turned out to be pretty lucrative after all, and I walked out of there with not quite $500 for the shift. I'll take that every time! Granted, a players share would've been a little better, but I truly can't complain.

The game held up all night long, and for the first time in forever, I had to stay past 7 am--that never happens. I was good and ready to go by then, and I managed to skate out at 7:30. James was already one drink ahead of me over at Sierra Gold, but I got there and got my corner Norm-seat at the triple-play machine. I put in a twenty, hit a four-of-a-kind, got my beer for free and cashed out with a $45 profit a few minutes later. I gave the bartender the five bucks and it seemed that the whole losing session from Wednesday night was now erased from my mind. I was back on track.

Y'all know how much I've been raving about the food there at Sierra Gold, and since I'm moving out of this house pretty soon, I'm not buying any more groceries, so I told the bartender that for the next month I'm either gonna be eating there or getting freebies off of my comps at work. And I'd rather eat at the bar--even their salads are fantastic. All I've got left at home is cheese & crackers, fruit, and a half case of Diet Coke, along with some canned goods, and I don't want to have to move a pantry full of grub, so I won't be dining at home very much for the next month.

Anyhow, yesterday morning, instead of breakfast, I decided to have a panini. It was amazingly good--smoked ham, cheddar, and fire-roasted apples. And you know instead of fries, I had... wait for it... cole slaw! Oh hell yeah--a great post-shift meal.

While we were sitting there talking and eating and whatnot, James told me that he and his roommate have an extra room in their house, and he'd prefer to have me move in there rather than some stranger. In fact, he said I could have the master bedroom and the private bathroom, and it would still be more than a hundred bucks less than I'm paying now. Oh hell yeah. And the house is a newer place over in Silverado Ranch, which is basically my favorite area of Vegas. (If I could afford it, that's exactly where I'd buy a house). So it looks like that obstacle is taken care of, and I can start moving my shiat over there at a casual pace over the next few weeks instead of doing a whole pain-in-the-ass moving day thing.

Also, the graveyard bartender, who is also a friend of ours, joined us once his shift was over, and we talked about all three of us heading to Austin next week for a live-music and beer bender. Jose, the bartender, is from that area and has tons of friends there, James' brother also lives there, and my boys Derek and Neal are there too. While kicking the idea around my phone rang. It was Reverend Dave.

He had a brilliant idea of trying to get me to come to Nashville this weekend. I was for it, but had would have to do some horse trading to get out of my next shift at work. There was a big family gathering this weekend--Amy & Scott were having their wedding reception/open house party, and he was gonna try and find a last-minute plane ticket for me and surprise everyone with me showing up.

So I had him on one phone while he was trying to arrange last-minute travel, and I had my boss on another phone, while I tried to re-arrange my schedule for the next few days. That actually was the easy part. Reverend Dave spent about a half-hour or so trying to find some way to get me out there, but all the plane tickets out on Friday afternoon were at least $700--much too expensive for a quick trip. It was a great idea at the time, and for a few minutes, I thought I'd be spending the weekend in Nashville laughing my ass off with the family. But we just couldn't get a deal done that didn't have me hopping between here, Santa Ana, DFW, Atlanta, and then Charlotte. Seriously, it was that complicated and it cost a fortune. No thanks... Nashville will have to wait, as will Austin, I've decided.

That's how my day ended.

I finally got home around 11:00 am yesterday morning, took a shower, and collapsed in bed, exhausted. It had been a very long day.

Originally, I'd planned on meeting up with another buddy of mine at 7:00 pm down at the Sahara for their nightly tournament, but I didn't wake up until 6:30 on Friday night--no chance at all of me getting down there in time. So I puttered around for a bit, then got dressed and headed down to the poker room to play, hoping to re-establish the winning streak.

When I got there, there were five tables going--three 4-8 games and two no-limit games. I wanted a seat at the 4-8 because I saw lots of earnings potential in the room, but all of the tables were full. The floorman asked if I wanted to kill some time at the no-limit game while I waited for a seat, so I agreed to do that.

I bought in for my usual $220--two stacks of red, one stack of white--and on the very first hand of the night, I was dealt pocket Sevens. I was one spot behind the button, and five or six people limped in. I raised it to $14 to go, and got five callers, with the added bonus of the guy on my right going all in for an additional $24. I called, as three did other people, but the flop was all rags.

It was checked to me, so I bet $50, and everyone else dropped out. The player who had gone all-in only had Ace-King, which never improved, so I scooped a nice pot to start the night. A few minutes later, I dragged another nice pot for about $75, and then a seat opened up at a juicy limit game that was full of 'calling stations'.

I took the money and ran, happy to be cashing out $385 in less than ten minutes. Woot!

I put the original $220 buy-in back in my wallet, along with another $65, and took a rack of white chips with me to the limit game. After the adrenaline rush of the no-limit game, 4-8 is definitely a grind, but it's been a profitable grind for me, so I was happy to sit there and pick my spots. I was up about forty bucks pretty quickly, and hung out there at that level for a couple of hours. I took kind of a big hit when three people had pocket pairs (Fives, Jacks, and Kings, but the gal with the fives was the only one who made a set), and that hand busted the guy next to me. A friend of mine got the seat a minute later, and she was all dressed up and looking hot, so it made the game much more enjoyable. And she had the girls on display, her method of distracting other players, so I was glad to have her sitting next to me. Nobody was looking at me or my tells.

Even better, sometime around midnight, I caught a monster.

It was a 'kill pot' at the time, somebody had won two hands in a row, so the action changed to 6-12 for one hand. I was in the blind, and somebody else had raised, making it $9 to see a flop. I looked down to see two red Aces looking back up at me. I re-raised, making it $15 to go, and everyone who called the first raise called mine. The flop was dangerous, something like 5-5-Queen, with two hearts. I checked, as did everyone else.

The Ace of clubs came on the turn, giving me a full-house, so I was definitely not scared of another five or a flush draw. By then, I was hoping somebody would make their hand. I bet out, and somebody raised me! Nice--now I knew who had a five. Some other fish called, so now I knew who was on a flush draw... The other players dropped out when I made it $24 to go, but the guy who raised me, re-raised. The flush draw made a reluctant call, but I re-raised another $12 to find out if I was up against quads. The guy with (at least) a five in his pocket just called, but the flush drawer finally figured out that it was gonna be an expensive hand to be drawing dead in, so he folded.

The river brought the prettiest card in the deck, the Ace of Spades, giving me quad Aces.


The board looked like this: 5 - 5 - Q - A - A

I led out and bet $12. I got raised. I re-raised to $36. I got re-raised again. At that point, all I saw was dollar signs in my head--not only was I about to take down a monster pot, but we were gonna win the In-House bad beat jackpot for having four Fives getting beat by four Aces. My opponent would get $3500 for losing the hand, I'd get $2000 for having the winner, and then all ten of us at the table would split up the remaining $4500 of the ten-thousand dollar jackpot.

Yep, Mikey was about to get paid $2450 plus a huge pot!

The dealer was looking at me with a WTF? look in her eyes, and I gave her a barely audible whisper, just slightly mouthing the words "In-House". I could see her crack a slight smile as she returned the action to my opponent. By this time, half the table was standing, getting ready to erupt in celebration, because they *knew* that we had a jackpot situation.

Finally, it dawned on my opponent that I might've had quad Aces, so he just called.

I turned my hand over and said Brotha, I sure hope you got pocket Fives, because I've got four Aces!

The whole table got excited, seeing that we were halfway to payday.

He turned his cards over slowly and deadpanned, No man, I've just got a full house.

No f*cking way!! I thought...

The whole table groaned in disgust as he showed a Five-Six offsuit. I tried to be gracious and said Oh man, I was hoping you had the Fives--you would've just made $3500!

But he just shrugged his shoulders, and the entire table turned on him. It was brutal--they were expecting to get $450 each, so they just unloaded on him with both barrels.

How the f*ck can you raise with that shit? You *had* to know he had an Ace!

What a f*cking donkey!

I can't believe this idiot...

And so on. It was kinda ugly. I didn't say or do anything but put my head down and started stacking up the chips from the huge pot I was pushed--it was well over a hundred dollars, and I was glad to win it, but man, I just couldn't believe somebody would play like that. It was truly a horrible play.

My opponent seemed to take it in stride, it appeared, and didn't get too upset, but the other players at the table were being kinda rude to him. I tried to be a gentleman about it and said to nobody in particular It's okay, let's let it go... and I believe the dealer said something, too. But the rest of the table was hopping mad for being denied a share of the jackpot they were sure was coming.

Bad luck, I guess.

At that point, I had well over $200 in pure profit stacked in front of me, and I didn't want to give up that seat for anything. But the room was crazy-busy, and the graveyard floorman came over with the bad news.

Mikey, I need your help...


He couldn't get hold of any of the on-call dealers, and since none of the games would break, it was about to get to the point where they would have to start paying overtime, and a casino likes to pay overtime about as much as a vegetarian likes to eat bacon, so that put me on the hook.

I cashed out at 1:30 in the morning, with a total profit of $320. I left a ten-spot behind in the floorman's toke bucket, took the money, and headed for the garage. Normally I keep a shirt in my truck, but since I didn't think I'd be working for a couple of days, I brought it in to wash it, so I had to drive home to change.

I got back in time for the 2:30 am push, jacked up on a can of Doubleshot and a Powerbar, and got to work. There were still two very good no-limit games going, and my first table was a great one--one of our biggest 'Georges' was playing, and I proceeded to run over him with the deck--he caught everything, and was toking me anywhere from $8 to $21 per pot.

Yep, I was having a pretty good night.

I only worked until 5:00 am, and in that two hours, I managed to pull in $165 in tips. Pretty damn good if you ask me! Oh, and I did another a down at the table I'd been playing at all night, and about six of the 'original' players were still there, but my opponent with the low-boat was long gone. They told me that the chick who'd been sitting next to him just wouldn't stop talking shiat about how bad he played, and just wouldn't let it go. Apparently, she was really pissed about not getting a piece of the in-house bad beat jackpot, so he eventually he got tired of her mouth and left.

That kinda sucks, because if there's anything I've learned in the past year, is that you never want to berate a bad player. He may not come back now, which is a damn shame, because I've probably taken close to $300 off of him myself in the past couple of weeks. But the irony is that the gal who was doing all of the rude chatter is just as bad as he was--she'd re-bought a couple of times herself.

Anyhow, I was glad to pull the ripcord at five o'clock. I hung out for a bit, chatting with the floorman and some of the other players, sipping on a cup of coffee, and just killing time. Eventually, I made my way over to Sierra Gold again to get some breakfast.

Normally, whenever I have a really good night (or a really bad one, like the other night), I hit the Megabucks machine on the way out the door. The progressive is up over $32 million, and well, I figure it's due to hit. But I was so tired/pumped/hungry on my way out that I forgot. So when I got over to the pub, I decided to throw twenty bucks at their progressive video poker jackpot while I waited for my breakfast. Yeah, it's a short pay machine, and it's a total sucker bet, but what the hell, why not?

Yeah, that twenty bucks was gone before the third sip of my 'free' beer.

So I bitched for a second and then moved back over to my non-progressive ten cent triple-play kiddie machine. On my first spin, BAM! I was dealt a full house without even drawing. Three full houses paid 108 credits, so there I was, halfway back to even.

Thank you, Triple Play Machine! I will never again leave you for your sexier cousin...

Apparently, that's all the machine needed, a little bit of Mikey love, because about four hands later, I was dealt Four of a Kind. No draw needed--I had it on all three hands! Woot!

That paid $96, not bad for a ten-cent machine! I played a couple more minutes, with the intent of cashing out $120, but I actually got a few more full houses, so I cashed out for $140.

Nice! I gave Jose twenty bucks, and I happily pocketed another $80 profit. Yep, it was a helluva great night for me. In the meantime, I ordered some pancakes and bacon for breakfast, and it was a damn fine meal for six bucks and change.

By the time I finished up my breakfast, I was spent. It had been a crazy crazy couple of days, and even though it was part of my 'normal' routine, it felt like somebody had cranked the intensity up to eleven. And as bummed as I was about not being able to make it to Nashville and spend time with the people I love the most, I had a hugely satisfying night here in Vegas. And I consider myself both lucky and blessed, because I know that the story of my weekend could easily have been a different one altogether.

Here's to hoping that the next chapter is just as interesting.


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