Saturday, November 15, 2008

hollyweird > las vegas > hollyweird

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I had one of those super quick trips to Las Vegas. In and out for work. No bullshit. No one got hurt.

In some regards,the Vegas sojourn reminded me of a typical work assignment where I have to cover a smaller poker tournament. It really didn't feel like am extension of a hellacious bitch of a seven-week assignment that I fondly refer to as the World Series of Poker. For those readers who don't follow the poker thing, the final table of the WSOP championship was delayed 117 days in order to create buzz for a made-for-TV event. Ah, welcome to the world of sports entertainment. I had to return several months later for the conclusion.

Lucky for me, Nicky was hired to cover the even for the official coverage team which included a free room at the Rio. I crashed in the room, which are really small suites. During the last four summers, I never stayed in the Rio. Plenty of friends did, but I avoided staying on the property to preserve my sanity.

On the first night in town, we met up with Otis for a steak dinner and caught up on life. Afterwards, we had a couple of drinks with other friends including Michalski and Jen. And even Dr. Chako made a token appearance. The former military doctor is enjoying the private sector. Since we had to get up at 7am for work, we called it an early night. I dunno if I ever did that before in Las Vegas.

I ordered in room service. It's usually taboo in my world since I travel so much and know how ridiculous the prices can be. Room service is a sure way to bleed money while on the road. But we ordered in out of convenience. It saved us an extra 30 minutes or so which we could use towards sleep. Actually, I didn't get much sleep. I was out by 1am and wide awake by 4am.

I wandered downstairs to pick up my media badge and spotted one hooker sitting alone at the hooker bar. Poker tournament usually start around noon and sometimes later especially in Europe. Final tables usually kick off around 4pm. This one was slated for 10am... on a Sunday. Right smack in the middle of football. I missed an exciting Jets game and had to follow along via Derek's text messages.

I was inside the Penn & Teller theatre around 9am and didn't leave until past 1am. I was up for almost 24 hours finishing up some work.

I was scheduled to work at 10pm on Monday night and tried my best to sleep in late. Nicky and I played a little poker that day and met up with Otis for Mexican food.

I got out of work around 3:30am on Tuesday morning. I headed right for the Hooker Bar for cocktails. One turned into many and I have a sad/hysterical/haunting tale about what happens at the Hooker Bat at 7am in the middle of an economic credit crunch. Hookers were swarming and we even got one of the working girls to make a cameo on a Tao of Pokerati podcast. Stay tuned for a full report that I'm still in the process of writing.

I crashed at 8:30am or so and we slept in until Tuesday afternoon. We finally got up and the sun was going down. We grabbed dinner and watched the final table on ESPN. Afterwards, we headed to the Gold Coast for Pai Gow, drinks, and bowling with Otis, Matt, and Michalski. Nice mellow way to end my last night in Vegas. If I'm gonna lose money, I'd rather lose it to friends prop betting on bowling.

While I was in Vegas, I secured my next gig... an assignment in Mexico on the Latin American Poker Tour. Poker News hired me as a reporter and as a photographer. I'm working solo and wearing two hats instead of being a part of a bigger coverage team. Otis hired Nicky for PokerStars for the same event. They will be working together. So Nicky and I get a free trip to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Although we will be working, we will find time to get into hijinks with Otis. The quick trip to Mexico will be the weekend after Turkey Day and the weekend before I go to Vegas to hang out with my friends for Gracie and Pablo's wedding. And yes, there will be a Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot sighting that weekend.

On Wednesday morning, we checked out of the Rio and met Flipchip and Poker Prof for lunch at the Blueberry Hill diner. Schecky originally took me there for breakfast during the summer. I dug it because Vegas really doesn't have old school diners with aging waitresses and good tunes. Nicky and I ate there a lot this summer with Mean Gene. And I was dying to go back because of their chocolate cake.

The drive from Vegas to LA went quick. I was a bit hung over, we listened to a ton of Phish, and Nicky drove the entire way. Usually we stop half-way and switch drivers. We were making such great time that we didn't stop once and drove straight through. That might have been a bad idea because we both had to piss once we hit downtown LA and got stuck in the last bits of rush hour traffic. I was tempted to whip out my penis and piss out the window on I-10.

Nicky and I arrived in our neighborhood and I was never so happy to see the slums of Beverly Hills. After I pissed for like five straight minutes, we headed out to a nice dinner.... Indian food. It would be Nicky's last decent meal in a while. She was scheduled to fly to Poland the very next day. She was going to Warsaw for a work assignment and I was staying behind in Hollyweird to write and catch up on work. I would have her car and the entire apartment to myself for one week.

I wonder what sort of hijinks I could get into?

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