Bad Ideas, Good Results

Friday, June 13th, 2008, 2:12 pm

I had a day off on Tuesday and was determined to make the most of it. I slept in, ate some Mini-Wheats for breakfast, did some work…by then it was 2:30 and I still hadn’t taken a shower. Matt wanted to head out to South Pointe and I told him to go, I’d walk over once I was showered and dressed. I wanted to get some sun and exercise, and the 20-minute walk to the casino would do the trick.

This was the first mistake of the day. I saw on the Weather Channel that it was gonna be a scorcher, 100 degrees or more, with wind gusts of 30mph or more. Big deal, I said. It wasn’t a long walk, I sprayed on some suntan lotion and put on my shades. A nice little stroll, a refreshing beverage, a little gamble. Nice.

I’d just turned the corner onto Las Vegas Blvd when I realized this wasn’t gonna be easy. The wind was howling and I was walking past huge, barren, sun-baked fields that showered me with grit. A pigeon took flight about ten yards in front of me–it flapped it’s wings, got caught in a gust, and flew backwards for about 50 feet. I walked with my mouth shut to keep from eating dirt.

And it was hot. My God, was it hot. And as I started to sweat the searing wind stripped moisture from me at an alarming rate. "Did you drink anything before you left?" my brain asked and I had to answer No. "Nice," my brain said, which then refused to think about anything else besides the heat.

And the sun. I’d somehow putting suntain lotion on a tiny strip of my right calf and it was like a magnifiying glass was pointed at it. "OK, I can make it," I said. I really wasn’t in trouble or anything, just a little uncomfortable. And thirsty. Whooee, was I thirsty. There’s a fortresslike sports bar along the way and I thought about stopping in for a taste, but instead I pressed on. Here’s how hot it was–when I reached the freshly-blacktopped road just outside the casino I jogged across and nearly slipped. It was so hot that my sandals slid across the asphalt like it was ice. Get inside, Geno. Get inside and get a drink.

I fed some money into a video poker machine and ordered a water and a Sam Adams. The water tasted good, the beer better, and with my tissues restored I started to enjoy myself. Not that the machine was of much help–I was down about $60 before, y’know–

When you’ve got the touch, none can resist.

WIth a few in me I decided to play some real poker, buying in to a $1/2 NL game for a hundred bucks. About 2 hours later I cashed out $282 to the good, thanks in large part to holding Aces twice and getting action (same guy had JJ and QQ against me) and flopping a set of Jacks. I might’ve stayed there longer but the stomach was growling, so Matt and I hit up South Pointe’s very good buffet. We’ve been there like 5 times already, as it’s close, cheap, and has something to enjoy no matter what mood you’re in. I was in a weird one, what with being drunk and happy to book a nice win, and I added two steamed mussels to my plate. Not a good dish to choose from a buffet, as I was to learn…

After dinner I didn’t much feel like playing poker, so video poker it was! I lost $20 pretty fast, cashed out, decided that I wasn’t quite ready to leave, and the very first hand I played after feeding the machine was this:



I give myself goosebumps. I immediately cashed out and sat in a $3/6 Limit game with your usual collection of drunks and lunatics. I was up $150 at one point before getting skunked a few times to end up around $75. Cashed out, placed a Euro 2008 bet (thank you Portugal!) and finally headed home. All in all a successful day off–had fun, a few beers, and ended up with a $300 profit.

The next day…didn’t feel so good. Not hungover, as I’d stopped drinking at dinner. Then I remembered those two mussels. Didn’t feel horrible, but I certainly didn’t feel good. I also felt like I’d gotten 2 hours sleep instead of 7, and by the time I got to work our typical 14-hour Day-1 shift looked like a potential death march. But I gritted it out (wasn’t too bad) and when I woke up yesterday whatever nastiness coursing through my system had passed. When you work a Day 2 you have to be prepared to get home after dawn, but yesterday’s $5,000 No-Limit event wrapped around 2:30AM. Today we work the final table and, if we’re lucky, I may even have a chance to play some poker tonight. Going forward I’m gonna try to play more poker and limit my time with the machines. More profitable.

Speaking of profit, I won a $20 Top Chef prop bet with Pauly. He took Richard, who I thought all along was the best of the group, and I picked Stephanie, in part because she’s also really good, in larger part because of those knee-high boots she wore during Restaurant Wars. I haven’t seen the show but I learned that Stephanie indeed won (Richard got too ambitious with his molecular gastronomy) and Pauly shipped the double sawbuck. Sweet. Maybe the life of the professional gambler is for me. Then again, walking around the Rio all day, seeing the look in so many of those faces….no. Hell no.

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