Unlike last year, I’ve not made many trips to Vegas in 2009. My business travel destinations have just not been to the west coast. There was a trip to Vegas back in May with Falstaff in which I lost a chunk of bankroll. Otherwise, I’ve had to satisfy myself with the home game action that I can find and an occasional casino game when the business or vacation road takes me to a good location.
But last week, Brian the Red was going to a professional conference in Vegas, so I thought that as good a reason as any to book my own trip. I also convinced the Pirate Monkey to join us (or so he blamed me).
I’ve already posted my monetary results from $1-2 NLHE. I/we did a few other things and I left with some interesting impressions.
One of the biggest impressions was City Center. Wow! That thing has come a long way since May. The buildings look mostly finished. There is still a lot to do at ground level, but it seem impossible that they have come so far so fast. It was just a hole in the ground back in March of 2007 when my group at work had a conference at Bellagio and my room overlooked the site. Now it is a small city with 8 or 10 tall towers. Some signage is up. The chrome-looking retail center that runs up and over the sidewalk on the strip looks cool from a distance, but when you get up next to it the scale of the thing is overwhelming. The whole project took 62 acres and 8 billion dollars. What boggles my mind even more is the effect that this will have on the rest of Las Vegas as it starts to come on-line in December. They are already giving away rooms. What they will be able to do with all of this inventory is anyone’s guess. I’ll bet there are some really scared people in Vegas about now.
The Pirate Monkey had an excellent run in the Venetian daily tournament. He took 10th out of about 180 runners for a nice 3 or 4x score. He would have run much deeper except for a bad suck out. I don’t remember the details, and since he sucked out on me in fantasy football last night, I don’t really care. To be fair, from what I saw of his play, he did an excellent job and deserved a better finish.
The Bellagio is back to spreading $1-2 NLHE. They were spreading $1-3, like Caesar's, but I guess they didn’t get the numbers that way. I didn’t check the drop, but I’m guessing they will still drop $5 on big pots. The Venetian is still be best room for my play.
The Venetian has their new player tracking system up and running. They were about to turn in on the last day of my trip in May. Players no longer get credit for time away from the tables, but we no longer loose time when we forget to log out. I guess that is a wash.
Did I say they were giving away rooms in Vegas. I stayed at the Hooter’s Hotel and Casino for $55. That is not per night. That was for three nights. Many hands of poker that I played were worth more. Hooters always gets a giggle when I mention it, but it was a nice hotel and the room was just fine. I’d do it again.
I did get on the elevator with a john and hooker on my final night there. He was a little balding white guy with kakis, sport shirt and a wind breaker. She was a 6 foot tall slender black woman with huge boobs in a day-glow yellow stretch halter top and skin tight jeans. Obviously, it was only my prodigious sense of observation that allowed me to size up this situation. Once the elevator arrived it was just the three of us. No one stood near anyone else. No one spoke. No one even glanced at each other. Except for me, that is. I lit up. “Hey, how are we doing tonight? Having any luck? Man, I sure have. Let me tell you…” I thought the guy was going to open the door in for floor of the elevator and jump. The hooker didn’t flinch. She must have been a professional in every sense of the word. Floor number 4 was never so far away, but it arrived and they scampered. I laughed until my sides hurt. I love Vegas.
The town was mostly dead compared to a year ago. I like it in the short run. It is easier to walk on the sidewalks, the wait for service is no so long, and the deals are great. But I also know that it is not good for Vegas or poker in the long run. Eventually (read “when city center forces the weak properties to take drastic action”), deals will go away along with poker rooms and other things that I now enjoy, and that will be more than just sad. It’s probably coming. I’ll just have to go back in December to enjoy it before it changes again. My flight is already booked.