Jun 1
by Don

In truth, Vegas has always been there, it’s just been I who has been too busy with _______ to get back on here. It’s been more than a minute since I last posted anything really, but on the eve of yet another trip out to Vegas I felt compelled to do something.

Parlay's work sometimes.

Not a bad payout with 44 and Hollywood in the background

I have been to Vegas the requisite number of times over the years (which is 4-5 per if we are scoring at home) and most recently went back in March as I do annually for the first weekend of March Madness. It’s always a great time and honestly never gets old. We have upped our collective game over the last two years in terms of where we stay (Wynn/Encore) and where we bunker down for the first two days (Lagasse’s Stadium) and I honestly could not think of a better way to do it. It’s hard to come out that weekend with even a small group and not have a plan because Vegas has caught on to the March Madness hype and everyone now has a “party” set up where you have to reserve in advance with all different types of minimum spends required. Going there without a plan and advance reservations would be a nightmare because gone are the days where you could just wing it and go from place to place to watch and get your bets in.

So in going at the end of this month, we have a great plan of attack. Lori and I are posting up at Caesar’s for the first three days and then to the Wynn the last three. We are going to meet up with Goldie and 44 for the Wynn portion of the program and it promises to be epic. Goldie is responsible for the nighttime festivities as she has been out the Vegas a lot for work recently and has promised to scout out the best place for the four of us to hunker down for one crazy blow night of music, table service and awkward dancing (provided by 44 of course). This should rank fairly high on the ridiculous scale since we are basically the old folks at the club at this point so I am sure we will drink too much and hilarity will ensue.

If I can get more time I will put some more meat on this bone with later posts, but for now this quick hitter will have to do!

Oct 24
by Don

To know 44 is to know that he loves the simple things when on vacation; a great steak, the “pick 6”, and of course a good fruity drink.  It seems that his love of Jimmy Buffet knows no bounds and thusly it’s always 5’oclock somewhere.

He and Goldie turned Lori and myself onto a little known gem that serves up the best fruity drinks that I have ever had, and the ironic part of it all I have personally walked by the place dozens times over the years and never gave it a passing glance except to look up and catch a score or something on the TV’s overheard.

The Fusion bar, a bar in the round, is in the Palazzo is near the cashier’s cage and surrounded by a few innocuous slot machines of little consequence.  I have walked by it on route to the bathrooms nearby countless times, but on this trip 44 insisted that we have a drink.

Wendy was the bartender and she was instructed to prepare 2 drinks with strawberry (for Lori and myself), a mango something for Goldie, and whatever she felt for 44 (turned out to be a watermelon concoction that was magical).  The resulting drinks were, well simply amazing.  This bar has infused vodka’s and what not so they are more prepared than most to make these wonderful drinks, and Wendy did not disappoint.

I have to say that if you are in the mood for a good fruity cocktail (and who isn’t really) find your way to the Palazzo and look for the Fusion bar by the cashier’s cage.  You won’t be disappointed.

Jun 14
by Don

Just got back from a very triumphant trip to Vegas with Lori and a assorted rabble to celebrate a birthday and have some general revelry. Details on that and the prior trip (I know I owe you guys big time), but I do need to tell this quick story.

We were on the 11am back to the ATL when we realize that we are not actually going anywhere. 20 minutes pass and the captain comes on and says that there is an issue with a valve or something and we will need to deplane. Uggh.

Normally this would be a time to both moan and groan, but Lori had made a killing at the BJ tables the day before and we all were in generally good spirits so a 5 hour delay was no big deal.

Well it turned out to be even sweeter as I was contacted by our newest sponsor, BestofVegas.com. They have it all, from shows to tours and everything in between. So please, take a moment to check them out here, or you can click on the link to the right under the search and find out more.

Thanks and more to come soon, I promise!

Mar 12
by Rolka Nation

Greetings, fellow degenerates!  Long time, no write.  First of all, some business to get out of the way.  I have previously been known here under the moniker of Pittsburgh Gil.  But that shall be no longer.  From this date on, I shall be known as Rolka Nation.  Why?  Shut up, don’t ask questions.  Kidding.  About 4 months ago, I started a full-time blogging endeavor called Rolka Nation’s Brewery, a craft beer themed site containing news, reviews, event info, videos, and more.  Check out my antics there.

On to the good stuff.  As you know, the crew recently took Vegas by storm yet again this past February.  This was my first trip out in roughly 17 months, which was quite the gap for me.  Therefore, it was time to do some serious gambling.  The budget wasn’t high but substantial and enough to maintain 3 days of play barring disastrous bad luck.

I learned the “hedge economics” blackjack betting system from ol’ Donnie Boy long ago and have practiced it.  However, I had never experienced that mystical run of winning a lot of consecutive hands to really cash in on it.

Until now…

My oh my, what a trip I had.  The good luck began the first night.  All 5 of us were playing at one table and I made a nice little $60 profit in about an hour.  A good way to start the trip.  The day was long, travel was involved, so off to bed I went at a decent hour.  But this, my friends, was just the beginning.

Day 2 was a little up and down but saw me come out slightly ahead again due to a nice quick session at Ellis Island as we awaited our table where we enjoyed engorging ourselves on their excellent BBQ.  The rest of the night saw me come out about even.

Day 3…wow.  It all started prior to dinner during the late afternoon.  Donnie, Lori, and War Eagle were at Caesar’s but I stayed behind at Harrah’s (homebase) as I had scheduled a deep tissue massage that afternoon at the spa.  No, I’m not kidding.  I like an occassional massage and schvitz in the sauna.  Deal with it.

So I had some time to myself post-massage.  I, of course, went to the casino and found one of the few 3-2 paying BJ tables in Harrah’s.  It’s located near an intrusive column right by the roulette tables, facing the cage.  This is likely placed her on purpose.  Know this and play at it, good stuff.  I bought in $100 and there were just 2 others at the table playing.  Well, before I knew it, I had turned that $100 into $375.  I won 6 or 7 hands in a row and had a couple of smaller runs mixed in there.  The session didn’t last long as the other two gentlemen pulled anchor and it was just me by my lonesome playing.  Not digging that vibe, I cashed out my $375 and rolled.

But wait, there’s more.  We had a fine dining experience at The Range, Harrah’s Steakhouse, and headed down to the casino for one last casino games session on our final night in town.  This is when the magic began.

Things got off to a bad start.  Lori and I sat down at a BJ table and each quickly lost $100.  This literally lasted less than 15 minutes and, being highly stuffed with steak and wine, I was about to call it a night.  However, it was still fairly early.  I played a little Pai Gow with Don and lost badly.  Things were looking even more grim.  I wondered back to my winning table from earlier in the day and saw Lori and Mr. Cub playing amongst the seat-filled action.  I observed for a while and then Mr. Cub busted out.  A seat was opened. Ok, one last time.

I sat down and my luck immediately took off.  I can’t remember too many exacts, but I know that I won either 9 or 10 consecutive hands and my bet got up to roughly $120 before I lost.  Wow, was this a rush.  I hit blackjack twice (3-2 remember) with $60 and $75 bets on the table.  My arms were raised high in the air, my voice bellowed in cheer, and my heart raced.  It wasn’t too long before I cashed out my $100 buy-in at a cool $600.

For the trip, I actually left with more money than I went with including every single expense while in town.  Food, cabs, drinks, the massage, my room…all of it.  So basically, a completely all-expenses paid Vegas Vacation.  Nice.

Never before had I experienced such a mystical run.  The ones you hear tales of.

I can’t wait for the next….

Mar 1
by Don


Well it wasn’t quite like that, but getting back to Vegas always does feel like a homecoming of sorts.  I was watching Poker after Dark on NBC the other day and Gabe Kaplan was on and he reminds me how much I loved that show as a kid and how the overarching theme of struggle and survival is so apropos for any Vegas trip.  This one was no different in that there were some highs and some lows, but at the end everyone learned a lesson of some sort and we all had a great time.

So the particulars for this trip were that Lori and Mr. Cub were having birthdays that needed to be celebrated.  Pittsburgh Gil and War Eagle both were down and we had a crew.  5 is always a good number in that it’s small enough for one cab at all times and there are plenty of different things for everyone to enjoy.

Lori and I got out there a couple of days before everyone so we had planned on playing some tournament poker to start the festivities.  We love playing in the Deep Stack Extravaganza that the Venetian puts on 4 times a year.  It’s a well-run tournament that always attracts good players, but at the same time is something that could yield a nice payday if you run well.  The goals are always the same; cash first and then play for the final table.  Seems simple, right?

We play in event 24 which was a $350 buy-in that has a top prize of $18k, nice.  These events are always long and if you are playing at the final table it goes on the following day.  So basically if you can play for about 10 hours you will be in the money and if you can play a bit longer then you could end up at the final table.

Lori plays well and lasts about 7 hours which includes a lot various bad beats along with some great play, but in the end she just ran out of steam.   Personally I am very proud of her as she is always a tough out and as we have seen in previous posts she is no stranger to the top spot.

My run is much more bizarre in that I never really get anything going.  I am consistently under the chip average at about every break and when we get down to about 29 players I am constantly battling to not be the bubble boy in this thing.  So of course I find myself all in with A10 on my big blind for which I didn’t have to call and I could hope to survive, but honestly I don’t like doing that.  I would rather play it straight and if I bubble out then I bubble out.  The button pushes me with A9 and somehow I didn’t get sucked out on and survive in the money.  Step one accomplished.

Now on to the final table, right?  Well something happen when we were playing 6 handed that I like to call the fallacy of JJ.  Basically I tried to squeeze a raiser who had two min callers behind him.  I have JJ on big blind and I shove all in over the top for about $140k worth of chips.  Well he calls with a little less and flips over KK.  Awesome…  I don’t suck out and get bounced @ 19.  I was the bubble after all in that my ouster insures the remaining player that its now only down to two tables and then ultimately the final table.  12.5 hours equals 19th place and regret of what could have been if I didn’t get impatient.  What can you do?

Never fear though, we have only just begun and there are so many other stories to tell…

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