I spent from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Tropicana poker room, trying to win a share of the $16,000+ they had to give away in free drawings before closing permanently today. I had calculated last night that each person in attendance had an expected value of over $250 just for keeping one of the seats warm for eight hours, which I thought made it worthwhile.
In the early afternoon, Vegas experienced a real gully-washer of a storm, and it even came into the poker room. The table you see here had to be closed down because the water came in, collapsing a ceiling tile, which you can see on the floor in the second photo. Drama!
I didn't win any of the giveaway money, sadly. But I did make $136 from the poker. I know that's not much for eight hours of work. However, I ask you to temper your judgment with two considerations:
First, my table was incredibly nitty. They were there to occupy the seats for the drawings, not for the poker. The poker was just something the rules required them to do to pass the time. I have probably been at tighter tables briefly, but I sure would never have stayed at one for so long if I had the option to move to a better table. People were literally lined up dozens deep waiting for a chance to sit in one of these games because of the drawing money, so there were no openings to move elsewhere. How tight were these players? They spot-welded their chips to the felt, lest they be overcome with a spasm of recklessness and toss one into the pot with less than pocket aces.
Second, within the first hour or so, I dug myself a hole one buy-in deep when I was on the bad end of one of those horrible set-over-set situations. I had 7-7 versus Q-Q on a Q-7-2 flop. I thought I was most likely trapping an opponent with A-A or K-K, given her pre-flop three-bet. But nope--I was the one with the hook in my mouth this time.
So on paper it doesn't look like much, but I consider it to be an accomplishment worthy of a bit of pride. Besides, $136 profit is, as the old saying goes, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
FWIW, I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who has been present at the closing of the Tropicana poker room on two separate occasions--once in November of 2008 and then again today.