Bloggers Invade Las Vegas

by Lou on December 11, 2006

Iggy Gives Me the Hammer
I’m wearing a small gold pin in the shape of a hammer on my jacket, signifying that I’m officially part of the poker bloggers group that’s here in Las Vegas for the winter World Poker Bloggers Tournament, which is more a get-together of poker bloggers who eagerly read each other’s stuff and love poker and frivolity — in which order, I’m not sure — than it is a conference or anything else with overtones that serious.

Regardless of the reason, there are 90 or so folks her for this event that culminates in a tournament today at Caesar’s Palace, if it hadn’t already culminated in a terrific lunch Friday at the Wynn, and some private poker games at the MGM, where our tables were adjacent to the bar, so players could partake in drinking and playing with equal gusto.

Iggy, the “Blogfather of Poker” famous for his uberposts on his site Guinness and Poker, gave my pin to me. Iggy is the O’Hare Airport of poker blogs; all poker blog traffic seems to run through him and he is constantly redirecting his readers to other blogs and he is always a wonderful read.

Lunching With the Literati
My radio broadcast partner, Amy Calistri, was there as was Tim Lavalli, our guest this past Thursday on Keep Flopping Aces, which airs weekly on www.holdemradio.com at 9:00 PM EST. I would up sitting next to Tim, Amy, Richard “The Quiet Lion” Brodie, Michael Craig who wrote a marvelous book about the ultra high stakes games between Texas gazillionaire Andy Beal and a consortium of top Las Vegas pros that included Jennifer Harman, Todd Brunson, Ted Forrest and others that were euphemistically referred to as the “Corporation,” Dan Michalski from Pokerati, and Randy Lau from the Poker Player’s Alliance.

Hundreds of Ersatz Elvises On the Loose
The Las Vegas marathon is Sunday, but when I got up Saturday morning and went across the street to Starbucks, I must have passed 30 people or more all dressed up in Santa Claus suits and participating in some sort of charity run or walk that was associated with the marathon. I never thought I’d see Santa Claus outnumber ersatz Elvises (is the plural Elvi?) in Las Vegas, but the folks in the Santa suits outnumbered the Elvis Impersonators five-fold.

Between the marathoners, the ersatz Santas, and all the cowboys in town for the Rodeo and partying loudly in every casino I went into, Las Vegas was so crowded that our small-by-comparison group of bloggers might have escaped attention altogether unless you happened by the right bar at the right time and wondered why they were running out of Guinness.

Caught in a Time Warp and Reduced to Dial-up Access
I’m staying downtown in Binions, rather than across the street at the Golden Nugget where I usually stay, and had forgotten that Binions does not have high speed internet access, so I’m not even going to bother with the dial up access available here, and I’ll wait to post all this stuff until I get home. Ever since they wired my neighborhood with fiber optic cable and I switched from cable modem to a fiber optic connection, I’ve become incredibly spoiled about online connectivity, which is incredibly funny when I realize how happy I was way back when I was able to upgrade to what was then a blazingly fast 56k dial-up modem, and it wasn’t all that long ago.

Early Elimination From the Tournament
aturday was the big day — the poker tournament — and I had some gifts to give. I brought a copy of Poker For Dummies to be awarded to the first player eliminated from the event. I almost won it myself, which would have been really embarrassing. I think I was the second player eliminated. I also brought Secrets the Pros Won’t Tell You About Winning Hold’em Poker, and my newest book, The Rules of Poker: Essentials For Every Game, that is just about to hit the bookstore shelves. Those two books were a gift to the player who knocked me out of the tournament.

I lost a number of chips when my pocket queens fell to pocket kings, lost some more chips when my pocket kings fell to a set. I was finally eliminated when I flopped a flush draw with Ac-10c and never was able to spike either an ace or a club.

A Long Lunch With Nolan and Rich; $2-$5 No-Limit Hold’em at Caesar’s
I really wanted to keep playing that tournament, but I couldn’t. So I did the next best thing. I went to lunch with Nolan Dalla. Lunch with Nolan usually gets pretty philosophical, and this was no exception. Rich Korbin was in town and he joined us as we were about midway through the meal, which put three long-winded guys at the same table for quite some time.

Finally we were talked-out and went off to play $2-$ no-limit in the poker room at Caesar’s palace. If you’ve not been to this poker room, it is very quiet, set off away from the rest of the casino and reached by a passage leading behind the sportsbook. There’s loads of room between tables, very comfortable seating, and it’s an incredibly relaxing room.

Nolan and I each won about $600 when the game broke up. Rich was at another table, so I don’t know how he did, but he stayed and continued to play as they combined the remnants of our broken table and filled the empty seats at his table.

I had taken a cab up to Caesar’s earlier in the day instead of driving, and Nolan was kind enough to drop me off at Binions, which by then was a cowboy-crazed madhouse, full of rodeo fans in full alcoholic frenzy, whooping it up on the last night of their stay in town.

I was too tired for any more fun so I crawled off to sleep, awakened at 6:00 in the morning and headed off to Palm Desert. Instead of taking the Interstate that’s always crowded with Sunday going-home traffic, I took the cut off to Cima and went through Amboy — the nearly untraveled, back way through the desert.

Captured
Somewhere between Amboy and 29 Palms, on a two-lane road that cuts through the midst of a very unpopulated stretch of desert and has almost no traffic anytime, I never saw the CHP officer on the side of the road until his flashing lights caught my attention. I was ticketed for doing 80 in a 55 mph zone, which will commit me to a future Saturday in traffic school to atone for my sins. Just one last bad-beat, I suppose.

I guess I’m fortunate he clocked me doing 80; I usually run it up a lot faster than that on a nice, dry, deserted desert road in the middle of nowhere and a couple of years ago I was cited for doing 100 on the same road.

I arrived home tired and run down. I turned on the TV, fell asleep in front of a football game and awakened in time to see the San Diego Chargers look like the best team in the league and LaDanian Tomlinson look like the best back since Walter Payton, if not the best all-purpose back ever, as he set the single season mark for touchdowns with three regular season games still to go.

I’m Going Back For More
The bloggers get-together was about as much fun as you can have doing things that are legal, and I’m eager for the next one, whenever it is. I have my little hammer pin fixed to my Poker Players Alliance hat, so it’s obvious to anyone in the know, that I’m no longer a newbie and I belong. And I’m glad I do.

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