Poker, novel-in-progress, and updates from rainy PDX.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

All right. I was just reading through Wil Wheaton's poker blog, when I remembered that I have tons of Vegas stories to share with the world. Of course, they aren't necessarily about poker, since I didn't play back when I used to go to Vegas every year, but they are worth repeating. I hope.

The first story will help explain the new name of this blog. In my post last night, I mentioned a contest to rename my blog (formerly TGI McBloginator). Well, I won the contest. I just lost a dollar ... to myself!

Starting my senior year in college, a group of friends and I began heading to Vegas every year around spring break time. More specifically, around March Madness time. We usually spent the entire trip playing $1 blackjack at Casino Royale and watching the games at Caesar's. A couple years into the tradition, we decide to save some money and book a cheaper hotel than usual. I was in charge that year, and I found what seemed to be a great deal: a place called Hotel Maxim. It was near the strip, it had a pool and it would cost less than $20 per night each (there were 5 of us sharing the room. We didn't plan on sleeping much). No, the hotel wasn't related to the magazine. In retrospect, I wish it had been.

The second we walked through the front doors, we realized we had made a mistake. There was no casino! It's not that we ever played in the casino we were staying in, but we were concerned that a hotel within 100 yards of the strip without a casino might be a questionable establishment. Not a single slot machine or card table in sight.

We'd later find out that the entire hotel was going to be remodeled, and that its casino hadn't been profitable enough to keep open in the meantime. You know things are bad when your casino on the strip is losing money!

Nevertheless, we took it in stride and asked the lobby clerk what floor the pool was on. "Pool's closed for renovations," she said between puffs on her cigarette. "Won't be open for another month or so."

Fucking great.

Our trip off to the worst possible start, we headed out to the cars to retrieve our luggage and see what sort of spider-infested craphole of a room we'd been issued. Walking back through the lobby, we showed our room key to the 110 year-old security guard and headed toward the elevators. We pushed the button and waited. When the doors opened, an 8 foot-tall cowboy walked out. The lobby lights reflected off his wraparound sunglasses and his 10-gallon hat nearly scraped the ceiling as he walked. Taking a drag on his cigarette, he addressed us. "Bit of advice," he drawled, walking past. "Stay away from the dice."

Of course, it turned out to be the best Vegas trip ever.


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