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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Episode 3 - Fun without alcohol is a lie

Dear god poker is boring. Thanks Ace - you've ruined it for me 😄. I was more than happy in my blissful ignorance about my excessive alcohol consumption. (I actually get a very detailed medical done every year and I've never had the doctor raise even the smallest of concerns so hopefully I'll continue my 100% success rate at being immortal).

I got the idea of totalling up my beer consumption and posting a running total throughout my month in Vegas and I started to worry myself - my propensity to drink is unnerving so I thought I'd take a few days off the booze to let my body recover since I'd been on the sauce from Thursday evening through Saturday.

So after overdoing the booze on Thursday, Friday & Saturday last weekend I decided to not drink for the next few days. I'd normally do this at home without a second thought but I usually don't do it when I'm travelling.

Not even a solitary beer - I have literally no self control so none is actually easier than just being sensible and only having 1 or 2 beers.

On Sunday I decided to play poker again - sober. I don't think I've played poker stone cold sober in Vegas ever before - those free beers have always lured me with their Sirens' song. Dear god it was dull, my table mates were as interesting as dishwater and their jokes were as funny as a sharp pain in the chest and left arm area. I need beer, but for once I'm going to resist its allure.

I just about managed a 3 hour session on Sunday afternoon but it was painful. It just wasn't fun. The waitress actually asked me if I was ill when I ordered a soft drink rather than a beer.

I'm not doing that again, whilst I'll be working (and therefore not playing poker) all week I'm more than capable of not having a beer but you can bet your last dollar that the next time I'm at the poker table it will be with a bottle of beer in my hand and a smile on my face because poker fun without alcohol is just a lie.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Episode 2 - Your drinking powers are weak old man

So here I am nearly a week into a month's stay in Vegas. It's been interesting. I detailed the first day in my previous entry and the next couple of days were spent working so nothing really to report apart from hoping a particular passenger on flight AA1237 on Wednesday morning is tasered painfully. I don't have much patience at the best of times, especially on a 7.45am flight, but surely a sensible thing to do if you're having a coughing fit is to stop shovelling cheetos into your face for long enough to actually clear your airways rather than spread yellow dust throughout the cabin like in some sort of outbreak movie. This went on for a good 75 minutes from the time she boarded in LAS until we deplaned at LAX - how she got that many bags of cheetos in her luggage was one thing but who the fuck eats about 2 pounds of these things for breakfast?

So anyway - Thursday evening and I'm like a kid whose school is out for summer. I resist the urge to put my tie round my head and set fire to my briefcase whilst I head to LAX to catch a 5.30pm flight back to LAS. As soon as I'm done with security I hit the Flagship lounge's bar to get my alcohol levels up and ready for Vegas mode. Having turbo-necked 3 or 4 drinks I head onto the plane and sink 2 G&Ts before arriving and catching a cab back to the Signature. Quick change of clothes and I'm off to Planet Hollywood by 7.30pm for a bite to eat at Yolos and some cash game action.

Now I don't know what it is about PH but every time I've ever played there the cash game is mental - there is always some loon throwing money about like it's confetti. I've never had anything other than a crazy session there - until now. I was the action player at this table so I only lasted an hour or so. Only hand of note was flopping the 2nd nut flush whilst on the button and getting check called all the way by the BB - who had the nut flush and actually tank called my river bet before telling his neighbour that he played that brilliantly. So I lost $100 or so on that hand rather than a full buy in which left me down $50 or so. At least the beers were coming round quickly enough to keep me occupied.

It's after 9 when I head back to the MGM - I can't be bothered playing poker too far away as it's a longer drunken stumble back to the Signature. There's a bit of a list so I head to TAP for a couple of beers before being called. Another unremarkable session that ends down about $50 having been ridiculously card dead for most of my session. Usual iffy waitress service means my alcohol levels are pretty static until I decide to call it a night at about 2am - it's only Thursday night and really don't want to peak too soon before enjoying the long weekend.

Friday morning and I'm up before 8 and I need to decide where to watch the football - my team are playing at midday. I settled on the Crown & Anchor on Tropicana - having walked there (I'm a Londoner and a couple of miles is nothing to us although I probably wouldn't do it after dark) I'd built up quite a thirst so I'm ordering my first drink of the day and it's not even half 11. 4 beers later and having seen us lose 2-0 I head dejectedly back out into the sunshine and back over to the strip and it's only just hit 2pm.

I walked back via the Hofbrauhaus, where I stopped for a pit stop and another beer, before continuing all the way down Harmon back to PH. Surely the game can't be as bad as it was yesterday can it? It's not great so I only last an hour before buying in for the tournament, which is why I'd gone to PH in the first place. The tournament ends about 8pm in a 5 way chop for a $350 profit and I'm starving. I've not eaten all day even though I've been drinking since before noon.

Now one of the only things I don't like about being on my own when I travel is eating in restaurants by myself. I much prefer to sit at the bar which is why I tend to frequent the same places time after time. So I head back over to the MGM and throw a decent sized burger and 2 more beers down my throat at TAP. That's definitely hit the spot now and I've got an appetite for my third poker session of the day.

It's whilst at the table at the MGM where I played with a guy who kept getting told that it was English only at the table (blog to follow as it's a bit long winded) but the session was reasonably successful and I booked a $150 win together with working on my drinking challenge (see below) before stumbling back to the Signature at about 3am. "How long is this weekend? It's only Friday night isn't it" my liver is screaming. I think I'm getting old.

On Saturday morning I decided to play a better structured tournament rather than the usual Vegas offering of blinds doubling every level. Or as I call them "you've paid your money now hurry up and fuck off so you can lose more money in the casino". I checked pokeratlas - hmmm there's a decent tournie at Aria but the buyin is a bit too rich for my blood at $26,000 so I settled on the $30k guaranteed pool at the Wynn for a better price of $230. Again I walked up there along Koval and only got offered drugs twice which considering it's only 11am is pretty impressive. Or depressing, if I look like the sort of guy who is out to buy drugs at 11am.

Didn't play badly but got card dead after 3 levels and ended up having to shove my last 8 or so BBs holding KQ suited and got called by pocket 10s which held - that killed 4 hours of Saturday so the day is still young when I switch to the cash tables. I've also only had 4 beers over those 4 hours - on the rare occasion I decide to play a tournament that might last well into the night I limit myself so I can still see straight if I last that long. So my lack of alcohol is getting rectified the moment I sit down.

Another unremarkable session ensued (I make a point of not forcing action at lower stakes, IME recreational players in Vegas at low limits really don't pay attention so there's no point trying to triple barrel bluff someone off top pair) and 3 hours into my session I realise I've not eaten since a small fruit salad that I had for breakfast about 9am so I head off back down to the MGM, along the strip this time as there's no way I'm doing the back route at night, stopping off at the steakhouse in MGM then the bar in the Signature for a couple of drinks before crashing out just after 1 am. Seriously? 1am? I'm ashamed of myself now. Your drinking powers are weak old man.

Which is where I'll leave this entry - it's Sunday morning and although I've got work to do I'm not going to be in LA until Wednesday so I can have a bit more fun over the next couple of days.

Current progress on my attempt to drink my own weight challenge* (see comments in my previous entry for more details):

Monday & into Tuesday - equivalent 22 bottles of beer

Tuesday - zero

Wednesday - zero

Thursday - equivalent 17 bottles of beer

Friday - equivalent 22.5 bottles of beer

Saturday - equivalent 18 bottles of beer

So I've consumed a total of 79.5 bottles of beer equivalent being 27.8kg or 61.3 pounds - given that I weigh about 180 pounds I've consumed 1/3 of my body weight's worth of beer since I left London on Monday. Fuck - that's quite worrying - or impressive. Not sure what's worse to be honest.

*Do not undertake a body weight beer consumption challenge without first consulting your doctor. Who will tell you that you're an idiot for even attempting to do anything so fucking stupid.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

On the road again

I've just started a trip that I've been putting off for a while - I'm now in Las Vegas and will be between here and LA until the end of the month. I really don't like being away from home for this long but a flight back home from the west coast solely for the weekend just isn't as viable as from the east coast. When I'm in NY I'll often take a Friday evening flight, sleep on the short service and arrive back home early Saturday morning before having a weekend with the cost centres before returning on a Monday flight where I can work most of the way so as to not waste a day.

But flights from the west coast are a lot more expensive than from NY due to the increased distance plus the lower number of flights home. Plus the extra 3 hours time difference is a killer when trying to avoid jet lag so I've bitten the bullet and decided to not travel home until at least after Thanksgiving, after which my trips to the US will probably dry up until the new year.

I arrived on Monday and did my usual routine of settling myself in gently. Or I would have done if I'd been remotely sensible, which I'm not. I went nuts.

It's a late afternoon flight from London so I worked at home in the morning before heading to the airport at lunchtime, arriving just after 2pm for a 4pm flight. Some drinks were consumed in the lounge, then some more with lunch and a welcome drink on boarding the plane.

Once we were airborne I scooped a couple of drinks whilst working for a few hours then having something to eat with another couple of drinks before having a few hours nap ahead of landing around 7pm feeling totally refreshed. It's 8.30 or so once I've checked in at the Signature, unpacked and showered before deciding what to do. If this blog were titled "Tales of low stakes poker and boring normality" I obviously would have had an early night - but it's drunken idiocy isn't it. Which I got in spades.

I headed straight to the poker room and got seated almost immediately - pretty unremarkable 7 hour session coupled with far too many beers than is healthy and I stumbled back to the room around 4am.

Up at 8am today and after a few coffees I'm starting to feel slightly more human than expected but I've got work to do so no more shenanigans to report for a few days, I'm heading to LA on Wednesday and Thursday but I've deliberately kept Friday clear to hopefully kick off the weekend with a good dose of drunken idiocy, starting with watching Norwich City play in the Premier League with a midday Friday kick off. Beers, of course, will be consumed once I've decided where to watch the game.

The rest of the weekend I've got no major plans apart from intending to play some poker and drink my own body weight in beer - it's always good to have achievable goals.