Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Episode IV: A New Hope

Wow... What a week this has turned out to be. And just an hour ago, that metric ass-load of stress that I've been carrying around, well, it evaporated. I think I'll finally get some sleep tonight.

Anyhow, where to begin...

First of all, to everyone who keeps telling me that they never got any of the email I sent out in the past week or so, that problem has been solved. Just an issue with my outgoing mail server. If I used the webmail site, no problemo, but if I sent something from Outlook, it just went out into the ether. All is fixed now.

So, what's new in the world of Hurricane Mikey? Well, last week, Cyndi was here for a few days and we got to hang out a few nights. That was lots of fun, and one night we were over at the 'M' and she won over $700 on the penny slots--a great way to wrap up her trip!

On Friday night, I dealt a charity tournament up at the clubhouse at TPC Canyons up in Summerlin. Nice place, and a fun night--and it was refreshing to do some honest work for the first time in almost two months. The guy running the show does a lot of private poker events and stuff and when it as all over, he asked me if I'd be willing to work with him again in the future. Of course I said yes.

That helped, because jobs are really scarce out here right now. I've been applying for everything I could find, and nothing had come through. I swear, I think I'm blackballed at one particular gaming company because every time I apply for a position anywhere within their 'family', within 24 hours I get one of those automatically-generated rejection letters. Since they own several casinos in town, my prospects were looking bleak.

Also, although I had a great audition almost a month ago at another big room down on the Strip, I never heard back from them--not even a rejection letter, like some of my friends got. Of course, they had a handful of openings and probably fifty different people auditioned, so chances were slim from the outset.

I had mentioned, previously, that another nice room in town was hiring, and a friend of mine works there. She gave me the initial hook-up, but I thought that bird had flown. While I was in Tennessee, I got a call from them, asking if I could come in for an audition, and of course I said I would, but they wanted to see me that afternoon! I told them that I was two thousand miles away and didn't think I could be there by 2:00 pm... So they countered with "Can you come in tomorrow morning, instead?"


Um, no... How about giving me some lead time?, I thought. The conversation went downhill from there, and I just chalked it up as a missed opportunity.

Anyhow, that's where the job search stood as of last week. I even applied for the World Series but never even got a call--and I know they still need dealers. So I stopped looking for poker jobs and started applying to work in sports books, surveillance, or, god forbid, the cage... (Actually, if I had my druthers, I think I'd like to work in a cigar store). While Cyndi was here, she gave me another round of the Come Back to Nashville speech that I'd heard several times in the past month. And I decided that if I didn't find something by the end of this month, then yeah, I'd probably pack up the truck and go be a bum in Tennessee. At least there I could remain living indoors once my savings ran out...

On the other hand, as of Monday night, I'd made enough money playing poker since I got back from Nashville to cover all of my bills for the month, with an extra couple hundred still in the coffee can. So I'd be a liar if I didn't consider, briefly, that maybe I'd just make my living at the poker table as a 'semi-pro' player, while I casually looked for a job and waited out the bad economy. Yeah, that's a nice fantasy, but man, it's not even close to reality--talk about working without a net. And it's a grind, too. But believe me, I've been thinking about it.

So anyhow, on Friday night, after the charity gig, I wandered into Sunset Station sometime after midnight to say hey to all my peeps and maybe play a few hands of cards. It was a dull night, but when I got up to go to the bathroom, I ran into my gal who had recommended me for a spot in the room that called me while I was in Tennessee. I told her all about how the HR department called and gave me no notice and that I never got an audition scheduled. She said she'd take care of it and that I should be able to get hired without even having an audition. I didn't think that was very likely, hearing that at 2:00 am while sitting at a slot machine, drinking a Bud Lite, but hey, I thought it was cool that she was looking out for me.

Fast forward 12 hours.

My phone rang early Saturday afternoon. It was one of the assistant managers from that same poker room, asking me if I could come down on Tuesday morning (today) and do an audition! Holy crap, that was fast...

So, yeah, I made my appointment, and this morning I headed on down to a real casino in Vegas proper and had my audition in a very nice, big, and most importantly, busy room! My gal showed up for her shift a few minutes after I got there, and I asked her if she had said something to the boss about me. Yep--she did first thing on Saturday morning, and within two hours after that conversation, I was back in the loop!

As far as the audition went, I thought it went pretty well. I sat down in the box and dealt one hand of Stud, and as soon as I finished the first hand, the floorman said "Hey, sorry to waste your time today, get up out of the chair and give somebody else a chance..."

I was dumbfounded. WTF? Did I just blow this audition?

Before I could come up with a question to ask what I did wrong, he said, Mikey, you don't even need an audition--I can tell you've got the chops. You passed.

WHEW! Thank god!

So once everyone was finished, I was told that I'd get a call in a couple of days and they'd schedule me for a day of processing. I also have to go down and get fingerprinted and get my Nevada Gaming card renewed once all that paper work is done. (Those bastards at Stations ran my ass out a week before it expired). Now, before I get too excited, it's just a temporary gig--Vegas is still Vegas and we're still in a weak economy--but I was told that after the six weeks is up, they're going to keep a few of us newbies on permanently. That's about as good as I can hope for right now, but I'll take it--this new place is about ten times nicer, three times as big, and about a dozen times busier than my old gig at Sunset Station. Not only that, but I have a load of that precious Vegas commodity known as 'juice'. It doesn't matter how good you are--you still have to know somebody in this town to get a foot in the door. So yeah, I may have gotten juiced in to this job, but it's all on me now to make them want to keep me permanently. But I like my chances.

So today I uttered a huge sigh of relief. Of course, I'm not gonna feel like anything's changed until I do that processing and do all the official paperwork, but at least it's a start...

But that's not all--it's been a good week all-around. Last night I went down to Sunset Station again to play in that $3000 graveyard free-roll tournament. Only seven people qualified for it, and I was one of them. Well, as it turns out, one of the seven was out of town and couldn't attend. So that left six of us. A quick calculation tells me that six players and $3000 worth of prize money means $500 each if we just skip the tournament and just chop up the prize money. So that was the plan--we weren't even gonna play one hand--we were just gonna come in and get the money and split.

Well, at midnight, there were only five of us there. The sixth guy never showed up! We waited one blind level--twenty minutes--before calling it quits and taking his share, too. So the five of us that showed up got $600 each. Cha-ching! One stack of green, one stack of red...

This is me and my gal Pat celebrating our 'just showing up' victory. We usually play cards together about three times a week, and she's also gonna start playing Chinese poker with us here at the Batch Pad once a week, too.

I would've liked to stick around and play a little bit after we got our payouts, but I was soooo tired, and I knew I had to get some rest and prepare myself mentally for today's audition. So I came home, made a quick update, and then went straight to bed.

So I think that brings us up to speed... And I hope everyone else's week has started out as well as mine! I think I'm gonna spend the rest of the day relaxing, and then maybe bust out a victory cigar later this evening. I deserve it.


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