The Next, Uh, 50 Hours
Reading everyone else's posts you can tell who's been to Vegas and who hasn't (i.e., me). Here I am blathering about junk everyone knows about and everyone else is cutting to the drinking/gambling/eating stuff. Oh well, you only lose your virginity once. Well, most do, eventually.
So we arrive at MGM and I can't get hold of Bill Rini. Nor do I see any familiar faces in the poker room. Being a total idiot I don't realize the room curls to the right away from the sports book. Actually, it was only around 7PM so we found ourselves a couple of video poker machines and happily accepted a beer from our pretty cocktail waitress. I liked the red dresses the MGM ladies wore, though Ryan preferred the black. Not that we discussed this in much detail as we were far too busy pissing away our money with suboptimal play.
Around 8 I figured we'd have another look 'round. And go 'round we did, to the other side of the poker room, and there was a familiar face at the rail, the BoyGenius himself. He recognized me (that alone is a pretty weird sensation) and we shook hands and he said, "Do you want to meet Iggy?"
Did I want to meet Iggy? I've been waiting to meet Iggy for two friggin years! The man himself, the Blogfather, the Biggest, Baddest Little Person in the World. And five seconds later here I am, shaking hands and hugging a guy who's responsible for dragging down the earnings of my employers the last two years. I'm there beaming like an idiot when from my left comes Pauly. Unfreaking believable. I'm shaking his hand, and suddenly there's this tall guy walking up and it's Hank. I have this big grin on my face like I've been hit in the face with a frying pan shaking hands with the Rushmore of the pokerblogging world. "Are you Mean Gene?" asks a dapper gentleman to my left, who introduces himself as Grubby, which seems unbelievable, as no way would I think him "Grubby" nor such an aficiando of Wendy's.
Sitting at one of the rotation tables is Maudie, I recognized her instantly, and a suitably suave guy sidles up and introduces himself as DonkeyPuncher, and I beat down my envy of his seemingly limitless adventures and shake his hand with gusto. And there's Otis again, and Gracie, and CJ, and Maigrey, and round and round and round I spun trying not to literally get dizzy as I tried to get to everyone.
As I told Iggy later, meeting him and Pauly and Otis and Hank was like someone leading me around and saying, "I'd like you to me John, and this is Paul. Here's Ringo...and this is George". I guess that would make the PokerProf George Martin, and BG and Grubby can decide who gets to be Eric Clapton and Billy Preston. I don't think it would be fair to call Maudie "Yoko" under any circumstances, so I won't. And then there's me, Pete Best, grinning like an idiot, just happy to be there.
Everyone is playing poker, except me and my brother. So we get on the list for a nice little 2-4 game and after chatting a bit more with Iggy and Pauly our names get called. Well, all right! My first time playing poker in a casino. My first time playing in a "real" cash game, to be honest. That seems a bit hard to believe, that I've been writing about poker for two flippin' years and this would be the first time I'd be risking chips and ego in front of a live studio audience. Thank God for the Internet, and thank God for bullshit.
My brother was called first, and I was seated at an adjacent table. "How many chips do you want?" asked the, uh, chip person, and I opened my wallet and two C-notes came out together. "Uh, $200," I said. Yeah, that's showing some confidence in your ability, come to a 2-4 table with 50 BB in front of you. I sat down but had a hell of a time getting my chips stacked comfortably so I could look at my cards. Hee Haw!
My table was a collection of fairly pleasant gents. Two seats to my right was a gentleman I believe was a blogger (I'm pretty sure I saw him at the tournament) but I didn't catch your name and for that I apologize. About 2 hands in I was dealt pocket nines, raised, had a few callers, and when a queen and a jack appeared on the board I folded.
A youngish Asian guy in the 2 seat said, "Pocket nines?" A nice read, and I nodded.
A few hands later I'm dealt AQ, I flop top two, bet out, bet out again on the turn, and the same Asian guy folds. "Ace-Queen?" he asks. Now I'm a bit ticked. Was my shirt (which I love, by the way) so shiny he could read my cards? I'm not THAT transparent.
As I sat there more bloggers appeared. Bill Rini survived his Pai Gow experience and arrived after waking and thinking it was eight in the MORNING. I recognized Drizz by the altitude at which he was carrying four heavy racks of chips. Where I overbought because I'm a goof, Drizz brought an arsenal to the table to liven things up with straddles and blind bets and other antics designed to tilt low-limit fish like myself.
What changed our table much for the better was the appearance of Facty
, who sat down and started chattering with the dealers and everyone else on my side of the table and explained to the non-bloggers there what the deal was with all the shouting and trash-talking and other bad behavior. Her cheery presence loosened the table up socially as well as gamblingly and we had ourselves a nice friendly game. I won a nice pot off the Asian Nostrodamus when he didn't divine that I had pocket jacks and flopped a set to beat his pocket queens. Facty brought the Hammer down in one hand, and I won a nice little pot when I made a straight on the river against a Welsh guy to my right who was also playing live for the first time. Fun for the whole gang.
All the while I was checking over my shoulder to see how my brother was doing. When we'd take our inevitable bathroom breaks we'd pass his camera back and forth so it wouldn't get lost and when I walked past I'd take a look at his chips. They didn't seem to be increasing much in volume, nor did my own chips spread beyond my space. I was never up or down more than fifteen bucks, but that was fine by me. I was having a blast.
In life there are moments, an hour here, a weekend there, that you can put parethesis around and say, "Yup, this little bit here was pretty much perfect". Friday night at the MGM was one of those moments. I drank just enough beer to be happy and giddy yet able to fold K-6 suited in early position without a second thought. I looked around the room and saw my blogger heroes slinging chips. I went to the bathroom and as I walked out Phil Gordon walked in. Our eyes met and there was this flash of recognition--well, I recognized him, and he recognized that I recognized him. But I'm not big on approaching celebrities and, besides, he was going to the can. I don't know if this was after Mrs. Head schooled him in Roshambo--he may have needed a minute in the loo to compose himself.
I think we played till about 2AM or so. I was getting tired, but I could've found the energy to play a few more hours. But we had the tournament to get ready for on the morrow, and if I was going to bring my A-game I'd need a few hours shuteye. I looked over my shoulder and Ryan mouthed "You ready?", and I nodded, sighing as I racked up my chips.
I turned a $5 profit, not bad when you include tokes and tips. Ryan made $84. Bastard! I know I didn't play especially well, far too passive and weak, but for my first live game I had me a great time. I haven't played many live cash games, we always play tournaments when my friends get together, but this was just my speed.
Headed back to IP with I think Maudie and F-Train and...I don't remember who else. I was beat. I didn't know that you put the monorail ticket in the bottom slot and it popped out the top. Some dude said, "Hey, you Polish or something!" I laughed and said I'm half-Polish. What I should've done was dropped the fucker right there and left him. See, everyone who met me out in Vegas said I don't look so Mean. In fact, that I look Nice. I should've done something--a random act of extreme violence, a horrible practical joke, a diatribe chock full of hate speech--to show that I am in fact the most Mean of Genes. But I didn't have time to get around to it. Too busy having fun.
OK, for sure, I'll finish this tomorrow. Maybe tonight. Can't believe it was a week ago I was tidying my desk before I took off for five days. The time keeps flying.