Work commitments mean this one is a little late, but is a 3 parter. This part will cover the main trip, the other two will cover my day at the Aria tournament and the final part will be a small write up of the SLS vs the Sahara.
Flights over on Xmas day were very agreeable as BA gave us a free upgrade to business, which is always a good start to any trip. Changing at Chicago was not quite as painful as we expected and AA delivered us to Vegas early evening. We went to pick up our car and I then understood why car hire prices had gone through the roof. The car park was practically empty. Vegas was going to be busy this year. But it was cold, and for Vegas I mean cold…..
Our latest adventure was a trip back to the Philippines, last seen last year here. Our flight was via Hong Kong and was pretty stress free. We got to experience Cathay Pacific Business class on our second leg, so that set up the trip pretty well.
That evening we hit The Butchers Shop pub and restaurant for some well earned reacquaintance with the repertoire of the San Miguel brewery. They didn’t disappoint with the Cerveza Negra being added to Sam Mig Light and Pilsner as drinks I would have again ! I also came across a newcomer to the market from a local craft brewery called the Katipulan Craft Ale. I say brewery, this stuff is hand made ale, and although a bit bitter its great.
Last week (Sunday) work took me and a colleague to Canada, to undertake a business process that had to be done in person. As is normal , a suit, etc is order of the day, so even though I was only away for a few days i packed a case to put in the hold.
We were booked with Air Canada, someone who I have used on many occasions and never had an issue. I arrived at the newly opened Terminal 2 Heathrow in plenty of time, so you can imagine I was surprised when I was given a standby ticket. Turns out my colleague was as well, and she had checked in prior to me !
One of the best things to do while in Vegas is get a car to get off the strip. I know the whole point of travelling all that way is to stay on the strip, but with the amount of trips we do, sometimes is nice to have a look around at where real people live, and more importantly eat. If you take a look at the my previous posts from this city, you will find a few foodie options off the strip.
As this trip was solo, nice dinners in fancy restaurants wasn’t really on the menu (ha), but good old fashioned, start the day well, breakfast was. So I decided yelp was my friend, and I picked out 2 of the top rated off strip venues for breakfast. The only criteria for me was that they had to be local joints.
First up for me was the Black Bear Diner on Tropicana. I didn’t know until i got there this was part of a smallish chain across 8 states, so not completely local, but 5 miles off the strip meant pretty much locals only. Taking a look at the menu, a lot caught my eye, however the Hungry Man Steak and Eggs looked favourite. Steak and Eggs was a new thing for me for brekkie, but hey I like both, so why not. Let me tell you this, I should of done this years ago. The Steak was perfect, the eggs just the right side of runny, and the hash was out of this world. The coffee and water kept coming and I left a happy man. Cept no wifi, which is a pain when in a restaurant on your own with nothing to do. Service was functional but no more. No chat, no smile. Hey, I have an East London accent, at least ask me if I’m from Australia like everybody else does in Vegas ! In short 14 bucks well spent, and I didn’t go hungry all day.
Two days later, I hit the road again based on the recommendations of other good breakfast hunters like myself and hit up Mr Mamas on S.Decatur. This was the real deal local cafe. Wedged between a gun shop and an aftermarket car wheel shop on a small strip mall, this place looked for all the world like a greasy spoon from home. Good start. As soon as i went in , I got talking to the manager while they cleared me a table (this was 08.15 on a Monday and the place was packed). Turns out his mother was English. So in order to be fair I order the Steak and Eggs breakfast and coffee. They had wi-fi, and really good staff who spoke to me while I was waiting, and made me feel at home. The family next door to me had french toast, and they were never going to finish the portion that came out, even if I got stuck in as well. Things were looking good.
My plate arrived and the first thing i noticed was the steak. A little smaller the the BBD, but still juicy. The eggs however were a little too oily , but edible ( 🙂 ). The hash was very standard. All in all, it was good but i think I had been spoiled by the BBD. But the staff and the atmosphere was so much better and I really wanted the food to be better as well.
So we have to go to the judges cards for the final decision.
In the red corner we have the Black Bear Diner.
A solid 9.5 / 10
In the blue , we have Mr Mamas.
A well deserved 9/10.
So this fight is won by a .5 decision to the new Breakfast Champion of Vegas – The Black Bear Diner.
But I believe Mr Mamas deserves a rematch as a minimum and will hopefully win the title.
One more point. AMERICANS please take notice.
This is bacon.
This is overcooked and full of fat.
So if you have any comments on somewhere else I should try let me know (or if you know why you flatly refuse to serve proper bacon).
Due to having some more time on my hands, I managed to organise a solo tour back to Vegas, to see if I could still play poker. I used to play online a lot, but that has died off over the years, and in order to play sometimes you need long sessions, which is not fair if you are travelling with someone else. So off I went last week.
Warning: This is full of poker content so maybe not for everyone. Feel free to move on.
Day 1 Wednesday. Landed from London, after a long old flight, as we had to come on a different approach to vegas to normal. This added about 30 mins to an already 10+ flight. First win of the day was picking up my car. My order for a focus, had turned into a Mustang. Result.
A quick 350 profit a the black tables, funded some shopping for MrsMrBen so i headed of to Caesars to pick up some bits and pieces. This was a fail, as they didn’t have what I (she) wanted .Never mind I got my first taste of In N Out of the way back. I will be back, put it that way. I also dropped in Planet Hollywood to see what they had in place for tournaments, but to be honest I was too tired so I headed back home but managed to book a $215 craps profit pre bedtime.
Day 2: Jet lag ensured i was up early ( I actually went for a run on the strip at 545am !), so while waiting for shops to open I managed to book a 420 profit on a craps table but put 100 back into the casino coffers via the BJ table. Shopping over, I played the 1pm at the Aria. It has been said before by many but this is the best run tournament in town bar none. I lasted out with average chips post the second break (my longest in this tournament). I then got a quick double with my AQ turning a full house against KK (in which he had hit a straight). AQ was going to become an important hand for me during the week. Anyway, soon after, I had QQ up against AK, and lost to a A on the river. Grrr. Out in about 30th (about 130 runners). Not bad but no money. For reference, the five 50 slice counter is very handy for the poker room during a break.
The rest of the day was spent throwing money away playing craps.
Day 3: This was the day of the weigh in for the Mayweather Molina fight and I fully intended to get over to the MGM. I played the Excalibur 9am crap shoot and bombed bady. I was over in the MGM in time for weigh in but, the Q was about 3 miles long so i sacked it off for the MGM poker room instead. Good move on my part as I made $579 profit (which to be fair covered some bad craps and BJ play earlier in the day). Bought in with 200. First hand was AA which i managed to knock out to a 70 buck profit. Great start. Later on I got back to back trips (8’s and 4’s), which took me up to about 460. The 8’s were the biggest of the two wins, and i really hollywooded it out to get the call on the river (huffa and puffs, dont really want to be in this hand looks, etc). This really pissed the other player off, but outside of nasty stares that’s as far as it went. I could of got him all in, as he had the case 8 to also have trips, but i had the better kicker, but to be honest i played the river badly, as i thought he had checked, so i bet 50, which it turned out was out of turn, so he just called rather than pushing which he was going to do. Never mind.
This sums up the luck i got in the session for me. I managed to win a $50 pot with AK, against nothing. The guy was just putting in 10s and 15s with air. Thanks bud. My last hand was a6d. The flop was 68K against 4 players with 15$ each in the pot (75). There was a check around to me and i left it (as someone must have the king). Up pops an A on the turn giving me a nice disguised 2 pair. I reraised a 15$ bet to 45, and got one caller. The river was a 2, and he bet 45. Thanks mate, another 200 in the pot..
Day 4 was back to MGM on fight day to see if the ATM was still open for business. Lucky for me it was. It was quiet for 45 minutes and then this happen. A guy to my right wanted to bet all the time, and was more interested in the boxing and drinking with his mate. My kind of player. Anyway i get dealt K10s, 4 players to the flop ($40). Flop is a6s and 8h. So far so good. I pop 20 UTG, and get 2 callers. The turn give me a lovely 3s for the nut flush. my 25 dollar opener gets re-raised by the gambler to 75. Flat call from me. He pushes his remaining 45 on the blank river. I call, and he has……………………nothing at all. Thx bud, ship it (just over $400).
Next up I get 89c. I open with $7, 3 callers. K83 rainbow flop. I push in a 20 continuation bet, 1 caller. 8 on the turn gives me trips (again).I check he bets 40. I call with a huff (this is standard pattern for 888 !). Blank river. I Hollywood a 35 dollar opener on the river . He buys the huff and pushes 105. I call he mucks. Thanks.
So i cash in $271 up for this session. But on the way to the cash office in the poker room from my table my Oakleys had fallen from my shorts. BOOO. I went back the table, and there was already a guy in my seat that I’m convinced had picked them up, but with no proof I have to move on. Bad beat.
That evening i managed to book another craps profit, which put me back ahead for the trip.
Some wise investment in a Texas Dice slot (!) pay for the Mandalay Bay 10am. This is the first time I’ve played in the room. The room itself is nice, with comfy chairs. There are 18 runners. One local that i can see, and some tourists. Good enough so far. BUT the room is a shambles, We start 2 hands before the other table (the other dealer didn’t even know where to put the button so he asked ours). The blind raises were not announced, so we were up another 3 hands prior to the other table. Anyway, post the break they posted the payout structure. Top 2. What ? When I play online even a 10 hander pays 3 spots. Joke. Especially for a low buy in tourist tournament. First out is the local, which means the dealer can get on with dealing rather than him chatting incessantly to the local about helping him move house the next day. So where did i end up. 3 of course with no bubble deal. My A10 all in beat by an AK from the chip leader. No issues there, he was a nice guy (as were most of the other players). I hope the running of the tournament was a one off, as currently I have no issues with not recommending this room to anyone. Might of had to do with all the dealers wanting on the one playing cash table, which had at least 3 stacks of over 2k (playing 1-2), after a long all night session.
I gamble it up rest if day. Not good. Booked a small win at the end of the day to start last day
I play the noon tournament at Caesars, also off the back (mostly) of a slots win. This could of not been anymore different from a professional perspective. The room is nice, although a bit sterile, but the staff are top draw. I was average just before the break (you start with 10k), but 2 consecutive allin ‘s with AK prior to the break got me to 16k. First hand afterwards was qq which i went against an all in on a less than Q rainbow flop, to get up to 38k and the chip lead. I should of then stepped away from any marginal hands then but if i’m honest i felt a bit indestructible. There was a young french guy at the table who was racking up chips with very marginal hands. We were first and second, with about 12 left. I got AQ suited, UTG I raised to 2.5k (blinds were 300-600 i think). French guy goes allin. My thoughts are if i go with him i have a chip lead by miles and will cash. Bearing in mind his previous wins, I call. He has AK unsuited and wins. I go down to hardly any chips, so i leave soon after. Did i do the right thing ? No. Would i do it again? Maybe.
I play the Excalibur 5pm. and last one hour until i go allin with a slight chip lead with AQ, and come up against AK as well. Now the blinds of this structure are so quick, that you have to shove to be able to play after the break. But if nothing else it will make me play better with AQ in the future !
As it was my last night, i hit the craps tables with my new craps buddy, Rob from somewhere America. We book wins in Excal, NY NY (twice) and Monte Carlo which negates our initial losses in the Excal from earlier, which brings me up for the trip including all the shopping and other expenses. So another profitable trips ends.
Home the next day, and I sleep all the way back to London. As its not poker related I have one more food based post, which i will put up tomorrow.
The dice of life had rolled and I (we) had some spare time on our hands, so we took ourselves off for an unscheduled trip to Vegas (not a lot of poker content, some near the end, sorry Rob !).
Getting a car on landing is the only way to do it now, makes life so easy. So I picked up my MKZ from the airport and we were on our way. By the way, for speed and ease, Avis > Hertz (based on sample of 2 !).
We were in our nice hosted room in no time and were straight back out for dinner. The venue was to be Max’s Filipino Food on Flamingo. Max’s. Fastish food, but the crispy Pata ? Well, we will be back, put it that way.
A couple of decent table wins and our beds were calling.
Day 2 started with breakfast at the world famous Peppermill. Make sure you have a large appetite before you go, you will need it. Yes its tacky and neon, with multi coloured sugar in the dispensers, but the food is just………..mmmmm. So a big breakfast needs a big walk, so it was off to the outlets for a stroll and shop. I managed to get back in time to catch West Ham Sunderland in the MGM sports book. Learned that a dollar tip doesn’t get you too far for a beer in here! SO 8 dollars down but 3 points up it was back home for a gamble up. Another decent night at the tables gave me 5 straights wins at my table visits. The weekend was going well, roll on the week. That night we ate at Rice and Co in the Luxor. This place for sushi, etc is well underrated. BUT, don’t sit at the back, the aircon will kill you. But they will prepare Cali Maki’s if asked (not on the menu) and have a foursquare special to take a little off the bill (always useful in this town !).
Then the crash happened at the tables but was controlled and I was still ahead !!
Thanks to myvegas the next days breakfast at the Mandalay Bay was free, and another large feed at the buffet We took a drive around town, bought some sneakers in Caesars and then took off to the Town Square Shops. This place is more locals based than tourists and to be fair, wasn’t really for me. Until i found the cheapest A&F in Vegas. This place was a revelation, and will be on this list now for many visits in the future (car allowing !). That afternoon, i smashed the craps table for a few hundred so was good to go for the evenings festivities in KGB Burger in Harrahs. Another freebie thanks to MrsBen and Total Rewards.
Next day was the ever impressive Aria buffet (free !) and a gamble up on the strip. The gamble up did not work out for either of us, so we scuttled off home early after taking in the Bellagio conservatory. No penguins as spring is in the air, but good all the same. When were in the Bellagio, we saw 2 girls who had, what I can only describe as Arse Implants. This was the first time I have seen this, and I was taken aback (no pun intended – no photos either. I had one but it was blurry, I will see if MrsBen has any).
Thursday was the first day without the car so it was back to me in the pit and MrsBen at the pool. I don’t know who was more surprised, when i met her out at the pool, clutching 900 in chips from a 100 buyin on a Blackjack Table. Anyway, all donations gratefully received.
Buca de Beppo for dinner, courtesy of our pit boss and a few beers in the evening was a good start to our weekend preparations. I say preparations, we actually didn’t do a lot, apart from pool and tables. I hit another heater on the craps table to ensure went went home well in profit, and MrsBen was no slouch on the slots either and made quite a few bob for herself. We had our last evening meal in Camelot Steak House, which was quality as usual (and free !).
We left on sunday, well ahead cash wise of where we were to begin with, and with full bellies ! I also got the see WHU vs Liverpool, but least said the better. Apart for the American Liverpool fan in his Gerrard shirt, who I swear had never seen a game of football (soccer) in his life. The glory hunters have started and they haven’t even won the damn league yet !
SO POKER !………….
I got to play in the 9am crapshoot at the Excal twice and the 10.30 variant at the Luxor once. I could give you tales of bad beats, etc, and you know what, I will.
1. Made the break and went out pushing A9 (the best hand in poker) into 2 random diamonds, who made the flush on a A93 flopped board.In the final table.
2. Luxor, tried a couple of moves, got no hands, and ended pushing a lucky draw to get out early, and succeeded !
3. And this annoyed me. I have made the break, just about to final table but i am low in chips and blinds are coming round fast. I have an M of about 2 (!), so i push Q3 clubs. Not a great hand but I’m in a bind. As my chips were low I get 4 callers. Great. Flop is Q35. Even better. This will put me on the final table and in about 6th place, so something to work with. One guys goes in heavy. Everyone drops out. The guy next to me offers his condolences. I say, with more than rye grin “I might be in here”. I turn over my Q3, and get to see raise guy turn over……………………..33. No Q for me so I’m out. But he was a nice guy who also had a chip and a chair earlier, and had turned it around the be chip leader. So fair play says I.
One strange thing in the last tournament was one guy I will call Texas Pete. This guy was drunk but communicative and seemed to have an understanding of life at this point in time. He re raised a pot early on to about 3K (you start with 4). He had 300 left. Another guy went all in and had him covered. He asked how many chips the guy had left. He asked about 8 times. He ummed, he arred, then folded ? LOL WAT? REALLY? You have taken 1/2 a blind interval, to Fxxxing Fold. REALLLLLLYYYY???
Little bit later than expected, but heres the 3rd consecutive NYE report from me in Vegas. First off, it was a lot warmer than last year, which was great. Looking at the states now, looks like we timed it well.
We flew from London in premium with Virgin, which was a great experience thats needs to be repeated. Good service, good food and a bit of space. Arriving in Vegas refreshed we picked up a 2013 Impala which we had for the first 4 days. This made a massive difference in getting about and visiting places we usually wouldn’t of bothered with and saved a fortune in Taxis. First point of note. In and out isn’t open Xmas day (or at leased the one between the strip and the Orleans isn’t !). That night was pretty quite outside a trip to Palms ( http://www.palms.com not in a rush to get back !)
After another good night kip we hit the sales at the North Outlet Centre where i got all my xmas pressies and Mrs Mrben got some nice goodies as well. The trip back was interesting, as the ramp on to the I15 was shut and we had to take a detour into the bits of vegas people don’t see on the Travel channel. Driving down streets where everyone is sitting on the kerb, and the people standing up are nearly all pushing shopping trolleys and you don’t know where you are, sharpens the senses somewhat.
Anyway we popped in to the Hardrock Hotel (http://www.hardrockhotel.com) on the way back and it looks good enough to visit again. The layout is good and the music was fantastic, just a shame it was empty. More of a summer venue from what i understand.
The following day, was the big day out, with a trip to the Hoover Dam. First time i’d been there, and it was amazing. We did the full tour, and it was worth every penny. We went 60 stories down(!) in a lift and through some rough hewn tunnels to see the turbine room which is just massive. One of the many intersting things regarding the Dam was the fact it straddles the state line between Arizona and Nevada which also has a one hour time difference, which must be a pain if you live on one side and work on the other, which you can get to in 10 minutes due to the recent addition of the memorial bridge which speeds up the crossing no end for the non tourists. I’ve tried to get the scale of both in the photos but they are just huge, trust me. Having spend all day there we had a quiet night but on the way home visited the Pinball hall of fame. Now this is my type of place. One massive room full of pinball tables and old school arcade games. We spent a great 2 hours and a whole $5 and had a great time. A must do on any gamers Vegas visit. A quick visit my first IHOP for pancakes and we headed off. That evening we visited the Orleans, which had been on my list of off strip casinos to visit for many years. This place is as good as most strip casinos and was very busy as they also (for now) host the Vegas Ice Hockey Team. We also went that evening to another first for me, The Boiling Crab Restaurant. The food was good, but that was not the most memorable part of the journey, if fact the journey itself was. The states and the UK drive on different sides of the road, and that usually isn’t an issue . Unless the sat nav tells you to turn left and see a gap in the reservation of the 8 lane road. And you go for it, and then see the 2 lanes you are in both have arrows on pointing in the opposite direction to my direction of travel. Anyway, death averted as nobody came the other way, and i sped off back to the right side of the road.
Next day we had to give the car back, so we visited one more place, post lunch at the ever impressive Lemongrass, the National Atomic testing museum. As you may know, Nevada played a big role in the development of the Nuclear Arms race and this place covered all the history really well, with real bombs, etc on display.
With the car back at the airport, the gambling and fun began. That evening I had a nice craps run and put $500 back in the kitty. Next day I undertook my one and only Poker session, at the MGM. met up with Rob who I knew from allvegaspoker and his great blog. This was very appropriate as I got broken twice when holding the dreaded pocket kings. These are a staple of his blog, take a look. Dinner was back in the Aria for Five 50, their new pizza place. Massive pizzas, massive taste, terrible service, 4/5.
We were expecting friends on the Sunday, but due to a no show we headed down the strip to the shops at Caesars. They have the worlds biggest quality watch shop, and how I got out of there without spending all my pension was a miracle.
Monday was a food day, with the buffet at Mandalay Bay for breakfast and Buppo Di Beppo for lunch. Full. Full stop !
Next up was NYE. Nice day in the Casino with a $750 small jackpot from a wheel of Fortune machine. Good start to 2014 ! NYE on the strip was probably our best ever with a great position for the fireworks. Not as busy as usual (335k people on the strip down from 350k!).
Home next day, and a well earned kip on the plane nearly all the way home. For the record, Mrs Mrben came home with a whole 8 bucks less than she went with. All the more for next time. Enjoy the photos !
I need this at home
Paris in the winter
Arizona to the Right
The turbine room, Hoover Dam
A steel from the WTC at the National Atomic Testing Museum
This is a photo heavy entry so I’ll let them do most of the talking. The trip to Manila was a long one, as i was alone (Mrs Mrben had travelled ahead) via Singapore. It was my first trip on Singapore Airlines and they were fantastic. A true 5 star airline. Once we arrived in Manila it was the usual chaos: traffic, busy, flat out all day and night. We stayed in an Air BnB apartment with a driver, and the difference that makes is phenomimal. After a few days we went to our favourite little island, Boracay and and as usual everything was fantastic. The beach is still the best. We stayed at Joneys as usual and if anything its got better (http://www.jonysbeachresortboracay.com/)
At a quid a cocktail in the happy 3 hours every evening, the nights flew by. One evening we ventured up beach to Fridays (http://www.fridaysboracay.com/), the oldest hotel on the island and had a meal on the beach to die for. Which we nearly did on the way back as we took the beach route only to find the tide coming in right up to the buildings and not abating. A bit hairy in places, but we both feel a bit wiser for the experience. The trip highlight was taking the sunset cruise on the small 2 passenger catamarans. Some amazing photo experiences, and all was good. Until on the way back to shore we caught a big wave that soaked us. No issue. Apart from I had all my photo gear in my bag on my shoulder and didn’t have the shower cover on. Oops. Anyway we got away with no damage. Thanks Lowe Pro.
Next stop via Manila was Singapore. What a place. Just WOW. So clean, so easy to get about and full of friendly people. My view may be been skewed by the fact we stayed in the Marina Bays Sands (http://www.marinabaysands.com). Probably the most amazing hotel I have stayed in on the planet. Great views from the room, great views of the botanical gardens and then the infinity pool on the 57th floor, across the width of all three towers. Just WOW.
Another highlight was a crazy evening in Clarke Quay. Always helps with costs if your friend manages 3 bars down there ! Tied up with dinner in Raffles and The Fullerton respectively brought down a graceful end to a fantastic holiday.
This was our first trip to Vegas this year and was long awaited as our first trip away since Easter. As usual we were flying Virgin, and they have reconfigured their planes a little. Due to their ultra expensive pricing for Upper Class, I imagine there has been a downturn in uptake, so they have taken Upper Class out of the top deck and replaced it with Prem Econ and Econ. However the Econ has more space than downstairs which is much appreciated by me !
So we settled down for our 10 hour flight, and it was noticeable we were being flanked by some Weekend Millionaires. This was borne out as the flight went on, as they got pissed, started arguing and if not for some very direct words from a stewardess might of got the flight prematurely landed. That aside, flight was great and we landed on time, and due to our position on the plane, were whisked through security in record time. Bags collected it was off to our usual haunt, The Excalibur, where once again we are graciously looked after by our host. We had a nice hamper of choccies etc in the room as we arrived ,which were just as graciously devoured!
Part of our deal was $100 in freeplay. Between the two of use we spun this around to nearly $200 cash, so good start to the week. Unlike previous trips, night one was a quiet one, and early bed. This is an unusual tactic for us but seem to handle the jet lag, so will be tried again.
Saturday was upon us in the morning. Quick trip to the pool for Mrs mrben09, quick trip to the poker table for me. 77 doesn’t beat jj, so that was me early doors. We retired to Tacos and Tequilas in the Luxor for lunch, and had some great Mexican grub which kept me going for the rest of the day. That afternoon , my wife’s cousin was coming in from Seattle, so we decided for evening we should go upstrip, as Floyd Mayweather was doing his thing across the road, and it was going to be crazy down our end of the strip. So for the evening we met in Javier’s for cocktails and then went to the Mandarin Oriental Sky bar just outside for some more cocktails. This bar is on the 23rd floor and has floor to ceiling windows covering the whole strip as a view. Post drinks we hit the ever favourite Lemongrass in the Aria for dinner. Fantastic as always and remarkably cheap considering the surroundings. We left just as telecasts for the fight were finishing and the casino floor was packed to the gills. I had already paid for my Poker Tournament the next day so we retreated to the Bellagio and the YellowTail restaurant for a few drinks and a catch up. Suitably refreshed we headed across the road and a bit of a gamble up in Harrahs. We have never spent a lot of time here, but will be doing in the future. It may not match Aria and Bellagio for swank but the staff more than made up for it. Quick waitress service and friendly dealers made for a top night (and winning a few quid always helps). We also took a quick trip through the Quad (previously the Imperial Palace). This is still a work in progress but definitely an improvement on the old dark IP.
Sunday was my day. I have been a member of AllVegasPoker.com for some time but due to living some distance away, I’ve never been in any of their sponsored tournaments. Today changed that and I entered into AVP XIX at the Aria Poker room. Post registration and picking up my freebie t-shirt and other goodies I met some people that i have conversed with online for some time. There are photos of me at their facebook page from here, but i wont be linking them. As usual with the Aria the tournie was well run, and I got to the first break without to many dramas. I shared my table with 2 AVP employees, and was quite amused to watch the CTO completely suck out on the Marketing Manager to much abuse and incredulity. The first price for just over 8k, so i needed to get some hands and post break the antes were biting and I needed to make a move. The move turned out to be a disaster. I was dealt 10 10 in mid position. I called a raise, and two of us saw the flop. the flop was 9 jq so i shoved with the chance of a open ended straight. My opponent tabled a jq and won the hand. So out in about 2 hours but a decent time non the less. Before i met the girls (who were in the middle of a 4hr (!) buffet in the Cosmopolitan, I hit the Blackjack table for a quick $200 win. Although everyone at the table was nice, i noticed they thought i was a little odd. Why was confirmed once I left the table and realised i still had my AVP name badge on while playing. Oops.
We ended up the evening at Harrahs again and won a few quid.
Monday was a 9.00 start at the Excal crap shoot poker tournie with Michael from Australia who i had met the day before at the Aria. He bombed early just before leaving to start his 2 day trip home and I held on, to finished 3rd and triple+ my buy in . Good start to the day. We then did our usual pilgramage ti the North Outlet stores and hit the shops. Some good golf gear was picked up a new suit amongst other things. In a non holiday move we had a Genius appointment with Apple in the Fashion show mall early evening . Using the usual “it’s only up the street” approach we set off on our walk. 1 hr 20 minutes later in 99 deg heat we were at our destination and knackered! But we got a replacement Iphone 5, so all good. Dinner was in ZoozaCrackers in the Wynn. I didn’t have the burger but it look amazing, but the nachos did well enough for me.
Tuesday we cashed in the first of our myvegas (facebook promotion) and had a free brekkie at the MGM buffet. Not as big a selection as I thought the worlds biggest hotel would have, but all good nonetheless. Being in the MGM meant I had to play the 11.00 am tournament at the MGM poker room. The current location for the room is shocking and no wonder takings are down. However the staff are professional as ever. Unlike my poker, I was out quite early, having got no hands or worth, and losing a straight on straight (10 vs J) pushed me passed caring and I shoved until i could leave ! We had a late lunch in our secret hideaway off the strip, Kapit Bahay. This simple Filipino restaurant never fails and once again the beef steak and pancit were tasty as ever. So much so we went Friday as well.
Wednesday was a long day. Lunch was in Buca di Beppo in the Excalibur. The large portions kept us going until the evening, where we used another voucher for a large saving in Plant Dailies in Plant Hollywood. This is just by the escalators up to some other restaurants and the nightclubs. This meant we were delayed by about a million people trying to get photos of Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck who were there promoting their new film Runner Runner. From there we went to see Vegas the Show . This is a variety show charting the history of Vegas as a resort destination from the mobsters up to current day featuring hits from Sinatra, Tom jones, Elvis and Elton John. Well worth the price.
Post show we headed home and hit the tables. We lost a few quid but that was on the cards as we had hardly spend anything in the previous 4 days. Thats when we met Betty, Rita and Biscuit (false names, as you may of guessed). 2 50’s style ladies and one completely normal lad, all hailing from Essex. They were great fun, and we stayed at the roulette table until 6 in the morning. Everyone won and the crack was great. Biscuit could not lose and ended the evening with a $25 drop on the 00. This comes in to great cheers and $875 to Biscuit. During this early morning gambling session we also met Alan from the Hangover (maybe). I say maybe as he hardly said 2 words for the hour or two he was with us but the photos show he could of been.
Thursday was a late start as you could imagine, so we cashed in another myvegas token for the Aria Buffet. Way better than the MGM and definitely one to be done again. This led us the relaxing part of the holiday and we stayed pretty local for the rest of the week. I played the Luxor tournie Friday morning to no avail, but got a few decent runs on the craps tables to get the money flowing back my way for the trip home. We ended our trip on Friday evening in Michael Minas pub 1842 in the MGM for a really nice meal with some local beers. I lodged the Dirty Dog (not nice, had it last trip) in favour of the Anchor Steam from Cali. not bad for a American beer, and a vast improvement on the DD.
Our flight was delayed on Saturday but at least Virgin let me know via text, so fair play. We had a very late checkout from the Excal, so it was like another days holiday, and the craps table was good to me again.
All photos taken by me on this trip were with the Nokia 925, and for a mobile they came out well. The others are from a 4S.
Outside the Aria
Talking tree Bellagio.
Talking tree in Bellagio Conservatory
Taco’s and Tequilas, Luxor
Not what you see everyday in Vegas
Rita, Alan, Mrs Mrben09, Betty
Drunk bloke outside Diablos
Down the strip from the Wynn
Michael Mina’s Pub 1842
The Excal Tower 2 Entrance
With dancers from Vegas the Show
The oldest working gaming machine in Vegas. The Sigma Derby