Sunday, September 04, 2011

Lazy Sunday

My day:

I woke up, after having dreamed that I hung onto the wing of the space shuttle and hitched a ride all the way up to the International Space Station, which was pretty cool. (Apparently I can breathe in outer space, which might come in handy someday.) I had lunch while watching "Reliable Sources" on CNN. I like Howard Kurtz. I played two SNG tournaments on Bodog, nothing in one, shipped the other.

While I was doing that, I was seeing Twitter messages from my friends Stacey and Don of Las Vegas Poker Source about how well Stacey was doing in the U.S. Ladies Poker Championship at the Golden Nugget. She had started the final table at noon with one of the short stacks, but had bullied her way upward.

I hatched a plan. The Plaza hotel and casino has been closed for renovation for several months, and just reopened Thursday. I had heard that a gourmet cupcake shop, Gigi's, was part of the new restaurant lineup, and I wanted to indulge. I'm within easy walking distance of both the Nugget and the Plaza, so I decided to walk to the Nugget and if it looked like Stacey would still be in for a while, I'd head off to the Plaza and buy three cupcakes to share with her and Don in celebration of her deep run. By the time I got there to check in with them, it was down to the final three, and her stack was healthy, so off to the Plaza I went. But to my great disappointment, I learned that Gigi's isn't going to open for another several days. No cupcakes for us. Boo!

I went back to the Nugget just as Stacey was beginning the heads-up battle. Here she is, looking all fierce. Or maybe bored. You decide:

Stacey was head-and-shoulders better than her last remaining opponent. This other woman had no concept of bet sizing. She was opening for up to eight times the big blind, or reraising all-in for 50+ big blinds after a standard opening raise from Stacey. Reckless. Or perhaps she recognized that she was outclassed, and figured that she'd enhance the luck factor by trying to play a few big pots pre-flop, so as not to have to face the more difficult decisions post-flop. Either way, it worked well enough, and Stacey couldn't overcome the chip deficit with which she started the last phase of the tournament. But she played great, from what I could see, and walked away with more than $6000. She is an excellent tournament player and has been slaying events for the past year or so (see Hendon Mob listing here).

I walked across the plaza to Binion's to play some poker myself. I had to wait a while for a new table to open, and passed the time reading a few more pages in the brand-new poker novel The Superuser--my first Kindle book (reading on my Android phone). I'm a little more than halfway through, and will do a post about it when I'm done.

I made $123 in an hour, but really didn't feel like playing any more, so I cashed out, picking up the new issues of various poker magazines as I left. I kept one of the chips for my collection. It's a new issue since the last time I played at Binion's, commemorating the casino's recent 60th anniversary:

I went back to the Plaza to see if the remodeling had made the place nice enough to be worth taking pictures of. Nope. It looked mostly the same as I remember it, though admittedly I had only been there twice before, and it was a long time ago. I mean, there's new carpet and better lighting, but nothing like the complete re-do that the Tropicana recently received. No poker room in the new place. But I snapped a few pictures for the "Guess the Casino" series anyway.

On my way home I passed a couple of mildly interesting sights. There's always a bunch of people dressed up as showgirls and celebrities, hoping tourists will tip them to pose for a photo. This was a new twist on the genre--the famous Vegas sign. No need to drive out past Mandalay Bay!

(I achieved a minor personal breakthrough with this photograph, even though it looks unremarkable. When I got home and uploaded the day's shots to my computer, I found that I had left the white balance set on "incandescent" for the indoor shots at the Plaza, which made this one pervasively blue-tinted. But I discovered how to do color correction using Microsoft Picture Viewer and fixed it.)

Then there was this young woman with interesting hair, dancing enthusiastically on stage:

I came home and did a crossword puzzle with Cardgrrl via Skype. Now it's time for a snack while I watch "Top Gear" (the kind-of-sucky-but-gradually-getting-better American version) from earlier tonight. Then wash the dishes, probably a couple more Bodog single-tables, put up another's week's worth of GTC posts, then to bed.

See what an exciting life I lead?


Crash said...

Watch out for that Cardgrrl. She'll take you for palimony! Seems kind of sneaky.

Big-O said...

I'm curious whether anyone at Binions recognized you?
I remember a post you did where you described coming back to the card room and sitting in the wrong seat. The dealer asked you if you wanted chips by the name Grump.
I've wondered how often another player or a dealer recognizes you.

Rakewell said...

It depends on what you mean by "recognize." Lots of poker room staff at the places I play most recognize me as a frequent flier. Some of them know me by name. At least a few, I'm sure, know that I'm the author of this blog, though there's only a very small number that have made some comment about it to me so that I know that they know.

As for players, it's been a surprisingly long time since anybody piped up to say he or she recognized me. Used to happen pretty regularly.

Big-O said...

Does this also mean your back collecting chips?

Rakewell said...

I can't resist picking up a new chip when I see one. I'm still planning to sell the collection, though after I didn't find a buyer for the Palms chips (here or on ebay), I haven't done anything to try to make it happen.