Thursday, August 06, 2009

AC Endgame - Where The Cash Runs Out

It's 9:30 when the alarm goes off. N and I are both down over a grand. No big deal in the larger scheme of things, but still more than either of us have been stuck in the past. Usually by this point I've hit a big slot win, had a great craps run, or cashed in a tournament to make up loses and then some. Not so much this time.

But it's a new day! We're checking out of the Slodge and moving to Caesars for the last night. We boldly speak of how the casinos will be our bitch this time, while secretly knowing we're going home busto.

We leave and head into town. It's prime checkout time, so we opt to drive around a bit before heading to Caesars. First stop? Harrah's. We wander around, grab some lunch at the deli, and opt not to spend a dime in the casino - It's the closest thing to a win we've seen. On our way out, we once again recoil in horror at the ugliness that is the Trump Marina. Never have I seen so ugly an exterior for a casino. It looks like government building that you suspect has a very dirty swimming pool in it.

Next? Might as well take a look at the Tropicana. We're both surprisingly impressed by their effort at the theme. Sure, the casino is old, but we've been in far, FAR worse, and they've obviously made an effort to keep the property in decent shape. I guess new owners will do that. A few bucks were dropped on terrible slots, but there was still no desire to drop cash on a table, although the surprisingly packed poker room was tempting.

Off to Caesars, in a storm. Once again, someone turned the sprinklers onto full, and the ramps in the parking garage were one large waterslide. We made it outside and already people were pulled over. Stranded women in the rain looked like they could use the wash, and rivers of garbage flowed alongside us. AC was getting powerwashed in front of our eyes.

The drive to Caesars was easy enough, and 10 floors up, we finally found a parking spot. I was surprised that parking would be at such a premium on a Sunday. We checked in without incident, and were amazed at how terrible the elevator alcove was. As I expected, our room was around a couple corners, at the end of the hall, by the fire exit, with frosted windows that don't open in order to protect us from the view. Ah, discounted rooms for Total Rewards members.

I opted to pay for the wireless (it's free at the Slodge, but costs $13 for 24 hours at Caesars... yah....), to see if LJ was going to make it down. No dice, but I don't blame her. Between terrible weather, WSOP burnout, and her general stress level over the past few days, a pretty strong case could be made.

We wandered down to the casino and went straight through to the candy store in the Pier shops. I needed me some M&M's of odd colours. After I had loaded up a couple bags of M&M's, I made my way to the Jelly Belly section and proceeded to load up on the best jelly beans in the world (I may have a bit of a sweet tooth). The woman at the cash had been eyeing me with great suspicion the whole time and finally walked over.

"You do know it's $11.99/lb, right?"


"Oh, okay."

And she was gone. I had expected this brief exchange much earlier, as they no doubt have people walk away when the bill is tallied, leaving them to resort the mixed up bag of candy into the appropriate colours. This is much harder for Jelly Bellies as different flavours sometimes share colours. $60 of candy later, I was out of the store and off to buy fudge and taffy. That came to another $20. $80 in candy has a way of taking away some of the pain of losing.

With our purchases dropped off in the room, it was FINALLY time to do a little gambling.

Except it was now 4:30pm, and dinner was coming up soon. So I hit the "restaurant reservations" button the phone and asked for a reservation at Buddokan. First, it turns out that button doesn't quite put you in the right place, as I think I ended up at the front desk. After a transfer, I was informed "we don't make those reservations, but we can give you the number."

Now I know I'm a nobody. The amount of money I gamble in a given YEAR doesn't amount to 10% of a moderately high-roller's buy-in for a single craps session, but I'm still a customer, still a member of your loyalty program, and still fairly annoyed by AC's overall ghetto-Vegas atmosphere. There's a restaurant in your shopping complex, attached to your hotel, and I want a reservation. You can put me on hold and call the damned restaurant yourself and spend the 20 seconds making the reservation.

But no, I got the number, and the reservation was made.

With about an hour and half before the res, we opted for... craps. Now, Caesars was ROCKING the craps tables. 11 tables going strong, most of them $10. We saddled up to one that felt good and played. There were some minor ups, and even half an orbit of warmth. Then it got downright chilly. In the next round, I was the only roller to hit anything (2 points), and even that was too quick to make serious cash. At least we got our hour and half out of it, but coloured up and cashed out down a bit more.

Dinner was, once again, great. Some solid "family-style" serving of chicken and ginger gyoza, kobe beef satay, edamame, lamb chops, and wasabi-crusted kobe steak. I had a hard time saying no to the banana tower for dessert, and N enjoyed the mini donuts filled with sweet cream. Unlike Sea Blue though, we weren't bursting at the seams from the volume of food.

Finally, FINALLY, came some more poker. We opted to ease back in with the 8:15 tournament at Caesars... which turned out to be a 14-man affair that wouldn't last long. I built up a nice chip stack through card-rackage and we merged tables at 10 people. N quickly became the chip leader in a killer hand where he had AA vs AK and KK all-in. Nice job there. I maintained a solid stack until a series of hands against shorties that re-raised all-in for less than my "get the shorty out of the hand" bets. Soon enough, I found myself near the bottom of our very short-handed table. In the end, I went on the bubble, to be later berated by N (who chopped 50-50 HU + extra from the other guy to cover N's withholding tax). AC charges taxes differently than Vegas it seems, and I think N got screwed by it (not the chop, but the casino). 30% off ANY winnings and BEFORE dealer tips, whereas Vegas is anything over $1200 and AFTER tips. Lemon.

While N was cleaning up at the tourney, I was sitting down at the cash games. I was playing it tight for a while, and chipped up nicely when I took down a couple pots (QQ that became 666QQ vs nothing against an all-in and AK vs KT or something), but generally played as weakly as the rest of the table.

My ass was saved at one point when my 48s hit the 6s5s7o flop. The turn didn't help, but all the money got in with my 2nd nut straight and straight flush redraw. The 9o on the river saved my ass when my opponent flipped over 89o for the nut straight that now split with me.

This pissed him off to no end, but I silently didn't tell him that it was minor compared to the straight he spiked on the river and orbit earlier against me for 1/3 of my chips.

As the night wore on, my stack wore down. I finally woke up to how shitty I was playing and upped the aggression. This worked nicely, bringing me up to mostly even before they broke the table at 4am. Sadly, even is not a win.

I decided to end my gambling for the trip with a visit to a slot machine I've never played... Hot Hot Penny. Yes, the official slots of Buddydank Radio, and the Buddy-Joanada union of bliss. This is, without a doubt, the most insane slot machine I've ever played. In no time at all, I had taken $30 to $200, and then dropped it back to $100 before going back to $160 and then down to $0 to end the night. I have no ideo what happened, what won, or how ANY of it works, but it's nuts... and far too much fun.

To bed, with a 9am alarm waiting for me. It felt like I slept for 5 minutes before than infernal sound started going. It took a full hour before I actually woke up, and then "rushed" (read: didn't rush) around getting ready. Some souvenir shopping also had to take place, and we were finally on the road around noon... which meant any dreams of making it back to Hertz on time would be shattered.

Sure enough, we got to the airport at 2:20, and were dinged with $70 in overage charges... $93/day to rent, $70 if you're an hour late. I fucking hate rental companies. I'm done with Hertz too, after they pulled the "oh, you'll have to talk to the manager" and then make us wait until we HAVE to leave to catch our 4pm flight. Nice move asswipes. I have to make that phone call soon.

Lunch at the bar by the gate, on our slightly delayed flight, and home before supper. Much like Vegas on the last day, there was no place I wanted to be more than... home.

So AC, you win this round. You took a couple grand out of my pocket, but you're just keeping it warm. Next time, I'm flying right into your heart and then I'll rip it out with my bare hands.


Dawn Summers said...

Wait, what the hell? Why is there a big long post covering up your awesome post. And a quick scan reveals no mention of me. #Iknowtwitterisdownbutyoudorememberitisalwaysaboutme #legendary

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

"Stranded women in the rain looked like they could use the wash, and rivers of garbage flowed alongside us. AC was getting powerwashed in front of our eyes."

Great line. And a really great recap as well, all three posts together.

Hopefully next time in AC I can join you for some losing craps and some poker.

HighOnPoker said...

Great report. You really captured the disturbing nature of AC.

lj said...

still bummed i never made it (yeah, i'm reaaaallly behind on blog reading). donk in some tournaments w/ me december 4th weekend to prepare for vegas!