Sunday, July 19, 2009

las vegas > hollywerid

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

For the first time in a very long time, Nicky and I both woke up and smiled because we knew that we'd be leaving Las Vegas after moving out to the Nevada desert two months earlier. I had a much shorter prison sentence and squeezed in the first leg of Phish tour in the middle of the grueling WSOP. Nicky was not so lucky and she endured one of her toughest assignments to date. In short, she was miserable, forced to take a pay cut, and it didn't help that I skipped out for a while and had a balls out fun summer while she had to sit inside a casino and watch me blog, tweet, or text about my adventures.

I also detected the eye daggers and slings and arrows from some of my work colleagues who weren't so lucky and got stuck in the trenches for seven plus weeks humping shitty assignments for their ungrateful employers. For the most part, my work friends were all happy for me because they knew how much pleasure I get from migrating from place to place and soaking up music from my favorite musicians. However, that's not to say that I put them on slight tilt when I returned in good spirits and well rested for the hardest three weeks in the entire poker industry while they went through a multitude of personal pyscho-dramas.... life tilt, work tilt, relationship tilt, gambling tilt... you name it.

On my fifth attempt at covering and surviving a two-month summer assignment, I finally figured it out how to cover the WSOP without killing myself. It usually took me weeks and even months to recover from the brutality of working everyday for seven weeks (even on days off, I was still working to some extent). One summer, I was not right until October and most of the time, it took me until Labor Day to recover. That's how intense the WSOP can be physically, mentally, spiritually, and creatively.

At this point, I've been in LA for less than 24 hours and I'm on the verge of my fastest recovery. Physically and mentally... I've never been better at this juncture of the summer. The Phish sojourn helped and reducing the amount of days I spend in Las Vegas did wonders. That city really drives you crazy.

I can bounce back within a few days. If anything, I have the burden of Lost Vegas looming overhead and scrambling around trying to run a gagillion errands before I head back out on the second leg of summer Phish tour. I have trips to Colorado, San Francscio, Portland, The Gorge, and Seattle planned... not to mention heading back east to NYC for Phish shows in Hartford, Maryland, and upstate New York. Oh, and not to mention my first game at the new Yankee Stadium with my brother. Aside from a week or so in LA, I'm going to be constantly on the road for the rest of the summer but the good news is the 10+ days in NYC.

Sadly, I had to turn down two assignments. One in Russia and the other in Slovakia. I wish I had the time but I'm in the final stretch for Lost Vegas.

Ironically, actually wanted to stick around in Las Vegas for a few more days. That's rare for me but when I'm on a good run of cards, I want to maximize my good fortune and keep pressing my luck. I was anxious to get out to play poker on Friday. And the results were astounding. The number I won was not as important as the speed that I generated that profit... in less than two hours. Seriously, if I could realistically make $600 an hour playing poker, I would be playing a shitload more than sitting on the sidelines writing about poker and fluffing up douchebags that I wouldn't even talk to on a daily basis but have to in order to keep the wheels of the online poker industry moving and moving.

Anyway, I wrote up my adventures at the Venetian casino on Friday afternoon where I really pissed off a cute German goth chick. Check out... Germans, Goths Chicks, and Mai Tais.

After a mellow Friday night (packing up all of our shit and posting a final winning session at Pai Gow), we woke up early on Saturday morning and loaded up the car. We checked out of the Gold Coast where I had been living for the last three weeks. It's become the norm for me. That's my life. I live in hotels (some luxurious while others basic) where little ethnic women carrying white towels barge into my room if I don't leave a sign hanging on the door. I regularly eat overpriced room service and 90% of my meals are consumed inside a casino of some sorts. Even if I don't gamble in the pits, the corporations that own the casinos still shake me down every time I want to eat or hit up a bar to drink. Alas, that's the Las Vegas hustle. At any given moment, someone is trying to suck money out of your pockets. It used to be the mob, now it's a bunch of suits... not to mention the other operatives and dark forces such as angle-shooting degenerate gamblers, working girls, and junkies of all sorts.

Since the AC in our condo busted mid-way through the summer, we had to relocate to a casino. That in itself was a major headache and I'm stuck with most of the bill. Nicky essentially brought our entire kitchen to Las Vegas so she could cook her own meals so we wouldn't have to be forced fed overpriced and greasy and unhealthy casino food. Once we lost the condo and the kitchen, we had no more opportunities to cook our own food. Most of our stuff was stored in Michalski's garage.

We met up with him for breakfast at the Cracked Egg on Saturday morning. It was a goodbye meal of sorts at a breakfast joint that ended up being our favorite place to eat breakfast and a much tastier and healthier alternative to room service. Last year, we got addicted to OHOP. This year, it was the Cracked Egg.

We gathered up all of our things and packed everything into the car. We also leave with a little more shit than we came with... lots of schwag from online poker sites and magazines and books. This time, I had two trophys rattling around in the back seat. I have never won anything in poker worthy of recognition and I don't really play for the cups and trophys. I just want the money! However, it's been a long time (decades) since I got any sort of trophy. My sports days are long gone and it was a sincere pleasure to place the silver cup and the crystal trophy on top of our entertainment center.

The ride from Vegas was fast. Usually it seems like it takes forever to get back to LA. We went door-to-door in under four hours with a ten-minute piss and smoke break in Barstow and slight traffic near downtown LA. I could not have been more happier when I saw my first real palm tree. I was near tears when we drove down our pal-tree lined street and the dashboard thermometer read 81 degrees. It was 120 at one point as we sped though bat country.

For the moment, I'm happy to be sitting on my couch and pecking away inside a familiar place. I have to enjoy this momentary pit stop while it lasts.

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