First, a disclaimer before you read this post. Yes, I am a geek. I’ve never hid the fact and if you saw me in Vegas you might have seen me involved in a passionate debate with Pablo about comics. I am not a hardcore Trekkie (or Trekker, see I don’t know what to call it). But I enjoyed watching Next Gen on Saturday nights with my parents when I was younger. I followed some of the subsequent series and actually enjoyed the latter parts of DS9 and Voyager. But, ever since I first read about the Star Trek Experience opening in Vegas, I’ve wanted to check it out. And Wil Wheaton‘s account of his experience in his book Dancing Barefoot, I was even more determined to visit.
So on Sunday morning, that is just what Benjy and I did. We took a cab out to the Las Vegas Hilton and, with some trepidation, sought out the promenade. The first thing we did was take a tour of the free part of the ‘experience’, checking out some of the memorabilia offered in the gift shops, that were all made to appear as part of the DS9 station. It was interesting enough that we decided that we’d fork over some money to check out the museum and some rides.
The museum was actually pretty interesting. They had a timeline of all the events in Star Trek contuity, as well as various props and artifacts representing those times. Many of the plastic replicas were less impressive than expected, but there was enough there to impress this sci-fi fan. And reading through some of the timeline rekindled my interest in watching the show. While I am a sci-fi fan in general, I am a particular sucker for continuity and world building, as subject I actually wrote about in university.
The first ride we went on was the new Borg Assimilation ride. There were a few neat things in it, but it felt slightly cheesy. I don’t want to give any of the tricks away, as even people with a passing interest of Trek should check out the ‘Experience’. After that was over we circled back to try the original ‘Klingon Attack’ ride. From the opening ‘conceit’ of the experience to the end of the ride, I really enjoyed this one. Somehow they avoided the camp that is almost inevitable for something like this and I was able to forget the real world for a few minutes.
The most amusing part of the whole experience was an actor dressed up as a Ferengi who would harass the tourists. He seemed to relish his role and it was fun to watch him heckle the crowd. He even gave Benjy and I some personal grief when he got us sitting on the floor waiting to get into the Klingon Attack ride. He didn’t seem to consider us particularly fearsome foes for the Klingons.
We tried to eat at Quark’s restuarant, but we didn’t actually get to sit in at the bar, the prices were ridiculous, and there was nothing on the menu for a vegetarian, so we ended passing on that part and headed back to the Plaza.
When we got there Gracie and Pablo strongly urged me to join them at a particularly juicy $3/6 table.
And boy were they right. I’d sat at some weak tables over the course of the weekend, but never like this. It took me a few orbits to get comfortable, but once I did, I started opening my starting hand requirements quite a bit. In one particular hand I was ready to throw my hand away after missing my draws on the turn and river but I saw that both my opponents were holding their cards out like they were ready to fold, so I bet and took the pot with nothing but king high (which was probably the best hand, given the play of those opponents). Not all the tells were quite this obvious, but most of my opponents were pretty transparent. And even though Gracie and Pablo are better poker players than I am, I had played many hours with them already and could spot situations where I should avoid them and when I could push them out with a raise. I felt a somewhat badly when I pushed Pablo off a winning hand based on my read of the other player in the pot, but I don’t ever want anyone soft-playing against me, so I’ll be damned if I am going to do it myself. And I won the pot in the end, so it’s tough to feel that bad.
The highlight of the evening was when I ended up capping nearly every street with AK with an ace hit on the flop. I’d already seen the gentleman I was in a raising war demonstrate his inability to realize that his good hand is second or third best. And with a poor old lady, who claimed she was new to poker, caught between us calling every bet with her draw, there was just too much equity involved for me to worry about him having hit a huge hand. On the river he started getting concerned and it wasn’t capped. He was quite pissed when he flipped his AQ to my AK. I would have had a hard time getting away from the hand too, but I certainly would not have kept reraising it.
When I got up to join my friend for dinner, I was up $100, which was a pretty good score for a couple hours at a 3/6 table. It hurt to leave, but I had spent $100+ bucks on my ticket to see ‘O’, and owed my friend at least some time away from the poker tables. But at least I finally validated my positive feelings about my play all weekend. And if it hadn’t been for the ill-advised session at the blogger NL table and the tournament, I’d actually be showing a profit from my poker play. Alas, that first evening left me in the red for my gambling. Still, my loss was only a 5th of what I was willing to drop at the tables, so I really couldn’t complain. Ok, I could and I did, but I had no right to.
next: dinner and a show
Here are some numbers for you. The total area of Canada is 9 984 670 square kilometres. Of this, 9 093 507 square kilometres is land and 891 163 square kilometres is fresh water. Canada’s area is the second largest in the world (after Russia which has a total area of 17 075 000 square kilometres). On Canadian territory, the longest distance North to South (on land) is 4 634 kilometres from Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut to Middle Island in Lake Erie, Ontario. The longest distance East to West is 5 514 kilometres from Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador , to the Yukon Territory – Alaska boundary. The total length of the Canada-United States boundary is 8890 kilometres.
The Las Vegas series:
Day 1 – A Grand Ol’ Time (part 1)
Day 1 – A Grand Ol’ Time (part 2)
Day 1 – Sunrise at The Plaza
Day 2 – I … See … Famous People
Day 2 – Storming the Castle
Day 3 – The Main Event
Day 3 – A Bucket of Nickels and the Shrimp Sundae
Day 3 – Nugget Poker
Day 4 – Finally, A Win!
Day 4 – Komol O
Day 4 – A Night in ‘The Suite’
Day 5 – Goodbye Las Vegas