Monday, June 11, 2007

Vegas: Trip-Report Part 5: WSOP and Beerpong!

Once the blogger tourney finished up, I was having a hard time figuring out how to spend my last night in Vegas. The WSOP, the Strip, Bloggers, Brandon's House--and I had to leave at sunrise for a 500mi bike ride back to Tahoe. I wanted to have fun, but I also wanted to get some sleep, because I still wasn't feeling all that great, and I wasn't looking forward to the ride home.

Most of the bloggers were heading to various places to drink and play poker, and as much fun as that would have been, I decided that since it was my last chance this trip, I might as well head over to the Rio and catch some of the WSOP action. I bid farewell to the bloggers and zoomed over to the Rio, taking some squirrelly back-streets west of I-15.

When I made it to the Rio, I walked across the casino floor to the poker room, then saw a sign pointing me in the direction of the WSOP room. That walk was air-port length, easily the longest walk I've ever had in a casino. Finally got to the WSOP room, and it was packed. I think three or four events were going on, and the chips being shuffled all across the room was the most memorable noise. I hung to the right and waded through a see of people until I got close enough, yet out of the way enough, to see some poker action.

I looked around and saw the $5k pot limit game was still going on, the one Mr.Smokey1(housemate) was playing in. It started the day with 51 people, and he was one of them. I couldn't find him, and later learned that he busted out, but the rest of the competition in that tourney was amazing. Of the 30 or so people left, I saw Jesus, Joe Sebok, Allen Cunningham, Jeff Lisandro, Humberto and a slew of other "name" players. Behind Allen Cunningham's table, Greg Raymer was sitting with a stack of chips in front of him, playing a different event. I also saw Phil Helmuth among a sea of players in the 1.5k NLHE event.

I saw him get up and shake hands with everyone, assuming he bust out, but I later learned that it was a hand where he "dodged bullets." As an interesting side note, Phil is down to the final 3 players in that event now, and has a good chance to be the first player ever to 11 WSOP bracelets.

I recognized Flipchip from his photo-taking at the blogger tournament earlier in the day, so I stood behind him on the rail while he was seated at a table near the $5k pot limit action. I said, "So you have to work, and Pauly gets the day off? What gives?"

He smiled and turned around and we struck up a conversation. What a cool dude. We chatted for probably 20 minutes. He is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to Vegas and the WSOP, I think he said this is the 36th WSOP he's covered. I asked him if the PokerNews team was the funnest he's worked with so far, and he nodded in agreement. He is still amazed at how much the series has changed over the years. No outbursts, no guns, no chairs or cards being thrown. He first settled in Vegas fresh out of Vietnam, and it was the only place that came anywhere close to the adrenaline rushes he experienced in Vietnam.

We talked about motorcycles and he said he was big into motorcycles when he got back from his duty in Vietnam, in fact he rode around the United States, and at one point had the land-speed record on a 2-stroke. It didn't last long, but he had his picture on the front of a magazine. He told me that he eventually realized he would kill himself if he kept up his insane lifestyle, so he settled down in the only place that could hold his attention: Vegas.

We talked a bit about my possible teaching career, and he applauded me for choosing that path. The more I talk with people, the more it seems like the way to go--hopefully everything works out and I get started in Spring 08! The players got back from break and he had to go do his thing, and I got a chance to scout around a bit for people I might know. The 1.5k NLHE event went on break just after the 5k pot limit, and Phil Helmuth nudged into me as I was walking by. Somebody was handing him something to sign, asking to take a picture, as another person was talking to him about a hand--all while he was trying to get to the bathroom--not the life I'd wish on anyone.

Didn't see anyone I knew, so I left the Rio and headed for the strip to take some pictures while the sun set. I parked over by the MGM and planned on maybe playing a few hours of poker with the bloggers, but after taking a few pictures, I decided to head back to the house and take it easy if I wanted to make it back on Sunday in one piece. Here are some of the shots I took:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The pictures in the middle were taken while I was stopped at the light on Las Vegas Blvd. and Tropicana Way. I got to the left-turn light just as it turned red, so I had a good 5 minutes to snap pictures while I waited. The sunset pictures were taken while I was getting gas close to the house Brandon's renting for the WSOP.

I headed back to the house and found the gang chilling out at the hot tub:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

From left to right: Ozzy, Roman, Brandon, Bushman, Lindsay, Jessica

Ozzy and Roman are the prodigies with zillion dollar bankrolls, Brandon is the beer-pong champ, Bushman is the kingpin of the house, Lindsay is the amazing chef, and Jessica is Brandon's friend in town from LA for the weekend (who can do a perfect 1080 spinning on a hardwood floor while sober, but can't come close after one drink).

Luckily for me, tonight would be the "break-in" night for beer-pong! I wasn't too excited to stay up late and drink, but I hadn't really hung out with the housemates all that much, so I'm glad I came back.

Round 1 involved Bushman and Ozzy vs. Roman and Brandon. Brandon and Bushman had to consume all the drinks, because Ozzy and Roman are underage, and underage drinking is illegal. The game went to triple over-time, and I was very, very glad I didn't play. Bushman sported the Asian shirt to taunt Brandon, which didn't work until Round 2!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Round 2 matched Brandon "Beer-Pong" Schaefer and his woman against the two Chrises. Bushman was a bit intimidated by Brandon's "King of Pong" title, but I knew better. Brandon would also be drinking all of the beers for their side, because Jessica doesn't particularly like beer. Oh Brandon, you chivalrous, foolish bastard! Chris and I utterly and completely dominated. I think they were down six cups before they sank a single shot in our rack of ten. One toss I put some arc on, and Bushman went for the bouncer, and we both hit. Three drinks for Brandon, and we get to shoot again! Ouch!

Jessica ended up carrying their team while Brandon drunkenly stumbled about, ricocheting his shots off the sink and the freezer. They both sunk their balls on one shot, to pull the game closer to even, but they were just too far behind to catch up. We hit the last cup and had four of ours left. Brandon sunk his first two shots, but couldn't pull off the miracle to end all miracles. He did save himself two drinks though, which could have possibly knocked him out for the rest of the night.

Don't worry Brandon, you'll have a chance to redeem yourself in Tahoe.

Lindsay made us some incredible pasta, and we devoured it like Garfield on a plate of lasagna. That girl can cook! Played a bit more beer pong, then watched as the game shifted to Mario Kart for the N64. Steve showed up and dominated Brandon for a while at Mario Kart, then Brandon must have sobered up, because he started his own reign, which lasted until I went to bed at around 2am.

Did I mention earlier that Lindsay makes a mean fruit margarita?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Labels: , ,


Blogger bayne_s said...


It would be so wrong for me to give poker lessons. MiamiDon, Lucko (god help you if you want to emulate his style) or Fuel would be better choices.

It was pleasure to meet all the bloggers in person this weekend.

10:10 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home