Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Party

Posted via email from paul mayes's posterous site!!

HST pic

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming– “Wow! What a Ride!”

— Hunter S. Thompson

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vegas Trip Report (DEC 2009)

I returned yesterday from my trip to Las Vegas, a day later than planned. Christopher was my traveling companion and neither one of us were in any shape to travel at the originally scheduled return departure time. We slept in that day, not rising until 4:00 PM (6:00 Austin time) and I posit that we could have benefitted from even one more day of rest past that to return home.

I received numerous texts and emails asking for trip details and it is here that I shall provide them, but the night that caused the trip extension, shall not be chronicled here.

I have received several inquiries over the past year or two about taking trips to Las Vegas but have yet to make actual plans until Christopher's offer. With an offer of free air and hotel (Bellagio, no less), I couldn't refuse.

Monday was our first day, though we didn't arrive at the hotel until almost 7:00 PM. It was raining in Las Vegas and their airport could only handle one runway, so our flight was delayed. Chrisopher, who has made more trips to Vegas than anyone I know (I have gone there 4 times with him myself), remarked in all the years since he's been going to Vegas, he's never seen it rain. This year marks the 25th anniversary of his first trip.

We decided to take it easy that night and had dinner at Cafe Bellagio and just wondered around afterwards, rather aimlessly. I don't even recall gambling that night.

We awoke Tuesday morning with no discernible plans for the day. After a light breakfast at Palio at Bellagio, I wandered over to Caesar's Palace to check out the action in the poker room.

They only had 3 games running, though one of them was a $1/3 NL Hold'em game that I normally feel comfortable playing, I just wasn't ready to begin at that moment. I hung out at the sports book for awhile, but again, didn't feel like gambling.

I headed back to Bellagio and met Christopher at one of the bars near the poker room and we finally started gambling on Video Poker. Video Poker is a good game to play because if played correctly, it offers the lowest house advantage (outside of a couple of scenario's playing craps.)

We played for an hour or so drinking first gin and then some whiskey. I was down $20 and Christopher was up $80 and we decided to play roulette (a game with a decidedly higher house advantage.)

Nonetheless, we both went on a tear and won a few hundred. By this time, we were feeling good and playing a bit recklessly, but obviously got lucky.

Joe, our new favorite bartender at the bar by the Bellagio poker room, told us we could buy liquor at wholesale prices at a package store inside the Orleans, so we hopped in the rental car and drove over there, intending to play more video poker and buy a bottle of Makers.

The line for the player's cards was ridiculous, so we ate lunch and had a few whiskey's and beers before buying the Maker's and heading back to the hotel to drop off the bottle in the room.

We headed down to Bellagio's Sports Book and sat in the adjacent bar playing video poker and drinking free beer. I won $55 (don't remember what Christopher did) and we then walked over to Bill's (formerly Barbary Coast) to play $5 black jack. I bought in for $100 and was doing very well, doubling my money in 20 minutes when a guy from Virginia sits down to my right and proceeds to fuck the table up by playing incorrect black jack. His bad play took cards away from me that costs me $85 (yeah, I know, not that much.)

The whiskey anger was beginning to rise and Christopher (who had been sitting at an adjacent table that had just broken up) spirited me away from the casino. I was ranting and raving and generally acting inappropriately all the way back to the Bellagio. It is a rare occasion for Christopher to walk 10 paces away from me whilst in public. If anything, its the other way around. Anyway, I was obviously on tilt, but cooled off after half an hour.

We then ate dinner back at Cafe Bellagio and then played more roulette, where I won $100, I knew when to quit and went upstairs to bed.

Next day, Wednesday, back to Palio's for latte and breakfast. We awoke later than usual and decided to head over to The Venetian for a $150 buyin NL Hold'em Tournament that began at noon. There were 114 players and they paid first 12 players

By the first break, I had half the chips I started out (7500) with while Christopher had doubled up. This was a 'deep stack' tournament and you could afford to play along time and I tried to make a play at a couple of pots but was re-raised and had to lay down my semi-bluffs.

One notable hand had me raising 3x from the cut off with A-9 and I got one caller. Flop hits A-K-9 and I bet the pot. Other player just calls. Turn sees a 2 hit and I bet the pot again. Again, the guy just calls. When a K hits the river, I bet half the pot and my opponent pushes.

The only other hand this guy had shown before this was a full house he used to knock out the first guy at the table who had a nut flush. I had to lay down.

I fought back a little after that and at one point even nearly doubled up my starting chips, but by the third break, I was half the average stack size and had 7 big blinds left.

I finally pushed with A-10 and the guy to my left called with A-K. I did not improve and finished 9 away the money. Ten minutes later, Christopher finished 8 away from the money.

We didn't feel bad. We had fun and it was the best run tournament I've ever played in. I will play there again on my next trip.

We return to the Bellagio and head back to the bar by the poker room (on the way, passing Erik Seidel) and Joe is working again, so we sit and have a beer and play more video poker. After being down just $5.00, I cash out and walk a few feet away to play more roulette and won $50 and decide that's enough and cash out there and return to the bar where Christopher and Joe are still talking. I decide not to sit down and just stood behind Christopher while we chatted with Joe some more.

About a minute later, Richard MacDonald walks up and takes the seat I had vacated minutes earlier to play roulette. Christopher recognized him immediately. He's a famous sculptor and has studio's in London (2) and Monterey as well as Vegas. He is good friends with Guy Laliberté founder of Cirque du Soleil and has a business relationship with them.

We then wandered over to his exhibit which was just around the corner and took a tour.

We had reservations at Del Frisco, so we headed upstairs to wash up and find some nice clothes. We arrived at Del Frisco half an hour ahead of our reservations so we might enjoy some professionally made cocktails at an upscale Vegas steak house.

We were not disappointed. Chase was our bartender and he took to us immediately. I had a Knob Creek Manhattan while Christopher ordered some Champagne. The bar and restaurant were packed, but the service was outstanding.

Chase also gave us free shots of a honey and cinnamon infused Woodford. They dropped an actual honey comb and cinnamon into a big jar of Woodford, just as they might with a vodka, and let it sit for a few days. The result is out of this world delicious.

While we were enjoying our cocktails, a couple of guys sat next to us and the one next to me ordered a Manhattan, as I did. A natural segway for a conversation and we all be came fast friends.

We then head to dinner and had a lovely 2006 Caymus with our rib eye and lobster. After dinner, we go back to the bar for one more cocktail and our buddies are still there. These two guys live in Vegas and are in business together. After several minutes of talking to me they ask me what I do. I tell them I am under-employed and they offer me a job at their company. I would have to move to Vegas though. I said I would think about it and took their card.

I had attempted to pay for drinks and my share of the meal, but Christopher told me no, he would take care of this. This was very generous considering he funded the air and hotel. That bill was nearly $650!

Christopher and I head back to Bellagio and I stay in the lobby and check emails (free wifi there) while Christopher goes up to the room for something (don't remember what.) I told him I would meet him in the lobby upon his return, but I forgot I told him that (we were well into our cups) and I wandered off and played more roulette and video poker. I didn't remember much of that, but when Christopher found me 3 hours later, I had the print outs you redeem for cash and I was up $140. What luck! He won $300 himself, playing craps.

We then go play more craps (and win). We cashed out and (trip info for rest of night omitted).

Thursday we woke up at 4:00PM and got ready for dinner and went downstairs, had a couple of beers, some Keno, played video poker, roulette and after going up $65, I call it a night and go back to the room.

We end up watching The Hangover in the room which was appropriate. Plus, many of the scenes from the movie were the same ones we could see from our hotel room.

Trip observation:

The National Finals Rodeo was going on the whole time we were there. I don't have much in common with cowboys, but they were all very nice and friendly. There were also a lot of Euro's in Vegas this past week, easily 50% of the people we encountered in Bellagio were from Europe. They were actually pretty cool, too. Latin America and Asia were represented in the Vegas diversity pool, though not to the extent I recall on previous trips.

All was cool and fun until Thursday afternoon, when a certain demographic began showing up in numbers not known earlier in the week: The Affliction wearing douchebag. For no other reason than this is justification to avoid Vegas on the weekends.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Young Tiger

I love these old clips. (Tiger on Mike Douglas show)

Questionable decision

By now, most everyone is aware of the Tiger Woods situation.  A London newspaper site has this story about Tiger’s alleged mistress.

Hideous.  Just hideous.  Tranny, perhaps?

Posted via email from paul mayes's posterous site!!