how imitating movies can win you money After dropping in on a few MM events in 2008 it would have been churlish to refuse the invite to MMVI. So I didnâ€™t! Wasnâ€™t originally planning to make it after having a December trip but my buddy Miles (Tractorboy) managed to talk his missus into letting him hit Vegas â€“ even though he runs his own business and its just short of his latest child arriving. If he could do that then I was out of excuses. So I cleared the deck and booked the trip. Wednesday: travel and the worst hotel room ever. I arrived very late Wednesday night on Southwest and took a cab downtown to Binions where Iâ€™d managed to secure a room for 5 nights for a massive total of $60. What a bargain â€“ thanks expedia. When I arrived at the desk I found that they were fully booked and they didnâ€™t have a 2 bed room.. but they could change me the next day â€“ which was good because although Iâ€™ve been friends with Miles for over 30 years now Iâ€™m not that close to him â€“ and nor do I wish to beâ€¦ So I would take whatever room they had for the first night where I was on my own. I head up to the room only to find that its down a maze of corridors. Iâ€™m feeling like a rat in a bizarre experiment after a couple of minutes but I do eventually find my room. Room 203. yep â€“ right above the casino and and overlooking Fremont.. sort of. I walk into the smallest dingiest room Iâ€™ve ever stayed in. anywhere. And Iâ€™ve traveled a lot. The drapes looked as if Benny himself may have picked them out â€“ in the 60â€™s. it was clean enough but â€“ damnâ€¦oh well its nearly midnight and Iâ€™m not staying for long. I check out the view.. behind the drapes are Stained glass windows! I managed to get one open and my view isâ€¦ the back of the Blue and white Binons faÃ§ade. However behind the blue and white is just steel painted grey. I literally have no view. Decision time. Go kick up a fuss, Knowing they are fully booked â€“ or drink. Yeah â€“ I went and drank. Hit a few casinos, play some table games and get some drink. Iâ€™m bone tired after a very long work week to get up to date before I leave but I have to get my vegas on!! I crash in the room about 3am â€“ I can overhear some noise from the street but thatâ€™s not bothering me as Iâ€™m so tired that Iâ€¦.z.z.z.zzzzzzz Thursday. Room improvement, Ellis island beer and a strike! Iâ€™m awake by 7 and use the worlds smallest hotel bathroom to get cleaned up. Hey â€“ they have warm water and the shower pressure is great. Its all I need. I quickly pack (not hard as I didnâ€™t bother unpacking) I head out for some breakfast and a few rum and cokes whilst running some cash through a few slot machines.. just a nice easy gentle start to the day â€“ because I know its gonna be a long dayâ€¦ I cleared my bags out of the broom cupboard Iâ€™d been staying in and headed to the front desk. They couldnâ€™t find the note about changing rooms that had been left the night before but did find me another room â€“ this time in the old mint tower. Way up on the 16th floor. I collected the keys and checked it out.. It was a basic binions room. 2 beds, overlooking Fremont, clean, light. Exactly what Iâ€™d been expecting when I first booked. Thatâ€™s gonna do just fine for the rest of the trip. I unpacked and headed over to the downtown transportation center. From there I jumped on the 116 bus up to Koval so I could hit Ellis Island. Miles was arriving that afternoon and it seemed like a good place to get some beers flowing. Arrived at 1.30 and sat down on a 50 hand poker machine. Beer took a while to arrive but once it started I was a regular stop for the beer girl! The amber was exactly what I wanted and I stuck with that. My wife checked on the status of Milesâ€™s flight, and texted me, so I knew when to expect him. He was slightly delayed but eventually arrived about 3.30pm and we settled into a steady beer drinking pattern and got caught up as I hadnâ€™t seen him for a year. At 4pm the BBQ opened and it was packed. Once theyâ€™d seated the first set of people I went to the podium and put my name down. It took about an hour to be called (beer time!) and then we headed into the BBQ to taste their fare. And it was as good as normal â€“ with a coupon and players club card the price was under $10 for 2 lots of bbq. And it was way too much to eat. Whilst waiting for the food I decided to check on a couple of things on my cell phone. Knowing that Dougie was hitting town Thursday I decided to see if heâ€™d landed and in my ever jovial manner I texted him â€œYou in yet Bitch?â€. Naturally , being married and therefore stupid, I sent that message to my wife by mistake.. just about the time sheâ€™d be getting home from work. Shit. Quickly text again to the wife to apologise and explain.. and hope for the best..(she did forgive me a day or so laterâ€¦.). Stuffed and happy we settled the tab and walked out to get a cab downtown. (btw â€“ the area in front of the casino was being ripped up â€“ looked like they were putting in a new patio area. Didnâ€™t stop the bbq operating though - so maybe that isnâ€™t being affected). After getting downtown and dropping the bags off it was time for the downtown tour â€“ hit and run on a few casinos, drinking, laughing it up, pai gow at El Cortez and some Roulette too. 25c roulette with a bunch of college kids was a lot of fun.. especially as one of them was a Manchester United fan so I spent a happy hour or two abusing him.. Drink service was good at the Pai gow but nonexistent at the roulette. So I orchestrated a sitting strike. We all refused to put any more bets out unless we got cocktail service. It arrived pretty quick then!! The evening wrapped up when Miles decided that after being up for 30 hours and having flown 6,000 miles he needed to sleep â€“ so he headed off and I quickly met up with Mickey and Dougie, who were heading off to play poker, and fixed up a meet time for the following morning. Another hour of bouncing around casinos and collecting slot tickets for later use and I was done too and headed off to sleep.. sleep that was only interrupted a couple of times about 3am by some people texting me trying to find out what time to meet for the Kartingâ€¦ Friday: Krazy Karts, limos, partys andâ€¦. Friday. Its karting day. And I had to be there as I was the one who had arranged it. I struggled to contain my OCD over organizing instincts and headed out for breakfast of champions. Krispy Kreme donuts and caffeine! Its always pleasant to sit out on fremont and drink and chat and watch the world go by â€“ especially those dressed inappropriately to be walking through strong sunlight (there are some silhouettes you donâ€™t need to see whilst eating) and those heading back after their night out! We met Dougie by 9.30 and headed off to MGM to meet the karting group. A beautiful day out and I was psyched for this. After numerous texts and phone calls we all met in one spot and the fast laps bus turned up to drive us to the course. This place looked good online and met its expectations once we got going (after safety videos, racing suits, gloves, neck braces, and helmets). I have to say - it was a total blast. The karts are fast and we had enough to run 2 full groups â€“ 3 times ten minutes racing (warm up, qualifier and final race) in which time you could put in 17 to 18 laps so a hell of a lot of racing for the money ($62 per person for the group option). It was brutal though â€“ you really had to work those karts and they were fast. Everyone I talked to had aching arms for days after but it was a lot of fun. Angy, sin and sticky were beasts on the course â€“ glad they werenâ€™t in my group because there was no quarter given for anyone. Some very fast laps were posted, great racing was produced, some nice crashes (I managed to spin out on one lap and was stuck behind a post were I was ignored by the officials for at least 4 laps!!) and Scott broke every machine he touchedâ€¦ Darren and Angy picked up the medals for the fastest laps in the finals and I was pleased to see them worn with pride every time I saw them. As Angy said â€“ â€œIâ€™m an excellent driverâ€ â€“ and she indeed was. The bus trip back was interesting â€“ very restrained in that nobody used the pole as a stripper pole.. and the route back to the MGM via the trashy castle and Tropicana was unusual to say the least. I think the suggestion to use the drive through at in-n-out was a good one however thatâ€™s the only road around that intersection we didnâ€™t use! Additionally the karting was the chance I got to meet up with everyone for the first time â€“ or the first time in a year and it was good to see those familiar and new faces. After the karting Dougie kindly drove us back downtown where it was time to go get some real food. Miles and I headed over to MSS where I was being comped for a couple of free nights and a buffet.. not bad for a low roller. Checked in and saw the room â€“ the usual nice MSS room.. We were going to hit the lunch buffet but it was nearly over so instead we gambled and drank for an hour or 2 and tried the black chip porter they make there.. very good.. then hit the Friday night Seafood buffet as it opened. It was the usual good quality MSS fare with some fresh and tasty deserts to finish. Then it was back to the room to shower and head out to meet Don at the plaza and his lovely wife â€“ Miss Jennifer! We ended up in his room having a pre party drink along with Doc Al then headed out to use the Limo that Don had arranged. We jumped in that along with a few others including Murph and SteveB (my first time meeting them) and headed to the MGM. Just like in the chat room Murph was swearing and many a gentle and not so gentle ribbing took place â€“ all in fairly good taste tooâ€¦ We pulled up at mgm and headed up to the suite. That wasnâ€™t too shabby.. The party was a total blast and it was fantastic to see so many people. This crew knows how to party! SteveB had won some scotch in a bet with snert and was kindly sharing it â€“ very nice stuff. Better still was Snert acting as the scotch bitch and refilling our glasses when they were getting low! I finally remembered to take my camera to the party as well but none of the pictures will be appearing until Sin decides which lewd pictures are appropriate for public viewing!! Bwhahhahaâ€¦ Good place, good views, good drink, good weather, great people. Its tough to beat that particular combination. I had a great time and it was nice that security werenâ€™t called this year . Angy and those that worked to set it up â€“ you are good people. Thank you. Post party we also jumped in the limo and headed back downtown. It was time to get my gamble on so I settled into a game of blackjack with Don and Jennifer We had quite a bit of time playing on the table and drinking and laughing but eventually it turned sour for Don and Jennifer who decided to call it a night. However I decided to win loads of money and stay thereâ€¦. Fine decision and a great plan. Instead of that I lost my buy in and quit the table. Beep.. beepâ€¦ beep.. This noise intruded on my conscious.. again and againâ€¦ until I realized it was my phone telling me I had a text. I looked around and it took a minute to work out that I was in my room at MSS. All my belongings were at Binions.. okâ€¦. I check the phone and its 7.30am and the message is from Miles asking where I am. I reply that Iâ€™d be back soon and stumble into the bathroom to work out if Iâ€™m alive and see why my eyes hurt. I soon realize that I slept with my contacts in.. so I take them out and now I canâ€™t see. I have a quick wash and collect what few belongings I have and head to binions. Not so easy without glasses. Or contacts and damn that sun is very very bright this morning. The bitch. I was hurting. I stumble back into the room feeling a little jaded only to find that miles is all washed dressed and lively and ready to go out. The bastard. I go through my wallet and find that Iâ€™m not too badly off for cash, given the circumstances. I find a ticket from MSS for nearly 50 â€“ printed at 4am.. so Iâ€™m guessing thatâ€™s where I went after the plaza. It also means that thatâ€™s the earliest I could have gone to bed.. no wonder I feel rough. I quickly take a shower and get dressed as we are meeting a friend of mine who is in town and is taking us to breakfast. We get into the Bay city diner and order good stodgy breakfast food and a lot of coffee (for me at least). After Breakfast Miles talks me into entering the 10am Binions poker tourney. So I do and what a disaster that was. I was having trouble reading cards â€“ reading people was out of the question and my calculations for money to put into the pot was way offâ€¦ I wasnâ€™t first to bust out but not far off it and soon went outside for some fresh air. I came back in after a few minutes to see Milesâ€™s chair empty â€“ heâ€™d soon followed me to the rail and just like that the tourney was over for us. Hung around for a bit after that then headed over to play some slots at Fremont. Actually I went there because it had a Dunkin Donuts and I could get a large coffee to help with the hangover and lack of sleep!! It didnâ€™t work though. Back to binions and I had an hour to kill before the tourney. I was very tempted to go and get 10 minutes sleep but in the state I was in I probably would have slept more like a few hours and missed the tourney and I didnâ€™t want to do that.. POKER.. The prizes! Or more to the point the Shirt for the bubble. It was freaking awesome. Black and flames and ********* on it. I decided to do my best to last long enough to get that!! Which meant I had to make the final table! SO I just decided to play tight and see what happened â€“ especially as my mental faculties were still somewhat lacking. I got to see a very ugly hand (for coasterhubby) early. He and Scott got tangled and scott ends up all in. CH calls and they both flip over a pair of kings.. split pot??? No way! Scott lands the flush to double up and CH is left with about one BB that goes straight in.. and loses. I was happy to see him go as he was sitting on my left. By this time the Viking helmets are out leading to all sorts of jokes about horns etc.. sensible lot huh? well it wasnâ€™t too long before I got brave enough to start putting chips out there and before long Iâ€™d been caught with my hand in the cookie jar.. and down to 600 â€“ or 1 Â½ blinds.. it really wasnâ€™t looking good and I couldnâ€™t see anyway back. I just shut down and only played with a decent card in my hand (as I couldnâ€™t catch pairs) and only when I could isolate someone. And it started working â€“ I wasn;t improving much â€“ I was still shortstack but I was hanging in and getting some chips back. The game went on and I was still hanging on.. next thing its down to 2 tables.. and Iâ€™m still there. Then Darren turned up and I hit a couple of flops against him to take most of his chips. Unfortunately he then got moved.. before long I had built up a nice sized stack and just to my right were molson and steveb and we all had over 20K in chips.. looking good again. I had a few great back and forth battles with steve before Doc Al spoilt the party and crippled steve with a couple of low cards that hit the flop. At one point Steve made a major bet with just the 2 of us in the pot and I backed off as it was a scary looking board and I was convinced that he had me dominated.. yeah steve I told you I had nothing but Iâ€™d hit top pair â€“ you junk little pair was nowhere near enough but I folded to you.. my worst laydown everâ€¦.. Then molson tried to take all my chips but I pushed back over his bet and he tried to talk to me to get info. Not happening. He them told me that Miles had talked me up as a very tight player and based on that he folded. Which was good cos I had nothingâ€¦ Thanks for the chips though. Well after that and playing badly with chips in front of me I bled them all off so that I was shortstack again â€“ at least Iâ€™d made the final table. You could see everyone checking out chip stacks and eyeing me up as the next victim. However everyone was bet happy and I could just fold away waiting for a hand. I did get a pair of queens in the big blind (or jacks) which were my first decent pair all day â€“ and everyone folded to them .. arrrgg. Next thing is people are dropping out and its bubble time.. and from the first hand of the day all the way through Marty and I are still in exactly the same seats. And heâ€™s gunning for me. Luckily Don decided to throw his hand in and lost â€“ he did get that beautiful shirt though.. and that meant Iâ€™d made the money. OK â€“ I did not expect to get this far â€“ especially given where I was in the first hour but Iâ€™m hanging on. Trying to play poker again someone wearing a Viking helmet with panties on is a challenge â€“ if only trying to keep a straight face. At least I didnâ€™t have to look at the person with a condom on their hat thoughâ€¦ cough.. Down to 6 people meant that the range of hands I could push with got a little larger and I did the all in a few times and was called â€“ and kept hitting!! Still hanging on.. Molson crashed out in 5th leaving me moving up the money. Not sure how long the final table took but for me with so few chips it seemed like forever. Al seemed like heâ€™d had enough of trying to crush me and tangled with promethesusq â€“ who was the monster chip leader by then â€“ and lost leaving me and marty as shortstacks. I seem to recall Marty going all in a couple of times but escaping with it before I got my chips all in again â€“ and the law of averages caught up with me and I lost. 3rd place â€“ with most of the 5 hours at shortstack!! I was very happy with that indeed â€“ and most importantly I got the bronze medal! Marty held on for a few minutes longer but the inevitable happened and he got crushed under the amount of chips that Q had. Congrats to Q!! and Marty â€“ well played sirs. It was a pleasure and an honor to down the tequila in one with you guys! And thanks to all the participants (especially Darren for giving most of his chips to me) and to Dougie for arranging it. The amount of fun and comments that passed around over those tables was great â€“ talking to the dealers afterwards and they all said they enjoyed that â€“ way different to most of the tourneys they deal! The top 3 (that included me) were presented with our medals (small bottles of patron that we could carry around on ribbons on our neck) and all proceeded to follow tradition and down them in one whilst having our picture taken. The money for 3rd place was nice but more importantly is having that token to hang in my man cave with my other medals. It has to be said I was exhausted after that and the couple of rums that I drank didnâ€™t help. After the group died down I went back to the room to change as I had dinner arranged. Headed to the flame steakhouse with a couple of people from the same industry as me who were in town and had a very nice meal with them. Afterwards we headed back to the plaza as Don said heâ€™d be in there. Took a walk around and couldnâ€™t see him so headed for MSS. As they comped me a couple of nights I though I should give them some play â€“ especially as I still had no clue how much Iâ€™d played the night before. Almost immediately I bumped into a bunch of crazy people â€“ otherwise known as the t2v crew theyâ€™d taken over a $3 blackjack table and seemed to have settled in.. only problem was that the drink service was none existent. Snert kindly gave up his seat at that point for anyone who wanted to play and as nobody else was ready to jump in I did and put my money down. Snert and Steveb came to the rescue on the drinks front and just after they turned up with drinks the cocktail waitress made an appearance so we ordered more. From that point forward the drinks flowed regularly - we were ordering the next round as one was delivered. The cocktail waitress did point out that we could only have one drink at a time at the table but we assured her that weâ€™d be done by the time she got back.. and we were â€“ every time. As for the blackjack â€“ well that ran as smooth as it should do. Dealer kept busting and the doubles were hitting. Add to that the shouting of â€œMONKEYâ€ and singing about going to sizzler (you know who you are ) and we were soon drowning out the craps tables next to us. Everyone was also betting silver for the dealer and he was taking a small fortune in tokes. The pit boss had to come along and change up the silver from the tokes twice as we were running them out! Iâ€™m sure in that dealers one session at the table he took down over 300 in tokes!! Another dealer moved in and whilst still making tokes she wasnâ€™t busting out as often as the previous dealer but it was still a lot of fun. After tripling my buy in I stepped down to let Marty have the lucky seat (hey â€“ it was between lynnie and sticky â€“ how could it not be lucky!) and took the chance to have a chat with a few others. Not sure how much longer the run went for but I believe in the time the table was OWNED by the t2v crew I think the worst anyone did was lose about 10 bucks.. not a bad result! There were calls at some point for Al to man up and get his panties out which drew a few strange looks â€“ but thatâ€™s nothing that crew hasnâ€™t seen before! The evening drew to an end when everyone decided to cash out and head back to the strip. I got a chance to say goodbye to a lot of them as Sunday was going to be my poker day and I had declined the invite to the Wynn meet. I finished up after another hour or so of breaking even at MSS and ended up a very long fun and profitable day. Sunday â€“ The poker day and Oceans 11 can win you money! After a few hours sleep Sunday was upon us. A light (!) breakfast at the Bay city diner started us off and a couple of drinks to keep the buzz going for the day then it was back to binions for the 10 am tourney. I was expecting a far better performance than 24 hours previous but soon found that nobody respected my raises with nothing and I found myself low on chips. A push with a big pair found me running into 2 pairs and I was out on the hour. Such is life. However for once Miles stayed alive so I hung around to provide moral support and abuse. He carefully cultivated tight â€œdonâ€™t mess with meâ€ imagine was damaged when he was down to the last 2 tables and ordered a coffee with a mass of whipped cream on it. I couldnâ€™t help myself and called out from the rail â€œthatâ€™s a macho drink you got going there Miles!â€. Table image destroyed. However he hung around long enough to make his first final table which he was rightly proud of and then crashed out from the table before the money! Good stuff â€“ his confidence in his game was restored. The balance of the day was strolling around Fremont and hitting a few casinos and slots including a star wars slot where Miles made 75 bucks on 1c a line from a bonus!! Then we caught Dougie and headed over to Magnolias for lunch/dinner. A good laugh was had and although I thought the food was average the company made up for it. That evening we hit the poker room for a few hours of trying to beat the rake at 2/4 limit. I decided to shed my tight image and within the first orbit I took down 2 pots â€“ the first with 56 off suit and the second with AA.. If any of the others had taken notice that would have put me on a wide range.. but they werenâ€™t. The funniest part of the night came when I got 22 dealt to me. I joined in the fun on the pot because Binions have a quads bonus going â€“ with 22 paying highest. However even though the flop missed me and produced another pair 998 (I think it was ) I bet out anyway and reduced the field to one other person. I checked down the next 2 cards which were a pair of 5â€™s and that meant my hand was useless. Unless the other guy had 2 cards under an 8 then my best hand was the board and a chopped pot. I was first to turn over, so ala Oceans Eleven I proudly rolled them, and declared â€œ3 pairs!!â€. The guy down the other end of the table took one look and said â€œI canâ€™t beat thatâ€ and mucked his cardsâ€¦ he had an Ace as well!! Thanks you. SHIP IT. 16 bucks just for messing around and imitating poker from a film.. gotta love that. Miles headed off for the 11pm tourney after that whilst I stayed and played. A couple more hours on the table and I finished when my K high flush ran into a straight flush. Then I lost the rest of my money when a someone hit a bigger pair on the river. Time to call it a nightâ€¦ after 6 hours of pokerâ€¦ never mind I did Enjoy it and drank plenty whilst playing poker.. Monday.. checkout day. And coupon redemption. Being as I am so good at money management in vegas (not) I tend to hit slots and keep the tickets in my wallet so I always have something to fall back on. Todays mission â€“ collect the tickets and cash them out and play a bit more in each casino. After breakfast at the coffee shop (thanks to the comps Iâ€™d run up) I did the fremont street run for a few hours â€“ getting a few drinks and collecting the coupons. I did join Miles for a brief blackjack session at Binions but the dealer was hitting everything so after getting back to even I colored up and ran to the $2 roulette. I did lose here but did get to witness some guy burn through $1,200 on the table in no more than 30 minutes. He spewed chips allover the table then would watch as the ball would land on one of the 5 numbers he hadnâ€™t covered.. it was simply amazing to see.. It wasnâ€™t a good Monday morning for him thoughâ€¦Miles was having a down spell and borrowed a few hundred off me. Whilst I went to get the rest of the tickets cashed he hit the table games. With checkout time looming I had to head back to the hotel as although we had a 1pm checkout they had cancelled the room keys at noon so we couldnâ€™t get back into the room. That was quickly resolved and we both packed and hit the casino for another couple of drinks before heading out. Miles did have a final upturn in the gambling and was able to return all of my money to me. The airport was in sight before long and another trip over. The direct flight back to New Hampshire was uneventful and I managed to finish off my Southwest drink coupons on the way. Before long I was landing in New Hampshire to be picked up by the wife and taken home. Tired and happy. One of the best weekends in Vegas ever. Oh yeah â€“ I nearly broke even as well.. who could to argue with that.. High and lows. No big downswings on the gambling roll. Getting a medal in the T2V poker.. thatâ€™s a fine result. Meeting new people Karting Poker Blackjack with the crew Being sounded out for a potential job whilst eating in El Cortez.. and not in the casino industry!! Limo rides with fun people. Scotch bitch Patios with views But most of all â€“ the people. Lows. The room on the first night. Thatâ€™s pretty much it. General. I normally madly over plan everything but have learned not to do that in vegas. My entire trip was built on 3 or 4 things that I had to do â€“ beside that was a small list of things I wanted to do. Most of them I did not achieve and Iâ€™m good with that. I ended up being so busy that I did not even step foot on the strip (although I was in vehicles on it on occasion). I guess thereâ€™s always another time. And more reasons to go back. Vegas is fun and I always enjoy myself. However the highlight of the trips are the people I travel with or meet. This mob turn the fun factor up to 11 everytime. There were people that I wish Iâ€™d spent more time with â€“ and a few things I wish Iâ€™d been able to do but it just wasnâ€™t possible (sorry E â€“ another time on the happy hour!!). However this was still possible the most fun weekend in Vegas Iâ€™ve had. Hereâ€™s to next year. I do have pictures but theyâ€™ll have to wait as this life thing is getting in the way right now.. some will be posted though. Eventually..