Monday, June 21, 2010


Cardgrrl and I have been on a mildly amusing food freeroll for the past few days.

I play at Binion's with fair regularity, and build up food comps faster than I can use them. This is especially true since they closed the coffee shop a few months ago. I wrote about that at the time, and a reader suggested taking Cardgrrl to the steakhouse. I had considered that, but initially rejected the idea because she is a vegetarian. However, the next time I was at Binion's, I checked the menu, and they had a couple of nice seafood dishes listed, which are on the Cardgrrl-approved list. That settled how I would splurge my freebies.

So Friday night we hit the famous Binion's Ranch Steakhouse, racking up a $98 tab. Maybe some of you eat in places where that doesn't seem like much, but I'm a cheapskate, and it's more than double what I usually pay for dinner for two, so it felt like a feast of kings to me. Had an excellent 16 oz. New York strip steak (well, half of it anyway); Cardgrrl had broiled salmon.

The photos above show the view of the city from our table at the steakhouse, which is on the 24th floor of Binion's.

Stepping off of the elevator on our way out, a guy asked whether we had just eaten at the steakhouse. Yes. "Was it good?" Yes again. With that, he and his family got on the elevator and headed up. Obviously, my culinary opinion carries great weight.

It was only after the moment had passed that Cardgrrl and I started thinking of the better responses: "It was worth what we paid for it." Or, "It's great, considering that all the food is free."

The next day, we met up with Shamus and his wife Vera Valmore for brunch at Hash House a Go Go out on Sahara Avenue (skipping, for various unimportant reasons, the newer incarnation of the same establishment at Imperial Palace). Though we weren't expecting this, the two of them were generous enough to treat us to the meal, and the freeroll was well underway.

Back in February, when Cardgrrl was last here, she shared a starting table at the tournament with Adam Altweis, the poker room manager at Aria. (See interviews with him about this new job and the Aria poker room here and here.) He kindly handed out to his tablemates comp tickets good for dinner and drinks for four at any of several Aria food establishments. Cardgrrl invited F-Train, Jen, and me to share in her gift. Saturday night we met at Lemongrass, a Thai restaurant, and, well, basically ate everything in sight. They had some Teamsters come and roll us back out to our cars about three hours later. Thank you, Adam!

Yesterday we ate at the Victorian Room at Bill's. It's not exactly haute cuisine there, but Bill's is another place where I have somehow accumulated over $100 of food comps, so it seemed fitting to let the free stuff keep on rollin'.

Today I extended it further by having for my lunch the other half of the steak I couldn't finish Friday night. Just as good the second time.

One of these days, I might have to start actually paying for food again, and that's gonna hurt, after this weekend.

I suppose one could say that my poker has been freerolling, too; I haven't played much in the last week or so, but I did join Cardgrrl in the Aria afternoon $175 tournament, which is about as nicely structured as you're likely to find in a daily event. Didn't do too well there (busted out by a reader, even, when my AK ran into his aces--hi, Tyler!), but Cardgrrl lasted a lot longer, and I made enough in a cash game while waiting for her to more than make up for the buy-in. A cash game at the Pavilion Room at Rio went well for both of us Saturday, too.

The freeroll picks up in a different way tomorrow. Through my membership in House Seats Las Vegas, I scored free tickets for Cardgrrl and me to see Cheap Trick doing their wildly popular "Sergeant Pepper" tribute show at the Paris hotel/casino Tuesday night. Shamus saw it with Vera (but not Chuck or Dave; a little Beatles humor there!) Saturday night; see his review here. I saw this show at the Hilton last September, and enjoyed it immensely. I will be delighted to share it now with my favorite visitor from the East Coast.

Speaking of whom, she is in a HORSE tournament right now at the Golden Nugget, part of their summer "The Grand" series. I have finished what I needed to do here at the ol' homestead, so it's time to amble down Fremont Street to where she is playing, and see just how badly she is crushing the game. Sadly, she will be leaving town on Wednesday, and soon thereafter things will return to what passes for a normal schedule in my life.


Michael said...

Sounds like a great time, and a great way to spend some of the accumulated comp dollars. Hoping we see a review of Cheap Trick's show as a post sometime.

sblacke said...

Binion's was the first steak house I went to when I started visiting Las Vegas and the only one I've visited more than once. Great views, old school vibe.

NoLimitDoc said...

Give my office a call if you need help with the aftermath of your free roll :)

Tmo said...

Glad to have had a chance to catch you and say hello to you and cardgrrl. Wish we could have played a little longer. Would have loved to get some feedback on my play. -Tyler

Anonymous said...

If she eats fish, she is a pescetarian, not a vegetarian.

Paul said...

She's a vegetarian but ordered Salmon. I call those footetarians, they eat food that has a mom and a dad, just not ones that have feet!

Nice pics from the 24th floor

Cardgrrl said...

As has been pointed out relentlessly, I am not strictly speaking a vegetarian. I do eat fish, but not shellfish because I am allergic to them (besides, they're just sea insects as far as I'm concerned).

I was once dubbed a "pickivore." While I actually consider myself to have a pretty broad range of tastes, I can't argue with the appellation.