Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Shortstacking Vegas Pt. II

It was 6:00 A.M. and Casey, the birthday boy, was dead tired. After his first full night of legal drinking in Vegas, he looked like he was about to pass out. Mitch and I went to put our stuff in the room and tried to rally the falling troops, as we had just arrived two hours earlier and wanted to get our money in play.

It looked like we were gonna be on our own, but we ended up getting Decker and Jason to come downstairs with us. Casey said he was gonna take a shower and meet us down on the floor. Yeah, whatever.

Although both 21 (recently), neither Decker nor J had yet to play in Vegas. Luckily we were in $5, and, being one of the more upkept downtown casinos, the Nugget had its fair share of cheap tables open. Among the three other L.V. newbies on this trip, Mitch and I were seen as the consummate Vegas "professionals", although we haven't really experienced anything above a lowroller time in Vegas to date. But as such, we were determined to at least teach the guys how to play blackjack as close to basic strategy as possible.

Coming into this weekend, Mitch brought only brought $100 (I picked him up last second, aware that he had no money) and I only had $300. Every time previous to this trip, the main focus was poker. I brought enough to grind and when it went bad I was able to grab a stake.

This time I was sick of poker. I hadn't been winning for months, and when I left Santa Barbara I knew that the small amount I brought was going straight to the house games. I wanted to have fun and forget about life for the weekend. I had yet to play any house games in Vegas besides blackjack, and was for sure gonna splash around as much as my little bankroll would allow for the weekend.

We headed to the bar for some drinks and quickly found one of many open $5 blackjack tables. Operating on a nonexistent bankroll put us in a must-win situation right off the bat, and Casey sweated us as he tried to learn the ropes. We played through one break-even shoe before our happy-go-lucky dealer got rudely exited by some asshole dealer who ended up being the least fun person I have ever met at a casino, anywhere.

He busted us quickly, made fun of us when we lost a hand, and basically made short work of our small cash. Decker had sat out, but Jason bought in and played with us. Of course, as we tried to teach him the game we made him do basic moves (doubling 11 against a 5, splitting 7's against a 6), and as it goes when you're trying to teach someone a gambling game, he lost most of his hands and convinced himself that he wasn't going to listen to us anymore.

Mitch was already done for the weekend, but we weren't concerned. Mitch wouldn't be able to go for more than five hours in Vegas without cash, he'd find a way to get some. The L.V.A. (Las Vegas Amateurs) ended up going upstairs to pass out while Mitch and I wondered around, soaking in the lights from the previous night that we missed.

I ended up at a roulette wheel with $20 that I had promised to play for someone back home. I played minimum bet on red five times straight and hit it every single time. I switched to playing a full min-bet on a single spot, hoping for the big hit and cashout. I played 23 every time while Mitch was talking in my ear.

"Play 10."



"Play 10."



"Play 10."



"Play 10."



"...See I told you idiot."

I ran through the rest of the redbirds I ran up at the table and as we were walking away Decker appeared out of nowhere, apparently too enthralled to sleep. He wanted to take a shot at blackjack and I was willing to go dump another hundo to get this kid in the game.

It turned out that he, being recently unemployed, was actually playing on free money by a member of the birthday party just so he could go on the trip. It would make for fun times later in the trip.

I ended up busting my second buyin and he picked up after playing the dealer heads up for a bit. We headed back to the room, and I realized that it was still only 7:30 A.M. We had only been in Vegas for four hours, and despite having not slept for 24 hours at that point, I was sure as hell not wanting to sleep. Adding on to the fact that five of us were sharing a free two-bed standard room, I made up my mind that I was headin down to the Strip.

John was workin his first down of the morning at 10A.M. at Planet Hollywood, so I figured I'd jump in a $1-2NL game and wait it out. I parked at Caesar's and headed inside to see if there was any action going on, since there's usually quite a lot of $1-2 goin on. The room was dead aside from a $2-5NL and a $10-20NL, both of which I obviously couldn't jump in.

I took a look across across the street, and decided to just walk across to PH. I thought it would be an alright stroll at 7:30 A.M., but it was Hades outside and my heel was killing me from a drunken night the weekend before. The sidewalk was already packed with people who think waking up before 5:00 P.M. in Vegas is a good idea, and after weaving my way through the masses I finally made it.

There was only one game going, and coincidentally it was a $1-2NL game. I sat it and played dead for a couple hours till John showed up. As it turned out, PH's morning $60 tournament was starting the same time, and John was dealing it. I bought in and ended up playing for a couple hours before bubbling my KK to an A4.

I booked it back to the Nugget, eager to see what everyone else was doing. They were supposed to have gotten up to go to a planned breakfast at 10, but I knew that wasn't gonna happen. I walked in and found the other guys passed out on the beds and floor exactly where they were when I left. Everyone but Broke Mitch woke up and cleaned up and we were off to the buffet.

We took the escalator upstairs and quickly found that our "waitress" was planning to kill someone before the day's end. We had some fun, ate some cheap food, and started drinking. The company I was in the presence of this trip out had me crackin up the whole time. I've known these guys for a long time now and, due to my living situation, I don't get to hang out with them much anymore. Needless to say, the time spent gambling and drinking with these guys was awesomely hilarious.

After the buffet Decker and I headed to the bar for video poker and free booze. We made quick friends with the bartender. I threw a $20 in and played quarters while Decker did the same with his free money. As I was recounting the story of my royal flush on the previous trip at Caesar's sportsbook bar, I found myself watching as Decker pulled quad Aces for $500.

All of a sudden he'd turned his free money into even more free money, and it was about to turn the whole night around. He quickly threw me money to keep pluggin away, as well as givin the bartender $20. The $4 Red Bulls turned into free Red Bull and vodkas, and our drinks were instantly ten times stronger than they were for the past half an hour.

We called down the other three amigos and Decker tossed them all cash to play as well. Our two quiet seats turned into a five-machine row of drinking and hollerin and hootin. We all played for a bit before cashin out to go meet up with another group at the Mirage. It was about to be the funnest night I'd had in Vegas yet.

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