Sunday, July 18, 2010

Las Vegas Trip Report: Looking Back
It has been over three weeks since I returned home from my latest trip to Las Vegas and I have not yet written a trip report. I guess the lazy summer days slow things down a bit.

I went June 19--26, flying out of Chicago Midway Airport on my old standard, Southwest Airlines. I had recently been flying American Airlines, which really had some unpleasant flights because people did not want to pay the fee for checking luggage and instead brought on board the biggest carry ons possible. I could not believe how long it took to board on American because of this. On Southwest -- no problems. The flight was uneventful save for a family that was encouraging screaming between two of their kids. Good thing I didn't have a taser.

As always, I let finances and location dictate where I stayed since I only spend time in my room to sleep. The Imperial Palace rooms have always been fine with me. Easy check in and check out. No problems with the elevators. Stayed for almost a week with little cost and no problems.

I started out by playing at my Las Vegas poker home, Bally's. I got a call from cmitch, who came over to splash a few chips with me. We had a late dinner at Paris and caught up with each other. Afterwards he headed back to the Rio to try to crush the donks there. Me -- I preferred the action at Bally's and stayed there.

Sunday morning was the day of the blogger breakfast I attempted to arrange. cmitch and ck had recommended having it at the Rio. I decided to take the shuttle over there from Harrah's. Joining me on the ride over were Shabazz Jenkins and Memphis MOJO. They were both nearing the end of their trips.

We got to the Rio to see if any other bloggers would show. Nope. The early morning breakfast just seemed to not work for others. Anyway, it was great to catch up with Shabazz and MOJO.

Speaking of breakfast -- I decided to get one of the Harrah's Buffet of Buffet passes -- a twenty-four hour pass that gets you in the buffets at the Harrah's Las Vegas properties. It was $34.99, but I got it free using comps I received for playing poker at Bally's. I used the pass to also eat dinner that evening at Paris and breakfast the following morning at Harrah's. Not a bad deal at all. After eating at three buffets in a day, however, I reached my Las Vegas trip buffet limit. Good thing I do not eat like that at home!

I only played in one tournament while in Las Vegas -- one of the Binion's Poker Classic events. I just, for some reason, was not in a tournament mood. I was doing well in the NL Hold em tournament until I made a really bad decision. I lost focus for a few minutes and that was it. I was shocked to be out. I left in a daze and went back to the strip to lick my wounds in the Bally's cash games.

I met a couple of bloggers for the first time on this trip -- SmBoatDrinks and IlliniFan97. Drinks and I played a little NL at Bally's and then I had lunch with both at Margaritaville right before I left Las Vegas. We got to hear the blow-by-blow description from one of their friends who went deep in a WSOP event.

Meeting (in person) new friends and seeing old ones was the highlight of the trip for me. I did okay at the cash tables, coming out ahead despite taking a few hits to the junk the last two nights. However, this trip overall just seemed, for lack of a better term, uninspired. I was in my favorite city playing poker at my favorite place, yet I did not seem to be having as much fun as I usually had. What was wrong?

I didn't really figure it out until I got home. For many years, Las Vegas had been my refuge -- my hideaway place from work, stress, and life in general. However, seeing that I had been on a sabbatical from work and therefore my stress level was almost nil, I didn't get the same feeling being there. Also, my more recent trips to Las Vegas have been split between being trips I took by myself and trips I took with one or more family members. When spending more than a couple of days in Las Vegas, having family around seems to keep me grounded more.

I did have fun on the trip, though, and had some sessions at Bally's that were a blast. My flight back home was even quite humorous as I sat next to a Las Vegas guy who kept pushing money at a flight attendant to get us, as he called it, "first class drink service." He thought he was even going to get us drinks before takeoff. We had a great flight!

I was only at the Rio once during the Las Vegas trip, so I missed seeing some people who were working, playing in tournaments, or generally observing the action. I thought about playing in a donkament, but the vibe just wasn't there this trip.

Unfortunately, my work sabbatical is now over. I spent my first week back in the office this past week. It felt really good. But if work starts getting to me anytime, I'll just need to remember that the December blogger gathering and tournament in Las Vegas is only five months away.


Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

It was good to see you again, too.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Nice write up Lightning - Don't forget you'll get to meet ME in December! So you won't be using the word "uninspired" for that trip. I know what you mean btw about losing focus for a minute in a tourney and watching the whole thing slip away. Been there dude.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

Sounds like quite a relaxing trip just the same. If we're ever out there at the same time, I'll totally destroy a buffet with you.

Of course, now if my firm would finally stop scheduling their Xmas parties for the same weekend as the winter blogger gatherings...

12:36 PM  
Blogger BWoP said...

Gah! I really missed seeing you this year.

December, December, December!

2:29 PM  

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