Check into Imperial Palace around midnight. It's 2:00 AM Dallas time and my wife and I are dead tired. She makes a joke about just staying up all night instead of going to bed. Ha, I say, because we have to get up for...
I take my wife to the airport so she can catch an early flight to spend the weekend with her sick dad. It would be nice if she could spend the weekend in Vegas with me as originally planned, but it will be better for her to spend some time with her dad and help him out.
Breakfast at McDonalds is followed by a short rest at the hotel before looking for a poker tournament to play. I choose the 10:00 AM $50 buy-in at Planet Hollywood. To kill time before it starts, I play some $0.25 video poker, Deuces Wild. Down to my last $3.00, I hit four deuces and cash out for $250.00. Nice start to the weekend, eh? I use $50 of my winnings to buy into the tourney. About two hours later, I finish third for another $150.00+ payout. I'm on a roll!
Back to the IP, where I see CK, Bam-Bam and Pebbles playing Let It Ride. I watch them play and can't figure out how the hell this game works. Bam-Bam says, "Sit down, I want to buy you in for one hand." After a few minutes of "No thank you"s and "Come on"s, I give in and sit down. First deal, I get some big hand (can't even remember what) and get paid double or triple my bets. Next hand, something just as good or better. I think I got three of a kind at least twice in the space of 30 minutes. After going up about $200, I tell Bam-Bam that I think we should quit while we are ahead. He insists on splitting the winnings with me, despite my offer to let him have it all since I didn't do anything more than sit there while the cards were dealt to me. I still owe him and Pebbles drinks, dinner, or something. My run good continues, but not for much longer.
Sherwood Forest bar, Excalibur: this year's blogger meeting spot. I drive to the Excal with lightning36 and meet up with lots of old friends and acquaintances. There is talk of heading to the Palms for the Thursday night Pokerati NLHE/PLO game, but very few actually leave the Excal and I am not among them. Eventually lightning and I play for a little while in the Excal poker room. I lose about $50 and decide I need some sleep. I drop lightning at Bally's and hit the sack.
Feels good to sleep in. After a fabulous breakfast at the Hash House A-Go-Go, I go for a walk. Antiquities, a memorabilia store in the Forum Shops at Caesars, has a sign announcing that Pete Rose will be appearing there that afternoon. I grew up in the Cincinnati area and have always been a fan of Pete's. I walk some more, come back after Pete's starting time, buy a book that he co-wrote, and get his autograph on it along with a few pictures.
Aria poker room. After a quick dinner, we walk to the Aria to join the bloggers for some poker. The mixed game table is full when we get there, but a $1/3 NLHE table is opened up and I sit in. A couple of hours later, I have dropped my buy-in after some loose calls and card dead streaks. A leisurely walk back to the IP and an early bedtime for me.
Recommendation to anyone reading this: find somewhere else to eat breakfast besides the Emperor's Buffet at IP. Below-average food and selection for the same price as most other places. Harrah's and Flamingo are both easy walks from IP and the buffets are much better. Another leisurely walk to the Aria for the tournament at noon. Very early on, I call off about half my stack to MrsChako with AA vs her set of 5s. I should have known better, but instead got myself short on chips early. I stuck around longer than I thought I would, but eventually busted out in 52nd place to Dr. Pauly. He seemed pleased to get my bounty, a copy of the Yes CD "90125" - remastered edition with bonus tracks!!
More walking ensued, including a trip back to the IP, with stops at the Aria gift shop and Miracle Mile mall, with OhCaptain. Always a good traveling companion. Eventually we ended up back at the IP poker room, where a maniac was holding court with a table mostly full of bloggers who were intent on taking advantage of his wild and loose playing. There wasn't a seat open for me at first, and when I finally did get to join, I was on the maniac's right and did not get to play with him. The guy to my right eventually felted the maniac, much to the chagrin of the rest of the table. Then that guy left, taking most of the chips in play with him. By then I was running behind again and thinking that I had better turn in, having an early flight to catch Sunday.
I had another great time at the Winter Classic. The poker and other activities were fun, but as always it was the people that made it special. My thanks to everyone I got to meet or spend time with. Extra thanks to April, the Aria poker room staff, and the others who worked to organize everything. I hope to see all of you again very soon.