Friday, December 6, 2019

Leaving Las Vegas

It feels like I've been here for an eternity, but it's only been just over 3 weeks. But 3 weeks in a hotel is close enough to an eternity. It feels like I've drunk my body weight in beer, but it's only been... oh hang on.

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I headed to NY, spending Wednesday with a client there and picking up Mrs AC (who I haven't seen since Halloween) before the both of us flew back to London for the long Thanksgiving weekend. We both flew back to NY on the Sunday (story on that to come as we had a very good flight) and I'm going to be there for a week before heading back home and my travelling will be done for the rest of the year. Mrs AC is flying to the U.K. for Christmas and depending on other factors I may fly back with her after the new year.

My final tally on my attempt to drink my own weight's worth of beer was the equivalent of 240.5 bottles - that's 84kg or 185 pounds against my pre challenge weight of 182 pounds (I usually weigh 13 stone give or take a few pounds). That's even more impressive considering I actually had 9 completely sober days since my challenge began on November 4. I don't think I'd have managed this at my regular pace without having people in town for the last weekend - I managed a quite frankly scary 86 bottles equivalent over a 4 day period which equates to over 1/3 of my monthly intake. Ace had postulated that I'd be raiding the bar carts on the way home to bump my numbers which I could well have done if needed but my nerd like tendencies came to the fore by tracking this all on a spreadsheet so I knew I didn't need to go nuts on the flight home (probably a good thing as I really didn't want to explain to Mrs AC why I was turbo necking drinks rather than sleeping on the short overnight flight).

Post challenge my weight had ballooned by 3 pounds but I'm attributing the gain to not walking my usual amount since I've been in LA for much of the time - in London and NY I generally walk around a lot but I find I'm either stuck in one place or using cabs all the time when I'm working in LA.

In honour of my achievement stupidity Mexico has announced that because I've drunk enough Coronas it's awarding me the Order of the Aztec Eagle (their highest civilian award) and that they are going to send His Orangeness a contribution to get his wall started - maybe it's my empty bottles as they probably reach a decent height if stacked on top of each other. No - I'm not even going to think about working out what that is before anyone asks and I certainly don't want to be searchable using the term "8 inches of Mexico's finest".

Thanks for reading and commenting over the last few weeks - having something to write up has kept me almost sane over the last few weeks. I've still got a couple of interesting stories to write up and I'll publish these shortly. I hope I've kept you entertained with my drunken exploits and maybe even inspired you to complete your own drinking challenge (but seriously don't, it's not big and it's not clever, albeit it was fun).

I'll likely be back in LA / Vegas some time in February or March next year - my liver might have recovered by then.

And if anyone knows a way of getting Super Bowl tickets please let me know - prior to Sunday's game Mrs AC was more worried than Jeffrey Dahmer's pizza delivery boy as if the 49ers kept their form up it looked like she might owe me a trip to Miami at the start of February. But now I can't see it happening although I'm certainly not showing any lack of confidence in front of Mrs AC!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Oh how the other half live

Fuck knows how much I drank on Thursday but it was a lot - I can usually tell how many beers I had over a poker session by counting how much is left in my tip pocket but given most of my drinks were free pour I've estimated it a bit. But I'm erring on the conservative side and it still came out to the equivalent of 27 bottles of beer once I'd plugged the numbers into my spreadsheet (yes - I am such a nerd that I'm tracking it on a spreadsheet!). It was mostly wine, champagne & spirits though - the only time I had a couple of beers was after dinner on the casino floor. But that's still a shit load of booze - my heaviest day yet.

I'm not doing that again soon. Oh wait - we are as it's now late Saturday morning and we've arranged to meet for an early afternoon cocktail. And by cocktail I mean the plural variety. Oh joy. It's a good job I had a quiet (by comparison) Friday to recover.

I can't cope with walking so I take a cab back to the Wynn and I'm escorted to their suite by a butler. This suite is bigger than my house - there's a fucking elevator inside the suite to take you between levels if you're too drunk to use the stairs. Oh how the other half live.

The butler makes a Bloody Mary for me and there's also champagne on ice alongside a buffet. I'm also offered a "Colombian livener" to which I politely decline.

We chat about Thursday night's exploits - they left the strip club about 6am so I'm called a lightweight for leaving early and missing the fun on Friday. Normally I'd be offended by this moniker but amongst such esteemed drinking company I know my place. They had also arranged "dates" on Friday evening so I'm doubly glad I told them I was busy.

We drink and chat for an hour or so and there's a pool table to keep us amused - $100 a frame games of pool are more than fun when you spent as much time in pool and snooker halls as I did when I was a student 😄.

So by the time we head out we've already had a decent amount of booze - it's not even pushing 4pm yet so there's some more drinking to be done. But even then we're not off to dinner just yet - we're slumming it at the hockey as our host is a big fan (we've been to Rangers games together before). Well by slumming it I mean decent centre ice seats about 20 yards from the bar.

So down the strip we head for a few pre game beers in the pub at NYNY. Oh beer - how I've missed thee. I feel like I've been cheating on you with fancy red wine and champagne. Fuck. Did I really write that down rather than just thinking it?

After a few beers we headed into the hockey - via the bar of course and we continued to drink throughout the game. One thing I love about American sports is being able to drink at your seat - it's actually illegal in England to do this at football as for years there was a big hooligan problem and adding booze to the problem was never going to end well.

The game was a side event to a 2 hour drinking session and as we leave the arena our host enquires whether we want to eat before our next adventure - a resounding fuck yeah means we wander up to the Bellagio for a late dinner at Prime. Plus booze, truck loads more booze. Champagne to start plus more lovely red wine whilst devouring decent sized steaks.

After dinner we wander down the Strip before heading over to Hakkasan at the MGM just after midnight. No waiting in line for us as our host has booked a table, complete with the obligatory ton of booze and girls wearing next to nothing offering to help us drink it. What is it about a champagne cork popping being able to have girls buzzing round you like bees round a honeypot? In some version of the multiverse there must be an equivalent of Pavlov's dog using a champagne cork as the stimulus and scantily clad ladies as the test subjects.

We say our goodbyes as we get kicked out (not literally) just after 4am and I'm lucky it's only a short drunken stumble back over to the Signature, which by comparison to their suite now seems a bit poky.

So another stupidly drunken weekend in Vegas is at an end - at the time I still wasn't 100% sure what my plans are for the rest of the week. I'm either heading home on Wednesday via NY (picking up Mrs AC along the way) or she's coming here for Thanksgiving and I'm spending another week or so here. Please let me go home though - after this weekend I think I'm broken!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Pray for mojo

When I'm the sensible one at the table I know it's going to be messy night.

So my client is in town and I meet him at dinner on Thursday (the week before Thanksgiving) night at the SW steakhouse at the Wynn. I'm stone cold sober, having not drunk anything since Sunday evening. My client is not sober, nor are his other guests - 2 other guys, 1 of whom I've met a couple of times before. He tells me they've been on the booze (and from their appearance presumably more illegal substances) since they left NY at lunchtime. From the looks of them it looks like it was a long flight.

There's champagne on the table so I'm encouraged to catch up to their states of drunkenness. I don't need asking twice. Shots are ordered with the appetisers and there's some very nice wine ordered too. Fuck knows how this lot are actually capable of tasting it but I'm not letting it go to waste.

Dinner is finished and we've probably got through a bottle of wine apiece, 2 bottles of champagne between us plus a couple of shots each and some whisky to finish. This dinner has probably cost more than my entire month's stay but he* signs it off with the same nonchalance that I'd tip a cocktail waitress a buck for bringing me a beer.

"The night is still young my friends" he announces as we leave the restaurant. Fuck. I was hoping he wouldn't say this - this is a precursor to him really getting started. To him, we've only just begun. But he's right - it's only 10pm and I'm certainly not capable of calling it a night this early.

We hit the tables and spend an hour or so getting more drunk there before he decides he wants to see some boobs! Now I've never been to see strippers in Vegas before - no one ever believes this but it's true. So I actually have no idea where a strip club might be - that's not a problem though as he's a regular at one particular place and has already called them to arrange transportation for the short ride there.

There's bottles of champagne and tequila on the table shortly after we arrive and he's in his element while admiring the ladies who are keen to attract his attention - who says that money isn't an aphrodisiac?

We spend a few hours in there before I head off at about 3.30am - even I can only take so much and as I leave he tells me to call him so we can make more plans for the weekend. Fuck. I'm not getting off easily.

I head off in a cab and pass out back at the Signature around 4am and I'm rudely awakened at 7am by my phone ringing. It's Mrs AC and I'd usually be up by this time. She knows I was out last night and knows exactly about the guy I was out with - he's effectively her boss (or about 3 levels up I think) so it's totally deliberate that she's calling me so early knowing how much pain I'll be in.

I'm not capable of telling her much other than

She calls me an idiot and says she'll call back later when I've had a chance to wake up.

Which is where I'll leave it for now - it's only Friday morning and the weekend has barely started!

* I'm going to clarify this - normally in a business entertaining situation the client is on the receiving end of any hospitality and the service provider (ie me) would take the client out. In this case the person that I'm referring to is our host - he has invited us to join him therefore he will (I assume personally) cover the bill. He is very "old school" and assumes that the host should cover the bill. Between us we have a more friendly relationship than client & service provider and, to coin a relevant phrase, he doesn't expect a quid pro quo, albeit when I invite him out in NY I would play the host (but there's no way my evening hosting him would cost 4 figures).

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

4 bucks in his pocket and he’s still got more money than sense

In my previous entry I'd lamented the lack of crazy play at PH - until this trip I'd never had a boring session there but I've had 3 in a row now. All the crazies have gone. And now I know where to.

It's after 11 when I sit down back at the MGM and there's already a lot of table talk. "What the fuck?" "What sort of idiot jams with that?" are the sorts of comments coming from my table mates' mouths. It turns out one of the previous hands had involved a 3 way AIPF - aces v kings v 8-6 off!! Dear god this is going to be fun. More so considering the 8-6 had won and the crasian still stacking his luckboxed chips has close to $3k in front of him, and obviously chip magnets at the bottom of his stack as my neighbour tells me he's been on a heater for the last hour or so although he's probably on his 4th or 5th buy in.

It seemed no 2 cards were bad enough for this guy not to raise preflop. He'd take a 3 bet as a personal insult and would put players' mettle to the test. Do you really want to get a buy in on the table with a medium pocket pair, suited connectors or a middling ace? Oh hell yes. If his range is any 2 cards then if I've got a hand that beats what is effectively a blind shove I'll take my ticket and get in line. But there's also 7 other players thinking the same thing.

After a couple of orbits I'm down a buy in when my pocket 10s get outdrawn by A-6off and our crasian has seen his stack dwindle to about $1,500 as virtually every second hand he's up or down $300 as everyone at the table looks to get a double up from him. Why the fuck do these idiots actually play poker? He could have 4 bucks in his pocket and still have more money than sense I comment to my neighbour. But is this actually fun to him? Just jamming and hoping? Anyway I'm not going to mope about it so once I rebuy I just sit and wait. And drink - that was obvious wasn't it?

Our crasian has lost his luckboxed chips and dusted off another 3 or 4 buyins that I saw whilst I was sat down - my neighbour thinks he lost close to $3k over a few hours. I can sort of get the adrenaline rush when it comes to gambling but why not leave with a profit? Or is the thrill in the chase rather than the catch? What goes on in the heads of these nutters is beyond me.

There's literally no real poker to report - just as there is no point trying to argue with idiots you also can't outplay them as their thought process is non existent. The good news is I cashed out for $1,250, the bad news is I was in the game for 4 $300 buy ins so an eventful albeit ultimately barely profitable 4 hours saw me head off at 3am.

Another 6 beers logged - running total 125.5 (44kg / 97 pounds)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Warming up for the main event

Vegas must be home to some of the shittest drug dealers on the planet. Are they really just standing there offering up their wares to every passerby? If they are then how the fuck are they not all in jail? I was offered drugs, again more than once and again before midday.

On Saturday I decided to play at the Orleans (thanks to those who advised me on Twitter) - I've never played there before but I fancied a change of venue so at 9.30 I headed out, through the MGM and across the Strip for the 2 or so mile walk down Tropicana to the Orleans. As it's so early there aren't many people about so I'm making a decent pace rather than having to swerve round tourists gazing inanely at stuff as if they've never seen any fancy lights before.

Before I've even walked 1/2 way there I'm offered drugs twice - do I really look like I want to buy drugs at 9.30am? I'm also walking at a decent pace (my friends call me the snow plough as I walk quickly and all they have to do is walk directly behind me and I've generally cleared a path through any crowd).

I could sort of understand their rationale of offering me drugs if I look dishevelled but I'm clean shaven and have fresh clothes on. They really must just hope that by offering to everyone they'll eventually make a sale. Or get arrested. Or is this a ruse to get people to stop then 3 burly guys (or I suppose as we're in the land of the free, 1 scrawny guy exercising his 2nd Amendment rights) jump out and mug the mark? Either way I barely break stride anymore when anyone off Strip approaches me.

Having stopped for coffee and breakfast along the way I arrive at the Orleans at 10.30ish - very nice poker room and I'm surprised how big it is. A beer is scooped during the first orbit and I settle down for a few hours of poker. Shit cards and missed draws meant I only lasted a couple of hours but I've been topping up my beer levels which has kept me interested. So about 2pm I head back over to the Strip, in a cab this time as I can't be bothered to walk. The day is still young but I'm not sure how much poker I want to play. Maybe a few beers can make my mind up so I head to the Linq which has a decent bar serving a multitude of weird and wonderful beers.

I sat there for an hour or so and watched some of the college football which I rarely do - although I'm a fan of the NFL I find the American fascination with college sports a bit weird. I can understand supporting a team that's local to you or where you studied but supporting a team from halfway across the country is just odd. But that might be just me being British as there's not really a culture of college sports in the U.K. - the only famous one being the university boat race but the same two teams make the final every year.

So anyway - after a few beers I decided I did, in fact, want to play some more poker. So off down the Strip to PH I went to enter their 4pm tournament which I'd cashed in last Friday.

No such luck today and I'm out inside an hour so I sit down for another unremarkable cash game. Have they started putting downers in the free drinks or something? Where have all the crazies gone? This is the 3rd time I've had a less than exciting time here in the last 2 weeks but at least the waitress service is good and it's 8pm before I realise that I haven't eaten since before arriving at the Orleans this morning.

Back to the MGM I head for something to eat at Emeril's fish restaurant - very decent food and a couple of glasses of a very nice Chardonnay set me up well for another session of poker, but little was I to know that the whole day had just been a warm up for the main event. And this time the craziest of all the crazies was at the MGM rather than at PH - which I'll tell you about in my next entry.

Total beers consumed (pre poker session) - 12 bottles

Running total - 119.5 bottles (41.8kg / 92 pounds). I'm over 50% of the way to my target!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Episode IV - A new hope for an old favourite

You can't win sobriety, if you strike me down I'll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

After my sober Sunday I wasn't intending to play poker (and therefore not drink as well) until the weekend but I'd completely forgotten that Monday is a holiday here, which explains why I'm not getting any calls or e-mails and I've finished what I needed to do in half the time than I expected. So at 1pm I head out for a wander up the strip with my only plan being to watch the 49ers on MNF. 

I ended up at Caesars (the pedant in me wants an apostrophe there) for a pretty swingy session. In the first orbit I'm up a buy in with Aces AIPF against a player who claimed to hold Queens but didn't show but then lost most of it back an hour or so later with pocket 7s, flopping a set but getting outdrawn to the nut flush. At least I've got a few beers in me to cheer me up and just before 5pm I head back down to the MGM for some food, more beers and to watch the game.

Not a good result but it was a great game - at the start of the season Mrs AC and I jokingly promised to take each other to the Super Bowl if either of our teams got there and she has started to get a little nervous so losing to our main divisional rivals is not a good omen. Given that Mrs AC is a Giants fan any risk of me paying for the trip was over months ago 🤣. Not a huge beer intake but I'm definitely on track to smash my challenge (over the course of a month, even I'm not stupid enough to attempt to drink my own body weight over a weekend).

Tuesday through Thursday were spent working and therefore not drinking so by the time Friday comes I'm in the mood for a few drinks. Again I'm on the early evening flight from LAX so make use of the bar in the Flagship lounge to hydrate myself. Usual G&T on board and for once I fancy eating before heading out to play poker - but I want something different rather than my usual burger, steak or pizza dinners that become my routine when travelling.

I really fancy a curry, it's been absolutely ages since I had one and I'm a big fan of spicy food but I had no idea of anywhere decent in Vegas. So tripadvisor came to the rescue and their top rated place is Mint Bistro on East Flamingo which by coincidence is not too far from the Signature. So once I've changed my clothes I jump in a cab for the short ride there.

I'm not a fanboy who gushes over places and wants to instagram every detail but this place was great. Very small place and therefore packed but worth the wait - fantastic food and an even better bar list. They even had a beer in my top 5 which I've only ever had at a couple of bars in Europe.

I'm definitely coming back - I might even be tempted by their inferno menu challenge where if you finish a ridiculously hot dish you get a place on their wall of fame.

So by the time I'd finished my curry it was getting late and I headed back to the MGM for more beers and a 3am finish ready for another weekend of fun.

The only noteworthy hand was literally the first hand I was dealt which sees me holding Ad-8d in the big blind. There's a raise from MP and a call from the button so I call to complete the action.

The flop is a marvellous A-A-8. Boom. I check, hoping the preflop raiser will bet but it's to my disappointment that he doesn't and the button checks behind. Bearing in mind that I have literally no history with anyone at the table it's pretty hard to put either player on any sort of range but the look on the preflop raiser's face of complete disgust at seeing 2 aces on the flop is replaced by one of utter joy when he sees the turn card which comes a King. He's definitely not got an ace here - quite possibly pocket kings. I'm guessing the button doesn't have A-K here as he probably would have bet on the flop. I check and the preflop raiser bets $25, which is flat called before getting to me. I think for a bit before raising to $75 and the initial raiser reraises to $200. The button then calls. I've only just bought in for $300 so I may as well get it all in which is called by both other players who have another couple of hundred behind. The MP and button get it all in on a blank river card.

I turn over my hand and the MP player tables KK, the button mucks (he later says he had an ace) and I scoop a treble up on the first hand. Literally nothing of any interest after that hand and I bag a very decent $750 profit over the course of my 4 hour session.

Weekly booze challenge numbers:

Sunday - zero
Monday - 12 bottles
Tuesday to Thursday - zero
Friday - 16 bottles

Running total - 107.5 bottles (37.6kg / 82.9 pounds)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Dear god no. I've just had some news, upon hearing this my liver has tended its resignation and told me I'm on my own.

I'm getting a visitor in Vegas this coming weekend (the one before Thanksgiving). It's a very senior guy at a client of mine (the only reason I mention his rank is because I'm sort of obligated to make an effort when it comes to socialising with clients as he will, in some part, influence any future business I do with his firm) and he makes me look like a Boy Scout when it comes to drinking. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing, he's usually straight-laced and very professional - until he's out of the office environment and he's let out to party.

He thinks the wolf of Wall Street was a documentary - and that it missed out most of the debauchery that happened back in the day. He's a complete animal when he's off the leash - I've been out with him socially before and it wasn't pretty. And now I've potentially got a good part of a weekend with him.

He's also a fan of partying with ladies who charge by the hour and of ingesting Colombia's finest export - neither of which are my cups of tea but at least I can point him in the direction of some dealers given my interactions over the last couple of weekends.

I think the only thing that's going to save me is that he's not going to slum it in the Signature - I assume he'll be in a fancy suite somewhere. Hopefully he'll party so hard he'll end up on the roof of Caesers for the weekend, if he does maybe we should make a movie out of it?

If I suddenly go quiet you'll know that I've been broken but I'll try to remember at least some of the details for my usual episode of drunken idiocy.

I've still got a few days' worth of exploits to write up so some entries may be out of chronological order - you won't be as confused as me after I've spent a few evenings with my visitor though.