Archive for December, 2005

Belated Vegas

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Well, this Vegas Death Flu (courtesy of Gracie) just won’t let go of me. Still very low energy and enjoying regular hacking coughs. But, I really need to get my Vegas recap up before the holidays swallow even more of my time. I’m not going to make the mistake of trying to write an epic saga about my adventures this time, but even a summary may require a passel of words. The intention is to bang everything out in one post but it’s possible I may lose steam before I get all the way through.

But let’s get the important things out of the way up front. Thanks to Bill Rini for organizing the whole thing (and anyone else who gave him a hand). Thanks to the Imperial Palace for running a awesome tournament. It exceeded all expectations. Hell, who would think they’d be stupid enough to have an open bar for bloggers for *seven* hours. Thanks to Barry Greenstein, Charlie Shoten and Michael Craig for speaking at the event. Pokerstars hooked us up not only with a ton of great swag but an extra $2000 in the prize pool. For that I am extremely grateful. And thanks to Full Tilt for contributing some free merchandise themselves.

I arrive in Vegas at about 11:30pm Thursday night and being unable to raise anyone on the phone I decide to check out the Imperial Palace poker room. I play only one hand before my cellphone rings. It’s Gracie.

“*crackle* … can’t hear … *crackle* … Excalibur … *crackle*”

Good enough. I cash out and hop on the monorail. When I arrive at the MGM I bump into Joaquin, looking a little worse for wear, heading back to the hotel. He tells me that everyone is at the Aladdin. I am skeptical.

“Yeah, they are storming the Aladdin … wait, that’s not right.”

“Excalibur, maybe?”

“Yeah, that’s it.” And with that he lurched into the open monorail car.

At the Excalibur I meet up with a bunch of bloggers and end up at a table with Pauly, Gracie, Derek and Otis‘s brother Jeff. Despite the blogger-heavy table, there were plenty of dead money at the table. Unfortunately the fish would just not take the hook and despite the fact I was able to take some money from the table, the suckouts were frustrating. But the company more than made up for. More bloggers than I could possibly remember dropped by to say hello to Pauly, but I didn’t take enough notes (a theme that ran through the weekend). It was nice to see old friends and new.

I’m pretty sure the night ends with Grubby, Derek, Pauly and myself up at the McDonald’s for some food before heading back to the hotel. The chicken mcnuggets I got were better than they had any right to be. Grubby was even kind enough to give us a lift back to the hotel.

When I get up shortly after noon I take advantage of my first free buffet coupon. (Thanks again for setting everything up, Bill) It’s not great, but it’s food and it’s free. Afterwards I spot Pablo and Gracie in the poker room and after confirming arrangements for the dorky excursion later that afternoon I find a seat at a 3/6 table. Once again, I find myself ahead after a few hours. This will not be a theme repeated throughout the weekend.

The dorky excursion was fun and a great chance to chat with some bloggers away from the table. I don’t want to out everyone, but scaring Maudie in the first ride was one of the highlights of my weekend, though I did feel very bad about it afterwards. The rides were actually a bit better than I remembered, but that might have been because I was with a bunch of people enjoying themselves. And I’m glad I wasn’t the only one geeky enough to answer most of the trivia questions while we were waiting in line.

After that it was off to the MGM in anticipation of the mixed games set up by Joaquin later that night. Unfortunately I got stuck in a 3/6 game away from all the bloggers and didn’t get the notice when the mixed games opened. I got on the list soon after but was 20 spots down. I was not pleased. Being down in my 3/6 game wasn’t helping either. Bad luck and then a bit of tilt combined to take a large chunk of my buy-in.

Of course, my money lasted a lot longer there than it did when I finally got into the HORSE game. I was at a table with Pauly, Derek, Gracie, Daddy, Al and … ah, and here is where the memory and notes run a little thin. Of course, it didn’t help that drink service at the MGM was constant. I was pretty wasted and only barely remember buying an extra hundred in chips from Gracie at the table. Someone told me the next day that I was playing with an EPT champ but really, I can’t be sure. But it’s a damn good excuse for losing more money. So yeah, there was an EPT champ at my table. And forget the people who said he was playing like a donkey. Donkeys quarter pots, which I can assure you I didn’t do … more than once … or twice. Definitely not more than twice.

Hmmm…this post is already starting to go on. I think I may save my recounting of Saturday and the prolonged blur that was Sunday and Monday for another post.

If I don’t get back here before then, I hope that all three readers have a very Merry Christmas. Or an enjoyable holiday or your choice.

Goodbye Las Vegas

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Ha, my firefox autocomplete remembered the title of my post from the last time I left Vegas. God bless wireless access in Macarran International Airport.

The weekend was a roaring success despite the horrible illness that is now incubating in me courtesy of Gracie . She thinks it is Avian Bird Flu but I suspect it is something even more horrible. I just hope that I don’t infect the entire plane.

I think I will avoid the grand mult-post saga that I attempted last time I partied with the bloggers in Vegas, but even still, more information is going to have wait until I am a tad more coherent. But I promise I will tell the tale of the bathrobe. Maybe after I sleep for 48 hours.

Vegas Ho!

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

No, I’m not pointing out one of Vegas’ many ladies of the evening but instead expressing my excitement for my pending trip to Vegas. I’m looking forward to seeing some “old” friends again and making some new ones. I’m looking less forward to trying to not embarrass myself in the actual tournament, but the slate of events Bill Rini and company have set up for us going to be a blast. And I’m hoping that my seat at the mixed games Friday night will have a siteline to a TV showing hockey. I can think of nothing better than being able to fold to the maniacs at my table and then catch a bit of my beloved Sens on the TV.

The thing I am least looking forward to is showing off my lovely new mustache. I got roped into joining the Mustaches For Kids Toronto campaign by a co-workers and have been devoting all my follicular might to growing a sweet stache … for the kids! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to raise a lot money so far, so my embarrassment has largely been in vain. But I shall persevere, despite being an easy target for drunken ridicule.

While I’m talking about charities, I should probably mention one of my favourite charity’s at this time of the year. Three years ago, the two guys responsible for Penny Arcade started the Child’s Play charity aimed at supporting children’s hospitals across the United States – and this year Canada and the UK. It all boils down to is … actually, why don’t I just use their own words to describe it for you.

For two years now we’ve set up and organized a charity called Child’s Play. We set it up because we were angry the media decided to blame all the world’s problems on games and gamers. Basically they said that gamers were bad people, and we thought that wasn’t right. Apparently, you guys agreed: through Child’s Play you sent nearly a million dollars in toys, games, and cash to the sick kids in Children’s Hospitals around the nation.

That was awesome. You guys have proven over and over again that you are an overwhelming force, and you really came through and made a real difference to the millions of kids that Children’s Hospitals care for each year. So we’re doing it again this year, only this time we’ve expanded Child’s Play to more hospitals around the U.S. and even some across the globe so you can send toys to a hospital a little closer to home.

Child’s Play works the same as last year. With the help of hospital staff we’ve set up Amazon Wish Lists full of video games, toys, and movies. You can go to each hospital’s list and buy a toy, and that toy will be sent to the hospital. Some of these kids are in pretty bad shape. imagine being stuck alone in a hospital over the holidays–so getting something from a fellow gamer would really raise their spirits. Some of the stuff the hospital will give away for kids to keep, while other gifts (like consoles) will be kept by the hospital for patients to use throughout the year.

I have been a gamer my whole life and have always been a big believer in the value of play in the life of kids (and adults) so this charity has a special place in my heart. I’ve already made my donation to the local Toronto Sick Kids’ Hospital. I know there are a lot of charities out there who need your money (particularly at this time of the year) so I’m not saying that this charity deserves your money any more than any other. But I would ask that you think about all the blessings that you have in your life and try to pass some of that on to those that may not be as fortunate.