Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WPBT Report

I was there for five days, but I think it can be recapped in one post. Forgive the lack of links, I may add them when I get home.

Let's get the crap out of the way first - down. Down a bunch. Atlantic City levels of down. I don't think I won a damned thing. Craps? Hundos on the table, walking away empty-handed. Pai Gow? Down a couple, but most games were the expected break-even with +EV in drinks. Let it Ride? If not a for a 3-card set of jacks, I'd be swearing off the game. Poker? AA once in the tournament (where I went out in 86th) was the only notable hand in all the poker I played. Although I was up $23 in the MGM mixed game. Slots? Well, I'd better be getting some good offers from the broke-ass casino companies this year after the number of max-bet button presses on my cards without a cash-out.

So, totally negative on the gambling front.

Big deal.

I was still under my loss limit.

And it was more than made up for by the real reason I went - to see you people.

By "you people", I mean you. And you. But not you, because you didn't go.

As has been the case for every winter gathering I've attended (4 and counting), I had a small entourage of local friends in my wake. The regulars - M, N, and E were joined by a couple Vegas virgins - M2 and S. In years past, I've had small regret for having a posse with me, as they haven't necessarily integrated with the larger group well, which has left me torn between groups.

This year, I went where I wanted, and it worked out better. Local friends ditch the $10 table for the $5? Tough, I've got Otis on my right, and Chilly and Bayne on my left. I'm not going anywhere. Drizz, Maigrey, and Gus show up to make it even better.

Hey guys, I'm teaching you Pai Gow. I can't believe that worked considering one of them doesn't drink and another doesn't drink much. Talk about -EV.

You want to stay in the room instead of gamble? Have fun, I have a tournament to rail and a drunken Gus is too much fun to NOT join his craps table.

Got to meet BrainMC (world's worst Pai Gow player), xkm1245 (who I think was stalking me, dude seemed to be everywhere), NumbBono, PokerVixen, 23Skidoo, Josie (who I like because she called me skinny), and more. Probably played with even more people I didn't know without realizing it. Sorry to Wolfshead for not introducing myself at the mixed game - I was full of Robuchon and gambling angst and didn't think to make a formal introduction.

Then of course, there's my fellow Canucks - Katitude and Joanne1111. Only seeing Joanada in Vegas makes sense as Calgary ain't exactly next door. But Kat? We really need to start meeting up somewhere between the 20 minutes between our respective homes - I think 10 minutes is much more reasonable :). Then there's kinda-Canadian BuddyDank who was the first blogger I saw this year, and who I have just now decided I will blame for my early ousting from the tournament, as I spent most of my time chatting with him. Obviously, he drained all my good luck to make it to the 6-way chop.

Speaking of Canadians - OhCaptain's (from South Ontitoba, aka Minnesota) Bourbonators never really came together, but he DID get his group shot before the tournament and a bottle of Bowmore to bring to the next Eh-Vegas! Always good to see the cap'n.

Then there's VinNay and Dawn and Mary, who I've seen more than any other bloggers (and most of my local friends) this year. Amazingly, we still had some stuff to talk about, be it of substance or not. Although Mary and I seemed to be on different schedules and barely crossed paths.

I FINALLY played craps with Bayne after about 6 coincident visits to Vegas. That one's ticked off the list, and replace with "do it again, and win this time."

CK made it out to Robuchon this year! No crappy deals that never got done to keep her away from the best meal in Vegas. And for those who DIDN'T see her at the mixed game after? She cleans up great - who knew she even had a dress and heels? You'd barely know she was a deadly poker machine.

Al, Pauly, Iggy, CJ, Drizz, Falstaff, April, April, Garth, Gnome, MiamiDon, JoeSpeaker and many, many more - it was great to see you, however briefly.

I even managed to make it to Legasse's this year. Later than planned, but there was something great about walking into that suite, packed with people I knew, and some I hadn't even realized were there. Free swag from Full Tilt was icing on the cake. I'll have to start using my pool to justify the sandals...

And the food! I might have lost at the various gambling tables, but the dinner tables were nothing but win.

Sage = fantastic food, and an amazing value for a nice dinner. 3 course tasting menu, wine or beer pairing, and appetizer upgrade all for $140? In Vegas? Worth it. Oh, and our waiter was amazing - he rolled with our jokes (we were in town for a quilting bee) and was great for a laugh or six himself.

Delmonico's = still making the steaks right. Two years in a row now we've been put at the front of the restaurant - which is dark and sucks. Service has dropped off since our first visit 4 years back as well - it's by no means bad, but it used to be above and beyond. But they still know how to cook a solid piece of meat. The $25 corkage fee for our excellent self-brought wine was also very reasonable.

Robuchon - what can I say that I didn't last year? Awesome. With the new experience shine off from last year for half of us, I worried if I'd oversold it to myself. Nope. Still 16 courses of perfect food and impeccable service. Worth every penny. Hell, I'd lost more at craps the first night. Our sommelier being Canadian was a pretty nice touch too. Seriously, if you can afford it, do it at least once.

Julian Serrano - Last minute "well, we're all out of the tournament" dinner. Very nice tapas. Reasonable prices. I've certainly had better tapas in Toronto, but the dishes here ranged from good to "bring us another of those". The waiter was also incredibly friendly, and seemed genuinely happy to have served us. The fact he found a stamp-collector in our group, and he was an active one himself, certainly helped.

Legasse's - You'd be hard-pressed to find better food at a sports bar anywhere. Considering it was the only meal I ate between then and lunch the next day, it was welcome.

The last time I was down this much, N and I left Atlantic City with grumbles and vows to never return. Looking back, I can't believe how much fun I had while flushing cash down the felt toilets in Vegas. A huge thank you to everyone who was there, and a double thanks to Al, April (and her local cohorts), and CJ for taking care of all those logistical things that made it extra special.

Next year? Need to cram in a photowalk, and also get that indoor skydiving thing done. There's also the Jose Andres restaurants opening up this week at the Cosmopolitan. I task the Vegas locals to check those out for me and report back ASAP.


Shrike said...

Thanks for the trip report. I gotta make it out next year.


Gnome said...

Great to see you in Vegas. It was a fun trip as always

Dawn Summers said...

Then there's VinNay and Dawn and Mary, who I've seen more than any other bloggers (and most of my local friends) this year

Wait...did you just call me *you people*?? #racist

Also, I will note that I am 10 times the craps player I was before this trip! (O craps player times 10 is...)

BWoP said...

Yay for making it to Robuchon this year.

Super yay for the print you gave me :-)

BamBam said...

I HATE being "not you!"

Jordan said...

Is Eh Vegas scheduled yet? I couldn't make it to Vegas this year, but I'd love to make it to Eh Vegas next year.

Astin said...

HoP - Not yet, but Kat's kicking around a summer gathering as an idea. I should have a more relaxed summer this year to help out or at least show up. It's definitely a better move than end of winter.

Heather said...

It was, as always, great to see you!

Also, I wish I had a video camera to record Drunk Gus's craps escapades... :)

Katitude said...

yeah it's pretty sad that we have to travel a few thousand miles to connect when I can almost see your building from mine.

Let's do a Rama or Niagara run soon!

BrainMc said...

It was great to meet you and your posse. You are correct, I am the worst Pai Gow player ever. That wasn't the first time I lost that much money playing, but it was by far the funnest. I'll be sure to look you up at the end of May when I head up Niagra / Toronto way.