It’s been a long time since I have posted any sort of trip report. But I think it’s worth giving it a try.
Saturday Oct 5.
Everything starts out fine. I get my traditional Starbuck’s caramel macchiato before the family drops me off at the airport. My Southwest flight is right on time, though the pilot seems to find all the construction up there, it was a bumpy ride. However, we landed a little early and I am off and running.
One innovation that I really enjoy is the offsite car rental terminal. I know it’s been there a while, but I still appreciate not having to find your specific shuttle bus and wait for it to not be full. Once we arrive at the terminal, I spend all of 15 minutes there. I just beat a rush it seems as I walk right up to the Budget counter and breeze through the paper work. I like renting from Budget as they never really try to hard sell the insurance or full tank of gas. I have heard and read many horror stories from other agencies that do that. Before I know it I am northbound on Las Vegas Blvd. and heading toward my home for the night, Excalibur.
It has been 17 years since I stayed here. This was the first hotel 2 buddies and I stayed at my senior year of college. It has changed on the outside. No more Merlin or moat monster, just Dick, which of course makes sense. What says medieval England more than… Dick? But I digress. Check in is pretty easy and good, until…… I am told that the $20 food comp that came with the room is only now good at 3 places where that would cover the appetizer and open after 5pm. I was not happy about that. My goal was to spend less than $15 in food. Now I would blow that at lunch. And since it was noon, I couldn’t get to my room until 3, which didn’t bother me since they said they would call me.
I head to the poker room to play some 2-6, but there was a list. I put my name on there and decided I would go eat at the buffet. Though I couldn’t use the $20, there was a $3 coupon in that book of ‘values’ they give you. The food was wildly mediocre, but satisfying. As this was also my first buffet in Las Vegas 17 years ago, I found it hasn’t changed and really there is no need to return for another 17 years.
When I got back to the poker room, my name was blinking. I sat down and started playing. The ‘room’ is not in the best location. There was a slot tournament right outside of the poker area. It was not quiet. Throughout the 2.25 hour session, it was loud. No one at the table was happy about that. Not to say the game was a bunch of crabby people, we just couldn’t hear each other talk. No one got to spin the wheel while I was there and the play was pretty straight forward. I wish I could have gotten a card or two.
I have some good memories of this room. It was the first place I ever played poker in a casino, a 1-5 stud game complete with Elvis. I got my wife to try casino poker in the 1-3 holdem game they spread years ago. But it’s not worth making a special trip to anymore.
I was able to check into my room and found that to be fine. I have no complaints. The bed was fine, the room was clean and there was a great view of NYNY. After I got settled, I jumped into the car and headed off for the Venetian.
I usually park at the Mirage, but since I have not been through TI in a long time, I decided to park there. After a quick walk around TI I headed to the Venetian and was seated into the must move 4/8 Omaha game. The only complaint about the Venetian I have is the must move thing. I understand the reasons somewhat, but after 45 minutes, the game broke. And it was a decent game! I was up $2! I sat around for about 10 minutes and took the last seat in the 4/8 holdem game that had just started.
I was there for only a half hour when my name was sort of called. They put in the wrong name and it took 5 minutes to figure out that it was me. I sat down and realized I was in bizarro land. This 4/8 O8 game was friendly? It was talkative? It was everything I was told this game shouldn’t be…. FUN! I had a great time talking mostly to locals. One guy who always remembers me because I look like someone from back home was there. I’ll just say there was a running story with his new running shoes that would take too long to explain, but was hilarious and I still don’t know if it was true or if he was handing all of us a line of bull. Either way, we were all entertained.
The play of this session was pretty straight forward. There wasn’t much wild aggression. While I was a slight loser this session, I did have a nice heads up play where the river brought a flush to go along with the straight already on the board. It was checked to me and I bet the scare card. I got the whole pot instead of the half, as she laid down the same straight I had.
After heading back to Excalibur, I realized that the average gambler doesn’t realize things. Why are the shoe blackjack games that pay 6-5 full? Our forefathers created 3-2 blackjacks and I think we should get back to that. Instead of telling all the players this, I went to bed to close the book on day one, hoping to get some sleep and turn the tides of fortune to me winning a session.
More to come later with Day 2. Thanks for reading.