Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dispatches from Sin City, Vol III aka Dude, Where's The Porn Convention aka Triple Draw!

Yep, back from Vegas, and hiding out in the Garthmeister J. Bunker, avoiding the masses of Inauguration-related crowds. But on with the updates!

  • Dateline, Monday: I manage to sleep in, which is quite the effort for me in Vegas. I jump out of bed, and race to Denny's for lunch/breakfast, intent on sustenance before dialling into a meeting. My body is still feeling decidedly unhappy about consuming more fat or grease, and I scan the menu for something I might be able to handle. It appears Denny's has exactly one (1) salad - a chicken salad that is available in either "grilled" or "deep-fried" form.

    The grilled chicken is OK.

    I make it back to the meeting, which I bang out in record time. I have decided that I want to try and head down to the Venetian; prior to leaving DC, Grubby let me know that the AVN Convention is in town. Yes, the AVN Convention, also known as the big porn convention. Frankly, checking that out is exactly the kind of thing that screams Las Vegas, so why not try and get there? Monday was the last day of the convention, so I hoped enough of it was running for me to take a peek before deciding what else to do with the day.

    Those who know me well also know that I have no direction sense, and can be completely hopeless at finding things. And so it came to pass: either the convention had shut up shop early, or I am completely unable to find an extremely large convention populated by porn stars and those that like to look at porn stars.

    Right. So I probably couldn't find it.

    Since I was moving down that end of the strip, I figured I might as well head to the Wynn, and see if I could pre-register for the conference. That was done without mishap, so I decided to have a look at the Wynn and see what they were spreading in the poker room. One of the first labels I saw was for "4-8 Mix: List of Interest". Intrigued I asked the woman running the room what was in the mix game that ran.

    "Well, there's Triple Draw..."
    "Stop right there," I interrupted. "I'm interested. What time does the game usually start?"

    The woman explained that it was hard to say, since the mix game usually relied on the same bunch of folks turning up and deciding they wanted to play. She must have noted my disappointment, as she immediately said that she could put my name on the list, and for a $100 deposit she could give me a pager which would reach me anywhere on the strip. That sounded good, so I handed over the Benjamin, and put the pager in my pocket.

    At the woman's suggestion I also walked out and signed up for a Wynn's player's card on the floor of the casino, so I could get $10 slot free slot-play. That sounded fine, despite the fact I had never played slots in a casino. I received my card, and then channelled my inner Grubby, wandering around the slots, wondering what I should play. I couldn't find a Monopoly Big Event, but I did find a Mr Cashman.

    But wait a moment... why try and imagine what Grubby would play? Why not just ask the man? So I did, and he prescribed some Wizard of Oz action. I managed to find the machine in question, but unfortunately it was occupied by a quartet of people. Deciding not to wait, I wandered next door to check out the new casino, Encore, that had opened as a kind of sister-Casino to the Wynn. Predictably fancy, going with the red theme even more strongly than the Wynn. Walking back through the Wynn, I noted that the quartet of folks were not moving from the Wizard of Oz machine, so I moved onward, figuring I'd check out the Palazzo on the way back to the IP, where I could chill out and decide what I wanted to do if the Mix game didn't run.

    The Palazzo was pretty nice, and walking through to the Venetian I was particularly smitten by the menu of B&B, a Mario Batali restaurant. Finally making back to the IP, I sat down at my laptop, and idly looked at the schedule for my conference. With a jolt I realised that the conference started at 1pm! For some reason I thought it had started at 9am, and had been busy avoiding alcohol... but this changed everything! Getting myself together, I wandered back down to the Wynn, figuring I could sit in a NLHE game and wait and see if I could play the Mix game later.

  • Dateline, Monday evening: After talking to the Wynn poker room chick and being told that the NLHE lines are moving swiftly, I head out in search of food. I hop between possibilities, before settling on Carnevino, a Palazzo restaurant, and have a lovely appetizer of Italian cured meats and peppers, followed by a sumptuous lamb pasta, accompanied by a couple of glasses of robust red wine, which was a lovely and leisurely way to start the evening.

    I head back to the Wynn and quickly sit down at a 1/3 NLHE table, buying in for $500. The game apparently used to be uncapped, but as a sign of these economic times a cap had been introduced. I immediately had a horrible few orbits, dropping $200 as I was outkicked, missed draws, and found out where I was (in a bad position) in some hands. Cursing aloud, I wished that the 4-8 Mix Game would start. At that outburst from me the sullen looking girl in the five seat immediately perked up, and asked if I was serious. I let her know that I was... and in twenty minutes time I was sitting down with three other folks at a 4-8 Mix game. Good times!

    The mix of games we end up playing is as follows: Badugi, LO8, A-5 Triple Draw, Stud 8, and 2-7 Triple Draw. Fuck and yes. I am joined initially by Joy (the formerly surly and now happy girl who started the table), Kendall (who proceeds to build a fortress composed of $2000 worth of $1 and $2 chips), and some guy from Detroit who professed his love for all things Motown by way of a forearm tattoo and a Detroit hoodie. Over the course of the next hours we were joined by a cast of different characters, and at one point we had a full table of eight players. I was proceeding to call with second-best hands in Badugi, and having the odd second-best hand in Stud 8, and then winning all my money back at Triple Draw.

    Since landing in Vegas I had been really tight in the shoulders and neck, and spending hours at a poker table wasn't helping. I eventually succumbed, and scored another first... yes, I got a massage at the table. Big timing it, baby!

    Finally I retire at 2:30am, down an extra $100, as my Triple Draw winnings aren't enough to keep things afloat. I thank everyone for the great time I had, and say that I hope to see them more often during the next week. I slide into bed at about 3am, and finally fall asleep.

  • Dateline, Tuesday morning: Waking up isn't fun, and I finally shave and put on my business duds, a far cray from the cargo pants and t-shirt which has become my defacto Vegas uniform. I meet up with my co-workers (two of which had flown in the previous evening, one due the next day) and we grab a quick lunch at the Wynn, before heading into the day's session.

  • Dateline, Tuesday afternoon: The first conference session is a bit of a death march: 1pm until 6:30pm, with only a couple of minutes here or there to steal a break. As it was quite warm outside when I was walking to the Wynn, I had rolled up my shirt sleeves, and hadn't carried a sweater with me. In the high-ceilinged conference room it slowly got colded and colder, and towards the end of the day my throat began to get dry.

    Yes, I was succumbing to the Vegas Ebola Virus.

    Determined to soldier on, I kept at it until the final speaker had finished. Walking out of the conference area one of my co-workers expressed a desire to gamble, so we wound our way back down the strip, ending up (for one reason or another) at Harrah's. We plonked ourselves down at a $10 blackjack, and immediately got handed our asses. I ran through around $300 in an hour and a half, eroding my blackjack winnings from the heady high of +$500 on Saturday night to the decidedly less sexy -$100. That meant I paid about $150 a whiskey sour during the session, whiskey being the sole alcohol I was prepared to drink in my early-onset Vegas Ebola Virus state.

    Once the last chip left my grasp, my co-workers and I figured it was a good time to head back to our respective hotels and try and get some rest ahead of the 9am Keynote to officially kick off the conference proper.

  • Dateline, Wednesday: To be continued! Will Garthmeister J. be crippled by the Vegas Ebola Virus? Will Blackjack return to further erode the bankroll? Will more Triple Draw be played? Stay tuned to find out!

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