Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hard Rock

Last night I played at the Hard Rock for the first time in over three years. I was last there on May 23, 2009, to be exact. I never did particularly well in their "Poker Lounge." My experience was that they attracted too high a ratio of grinders to tourists. It's now been a couple of years since they shut that down and moved the room to a new wing of the casino, and this was my first time to try it out.

Why did I go? Well, I don't like there being poker rooms that I haven't seen--even ones that are merely remodeled or relocated within a casino. Also, I learned recently that an old friend from my Hilton poker room days, James Klosty, is now the Hard Rock poker room manager, and I hoped to see him. (He wasn't there, unfortunately.)

Finally, I am in the process of gradually liquidating my poker chip collection. The Hard Rock has probably issued more different commemorative chips than any other place in town. If not the absolute most, they are certainly in contention with the Tropicana, Rio, and Palms for top honors. Of course, I could just take the ones I don't want anymore to the cage and cash them in--but what fun is that? I wanted to play with them. I removed 26 ($130 worth) from my collection, leaving just six that I especially liked. (Two or three years ago I decided I had a completely ridiculous number of Hard Rock chips and that it was a Sisyphean task to try to acquire a complete collection, so the 30 that were left before last night's purge were already a culled set of favorites from a previous cashing-in event.)

As you might guess from the above photo, I pocketed another four to bring home. Which is not wholly within the spirit of the chip-reduction project. But it's still a net reduction of 22, so moving in the right direction. Besides, who could resist a poker chip featuring the Mona Lisa wearing Groucho Marx nose and glasses? Or Abe Lincoln in sunglasses? I love the elegant design of the Friday the Thirteenth chip. And surely everybody likes either Bob Seger, or the tailfins of the 1959 Cadillac, or both, right?

The Hard Rock parking garage is as maddening to negotiate as it ever was. But that actually worked out in my favor. I lost my first buy-in at around 11:20 p.m., and felt too tired to keep playing, so I tried to leave. But I couldn't. My car was on the 7th level, and there was a traffic jam all the way down to the exit. I had badly timed my bust-out to coincide with the end of the Fiona Apple concert. It was hopeless. If I got in my car, I would just sit in it, idling, inching forward, for probably an hour. I decided I'd be better off putting in another hour of poker. So I went back to the poker room, got in a different game, and in 90 minutes not only won back my lost buy-in, but an additional $195 on top of it.

The play was much softer than I remember it being in the Poker Lounge. The room is not as comfortable now, though. It's just a cordoned-off area of the casino floor, so there's a ton of noise and cigarette smoke, both of which annoy me no end. This means that I'm now going to be torn between remembering that the games seem easy to beat (if my one-night sample means anything, which it may not) and remembering the headache that the atmosphere gave me.

Will I go back again? I'm not sure yet.


Lindy99 said...

Could be that some of the Fiona Apple concert goers decided to play a little poker after the concert and wait out the traffic as you did, making the 2nd session of the night a little softer.

grrouchie serge said...

1 - I was going to comment on the Fiona Apple concert and really wish I could have gone to it.

2 - I love the Groucho/mona lisa chip and now will have to play there to track one down myself since I have such a huge love of Groucho.