Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 10)


Want to hear a poker story? 

I mean, I’m playing a crap ton of poker and have not talked about it much. I play all sorts of games but focus primarily at 2-5 NL poker and sometimes 5-10.  This year, however I’ve been playing 1-3 for fun as I wait for tournaments. 

Yesterday, I drove to the rio at 8am and the place was empty as hell, so I sat at 1-3 to wait for the 2am deep stack tournament. 

I bought in for 300 and after an hour and around 500 then was down to 300 then back up to 500, mostly because I call a ton of pots. At 1-3, why not?

I lost a big pot to one guy who called my all in (I had the top set) and he an an open ended straight draw, and hit the river Ace to win after the money was all in.

So maybe 30 minutes later, I was dealt pocket Kings in the middle position. I simply flat called the 3 bucks to which someone else raised it to $12 and I simply called that and 4 players saw the flop. I was third to act.

The flop was K-8-5 with two clubs on the board. 

I bet $25 (half pot) and everyone called. 

The turn card was a red 10, so I still had the top hand. 

With around $150 in the pot, the first guy checked, the second guy checked, I bet $80 (half pot) and the last position called, the first position called, then the second guy (straight draw guy) shoved all-in with $300 or so. 

I then shoved all in, for around the $450 I had left. I still had the top hand. 

Then the third position, said “whatever” and shoved all in with around $400. 

Then the guy first to act waited 30 seconds and moved all in with $500. 

I was ahead but had a bunch of bad cards that could screw me.

The river was a red 2. I had the nuts.

Seat one flipped a Ace-4 of clubs for a missed flush draw. The second seat flopped a set of 8s. The fourth seat mucked his cards.

So there I was. Raking in a $1500 pot on a 1-3 game.

And all of it happened because I didn’t push my kings hard before the flop. 

I played another hour and left for the pool. 

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 8)


So I was playing poker on Friday when Allegiant Airlines called me and said that my booking at the Palazzo was bumped.

Hmm.

I don’t know how this happens. They said rooms often get overbooked, so I just went with it. Allegiant Airlines apologized for the inconvenience and offered me to move me to the Cosmopolitan (more expensive hotel) or the Wynn Tower Suite (more expensive package) and they would cover the difference.

Pretty sweet. 


So I went to check in, and discovered when I got to the desk (Sunday morning is busiest check-in day due to all the check-outs and waits going on according to the employee) that I went to the wrong area, the resort check-in instead of the tower check in, which is by the south entrance.

What makes the tower better? No resort fees (score). Complimentary breakfast (score). Access to the VIP pool. I think every room comes with a free ticket to “showstoppers” the musical. There is twice a day service to the room. 


So that is the hallway up to my room. A noticeable difference than what I had been crashing at on my daily Priceline checks. 


My room is pretty nice. Everything is color coordinated. There are automatic curtains and lights. The ceilings are high and the air smells great. This has to be the most comfortable bed I’ve ever stayed in at a hotel. I slept through 3 alarms because I slept so good. 

The room is furnished with a little seating area and desk. Other hotels might have this but the quality is considerably higher here too. (On the strip, I’ve stayed at Monte Carlo, New York New York, Tropicana, Mandalay Bay, and the Palms) 

The bathroom is the nicest I’ve been in at a hotel in Vegas: Double marble sinks, large bathtub with a tv in the bathroom, with a complimentary tub of items that blows other places away.  

Of course there is the snack bar. If it’s late, and you are hungry, you can simply snack there instead of walking your ass to CVS to save a few bucks. On average it was around $7-9 for most of the items. 

That’s me laying down with the curtains opened. 

Out my window, I could see the pool down below. The VIP area is the higher level. The pool is heated to keep it around 80 degrees or so year around. 
Looking up from there is the Wynn Golf course. Looks pretty nice to me. There were not too many golfers when I looked. 

More to come on the stay here as the week goes. Wynn is an awesome hotel, and Allegiant was pretty awesome for making up the difference and putting me at the Wynn Tower Suites. 

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 7)

So there was a bizarre thing I did with my travel package. I did maybe 50 different variations of searches and combinations of dates to determine which was the best value. What I discovered was the weekends are expensive in Vegas, especially for the hotels I wanted to stay at. For the cost 9 days at the Palazzo plus airfare through Allegiant and a rental car, it was going to be $2900, not including hotel tax and resort fees plus rental car facility fees ($90).

When I searched again for Sunday through Friday for the last 5 days in a partial hotel search, the total cost was a little under $1100 with the same fees. Wow. The first 4 days were gonna cost me a ton. So like the adventurer and seasoned Vegas traveler I was, I took the cheaper option. My plan was simple; I would get to Vegas without a hotel room the first 4 days and Priceline the last minute deals. 

So I got to Vegas on Wednesday afternoon and played some poker and before I knew, it turned into a marathon session. My stuff was still packed in the rental car. So I simply used Priceline and scored a cheap place off the strip, Stay America for $45 (out the door with tax price) on that Thursday. 

Am I a cheapskate? Maybe.

But on the strip, you pay an average of $30 in resort fees plus $10 in hotel tax (plus $10 parking a fees at MGM properties) each day. Add that up and you are talking up to $450 in hidden fees. 

Yes, I did pay for a rental car, but I consider this a mandatory expense as taxis are a complete waste of money when seeing Vegas on the go. The math works out if you just use the rental once per day vs taking a taxi. (Other good option is to use “The Deuce” which pretty much runs 24/7 up and down the strip).

So I checked in and they welcomed me with the hospitality that you would expect for a $45 deal on Priceline.  The place comes with a kitchen and wifi (slower than 1994 dial up) but reminded me of those types of hotels that people pay by the week. I didn’t care much. I seriously took a shower and slept for 10 hours. 

Think about it. The only place cheaper than this with no resort fees are the hostels, which might only cost $15 but you are sharing the room with 7 people, sleeping in bunk beds.

So that was my room after waking up. Not very nice but not stank either. There was a certain aroma in the air that reminded me of the scent of what happens when people don’t exactly abide by the no smoking rule. 
Stay America did come with “breakfast.” There was coffee, some fruit, some muffins and some granola bars. After 10 hours of sleeping I needed something so I scarfed down on everything to get something in.


All in all, Stay America is a good cheap option to crash if you need to do something funky for a day or two to beat pricing anomalies. With friends, you save even more money. If this had resort fees of the strip (only a few blocks east) the place would have been equivalent of $5 at circus circus (plus all the crazy fees).

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 2)


So there I was at Aria, my first stop. I’ve been there many times on previous trips, and the first thing that shocked me was the new parking system MGM installed yesterday. In a bizarre move, all MGM properties except Circus Circus will charge for parking after the first hour. How much? $10 a day. This is pretty mind boggling for an industry known for loss leaders like free drinks when gambling and $1 shrimp cocktails. 


I’m pretty sure based on the parking (first time in 3 years I could park on main parking level instead of 3 parking levels up) that people are already avoiding MGM to go to Wynn, Harrahs, or Las Vegas Sands properties.

So I was going to play 2-5NL holdem and took a 1-3 table to wait, however the game was fun and easy. There was some Scottish dude next to me who explained his global travels and how he doesn’t pay any taxes; I guess in England if you are abroad more than half a year you don’t pay any taxes. 

I splashed some pots and got in crazy hands and was moved around to one of the crazier 1-3 NL games ever. At around 4am the game kind of turned into $100 blinds because a few players were shoving $60-200 into the pot preflop without seeing their hands for around 45 minutes until one crazy gambler got it all. Everyone waited and prayed to nab at hand during the crazy “tired gambling.”

Too bad it wasn’t me. 

All in all, the first session went ok. Up $775 for getting rust off before I head over to the WSOP later this week. 


This is the halls of Aria at 4:50am. I kind of roamed around looking at what had changed in a year. Aria kind of looks like an airport in a weird way. It is mind boggling MGM spent $10B on City Center as the design is one of the most un-fun atmospheres in Vegas. 


So as I was walking out to pay my damn $10 for parking, I stopped at the craps table, a place I have seen all sorts of stuff go down. At the table there was a guy in a whittle hoodie and brown hat playing $25 craps. After 10 minutes the guy next to me said “hey, the shooter is Neymar jr.” I had no idea who he was and had to google it, and sure enough it was him. On his Twitter page, his posse is pretty distinct and they were all there cheering him on. He was a pretty gracious friend; constantly refilling his friends racks when they went broke. Banker Neymar Jr has a nice ring to it. 

I would have asked for a pic with him, however, the guy was obviously trying to be stealth during a weekend with his friends in Vegas. Why be an asshole and interrupt if I honestly didn’t know who he was and the fact that he will be starring in Vin Diesels next action film. 

In any case, it’s early and I still technically don’t have a room booked until Sunday.

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 1)


I’m going to test out live blogging. My annual Las Vegas trip started a few hours ago, and I figured I would write about this key experience. A full disclaimer, I used to live in Las Vegas so I know the town pretty well. 

Why am I going in June? Well, the World Series of Poker is this month and many walks of life from around the world descend on Vegas which makes all the games and antics pretty entertaining. Simply put, for poker players this is their Super Bowl month. 

Will I only be playing poker? Nope. (Especially if I go on losing streak that makes Pauly Shore’s career collapse look pleasant) I do have other things planned that you’ll have to stay tuned to see.


How did I pack? Pretty light. I don’t know what I needed to bring,  so I packed a few of everything. I wanted to go light. I can always buy stuff here on Maryland Blvd behind the strip. I briefly lived in an interesting place there, right near UNLV. I could write 28 novels from the stuff I saw and heard in that area (where dreams go to die).

To start, I wanted to give a little travel hacking information. I booked last minute flight and searched all the airlines and Travel sites. I booked a $177 (with all taxes and fees) roundtrip flight from San Antonio to Las Vegas. This was 75% cheaper than the major carriers plus it was a direct flight with no layover (score). 


I might sound paranoid, but I questioned the rock bottom pricing of Allegiant. I was wondering if it had hamsters powering those engines, but nope, the flight was actually pretty good. The takeoff and landing were pretty smooth and I didn’t feel in danger at all, unlike the last time I flew on American Airlines. I swear, the pilot almost flipped our plane in “turbulence” on my flight in April to Mississippi.

The downside of Allegiant? They charge for everything. Do you want a carry on? Boom $50. Do you want them to print your boarding pass? Boom $5. Do you want a coke on the plane? Boom $2.

This resulted in the strangest thing I’ve seen this year on a plane. Only like 5 people chose not to be total cheapskates and paid to put their luggage in the overhead bins. Only maybe 5 people bought a drink on a 2.5 hour flight. 

So what is the plan? I rented a car and have no place to stay for the first 4 days. Yep. You heard that right. I’m a nomad for a while. There was a major pricing anomaly with one of the hotels which I’ll discuss next week when I check in. I got a hotel package with the airline deal the last 5 days. For now, I’m just a man and a luggage bag in the city of sin. 

Will I slum it at a stank place the first 4 days? (Circus Circus or Stratosphere I’m looking at you) Will Priceline give me a sweet deal when I search later? (Pleeeeeease) Will I win a million bucks on the Wheel of Fortune slot and get the penthouse? (Odds are 1/25,000,000) 

Check in and comment on what I should do the next 7-10 days. I’ll be live tweeting nothing but Vegas observations the next week.